Having an invisible illness can feel like the worse thing in the world. Not only do you feel a tremendous amount of pain, struggle through life more so than most people and still have to deal with everyday shit like bills and work, but all of your effort goes completely un-noticed. Un-fair right?
As a teacher, I have stood at the front of a classroom of teenagers trying to teach maths (or math if you are American) with the room spinning and my leg shaking about to give way due to my chronic pain. Do you know how many people in that room noticed that I was ill? Zero. And that is what got me through the lesson.
Have you ever been stood on a bus, desperate for a seat and not had anyone offer you one? Same. I’m 23, I look fit and healthy and in many ways, I am. Sometime I wish that people could see my illness, see my limitations and understand what I’m feeling but then I would be treated differently, and I don’t want that.
The Dalai Lama said: “If I consider myself as something different from you…then actually I create myself as a prisoner.”
Our ailments affect each of us differently in ways that no other human being can imagine but if we start to think of ourselves as truly different then we cannot be happy. How many times have you wished that you could be normal? Well what’s more normal that standing up on a bus?
Everybody feels pain and though it may not always be the same as yours take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. You are not a prisoner.
The greatest gift of your invisible illness is your ability to blend in and watch the world go by without people stopping and drawing attention to your differences. You are not your illness. You are bigger than your illness and if you start to forget that then it is very hard to escape this downwards spiral into anxiety and depression.
Being ill is difficult. Being ill and being able to go and live your life as if you aren’t ill is fucking amazing. You won’t be able to do it every day and you won’t be expected to, but never underestimate the power of watching the world go by. The world doesn’t stop turning just because you are ill. Take the time to rest and heal when you need it but if you have the strength to go for a walk or to sit in the park on a sunny day I encourage you to do it. No one will see you as your illness, you’re just another normal, living your life.
Smile, you’re amazing.