At the risk of getting drawn into a debate about Illnesses that you can and can’t see. The bottom line is if you are stuck in a wheelchair you probably already know that it sucks. Most everyone around you will know that it sucks, even though most of them won’t be able to start to imagine what it feels like.
People shouldn’t feel sorry for the guys and girl having to deal with that. Why would anyone want pity? But make no mistake they have it tough. This post isn’t especially for the physically disabled. (Although it may be for some of you).This is for people with Illnesses you can’t see.
so what is an invisible illness?
This is for the depression sufferers, the fibromyalgia sufferers, the Alzheimer’s sufferers and those with an ostomy. This is for those with an invisible illness. God that sounds like a bad advert doesn’t it? On the subject of adverts isn’t it frustrating the “bad press” these conditions seem to get?
Take depression for instance. You all probably know a depression sufferer already. It may well be that dude that has a lot of time off sick or the guy who is always “busy” when the rest of you are off to the pub.
In the heads of a lot of people these characters are lazy, or anti-social but in reality, they are going through mental anguish that can cause a feeling close to paralysis.
Depression is just being sad a lot, isn’t it?
Imagine, if you will, knowing that you have to get up in the morning for work but feeling so afraid that everybody is judging you that you literally cannot move from the bed…That’s depression. Imagine constantly feeling like you have run a marathon despite not having done any exercise in two weeks…that’s depression. And when the moon hits the sky, like a big pizza pie, that’s depr…actually, that’s amore but sometimes you need someone to lighten the mood! (Sorry I joke inappropriately, it’s a sickness)
Depression isn’t just a bad case of the “feels”. Depression is the feeling that you can’t speak to the people you need most because you are scared you will drive them away. Instead, you hide from them and drive them away with your perceived lack of interest.
It isn’t always about strong feelings of being miserable. It’s a combination of guilt, misery, regret, self-doubt but for a big portion, it’s a feeling of nothing, just numbness.
In my time working in a school I’ve seen people harassed by other students and smile in the face of adversity and wondered how they developed skin thick enough to be able to do that. When you have depression you perfect that skill to an art form. The ability to fool everyone into thinking all is right with the world, when in fact the exact opposite is true…that’s depression.
Tip of the iceberg
And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Not all invisible illnesses are mental health related. Bowel conditions such as Crohn’s or even less serious ailments such as IBS can cause massive discomfort.
The only point of this post is to just say, be nice to people. I know what a crazy concept. But next time someone says they don’t want to go out, how about you invite yourself round…and take them pie – people love pie. Gandhi once said that you have to be the change you want to see. So change how you are with people. Be patient and realise that we all have our issues and nobody chooses To be ill it happens to them.