Invisible illness

But I do know that people often fall into the trap of believing that because they cannot see an illness or disorder, or because they do not understand it, that the sick person must be crazy.

I know that some people think this because I used to be one of them.

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That is, until invisible illness touched my own little circle.

Im not just talking about ADD. There are many struggles and illnesses that aren't visible, from autism to depression to environmental sensitivities and food allergies and many more.

And of course, there's our special favorite, mold poisoning.

Im not giving all of these equal weight, but the commonality they all have is that you can't look at the person and see what's wrong.

Its hard to have people think you're attention-seeking or crazy; hurtful, even. Not only do you struggle with the illness, but those around you think you're making it up or exaggerating it's effects.

As if anyone would choose this on purpose!

Clearly we aren't talking about legitimate hypochondria here; we're talking about real illnesses that may or may not be even diagnosable or conventionally treatable. (The medical community is smart, but not all-knowing, after all.)

If you're wasting away from cancer, or sport a cast, or go into a diabetic coma because you skipped breakfast, people believe you. But when a whiff of perfume shuts down your airway or a sip of milk makes you feel like you've lost your mind, a lot of people think you're a big faker.

What should you do?

1. Take heart. Be brave. Face your illness with all the courage and fortitude you can muster, regardless of what others say.

2. Grow a thicker skin. You know; that's what matters. Let their skepticism roll off.

3. Give others grace.

Chances are that, like me, you have once scoffed at the invisible illness of others, even inwardly. Recognize that the naysayers may be acting out of ignorance, and trust that they'll come around eventually.

Be OK with it even if they dont.

Its not your responsibility to convince them.

4. Be a bold advocate for yourself and your family. Dont worry too much about offending others or whether they take you seriously. Be confident in your choices as you seek wellness. Forge ahead with things that might help, even if they draw ridicule.

5. But don t complain about your condition or feel the need to detail it to everyone you know, and don't use it as an excuse or a crutch to not do what you can actually do. Dont act crazy.

6. Never, never, never give up.

7. Embrace the journey. Theres no silver bullet and healing will take time. Perfect healing may never come.

Stay the course for the very best life you can possibly have. Even if they think you're crazy.

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Posted in Dentistry Post Date 05/21/2015


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