Living with a condition such as Lupus, Fibromyalgia or Rheumatoid Arthritis is horrible enough without also having to cope with the cynicism of people who cannot detect these illnesses and take the stance that you’re exaggerating the level of your suffering.
This doesn’t just stem from the general public, either – many invisible illness sufferers will tell you that they had to consult a number of doctors before finally being diagnosed, with even medical professionals being so dismissive as to make accusations like ‘it’s all in your head’.
The infographic featured below was written by Victoria Abbott-Fleming from chronic pain charity, Burning Nights, and, as an invisible illness sufferer, she knows all too well just how much of an uphill battle it can be.
For people like Victoria, daily tasks which come easy to many people are quite difficult, tasks like getting dressed, taking a shower or cooking a meal. There are only so many of these tasks that we can do in a single day before our energy levels have totally diminished, and if we overstretch ourselves in one day, we will pay for it the next.
For sufferers of invisible illnesses, the words of others can make a significant impact on our mood. If a person shows empathy and says something along the lines of ‘What can I do to help?’ or ‘I don’t know how bad it feels, but I imagine it must be very hard, their words are usually appreciated massively, as the sufferer can see that they are being considerate and understanding.
On the other hand, comments such as ‘Oh, you don’t look sick’ or ‘Get a bit of exercise and you’ll be fine’ can be hugely damaging to a sufferer’s self-esteem. This type of behavior smacks of ignorance and is the last thing an invisible illness sufferer needs to hear.
Things You Should NEVER Say to Someone with Chronic Illness
Please take a few minutes to read through the infographic and get a flavor of the daily life of what it is like to have an illness such as Fibromyalgia or arthritis.