Awareness about invisible illness is something that I am incredibly passionate about. Those who suffer with diseases and conditions that cannot be seen are scrutinized by those who simply do not understand. Conditions like chronic migraine, fibromyalgia, chiari malformation and diabetes-just to name a few, cannot be seen by the human eye but effect the lives of so many chronic illness sufferers.
But what happens when your invisible illness suddenly takes on a visible form?
Which is worse; Looking well but being sick- therefore having people assume you are lazy and unmotivated OR being sick and looking sick and having people stare at you in confusion; knowing something is wrong but not having the compassion to understand.
In either of these situations, people with chronic illness feel misunderstood.
My illness took on a physical form after my most recent relapse. My body now bears the exacerbations and side effects of long term steroid therapy. My once clear, ivory skin now bears the unfortunate appearance of acne, my figure is now in double digits instead of the quaint size “8” I formerly was and my body bears the bright purple/red stretch marks and scars resulting from my surgery and the cortisol medication.
Every time I take a bath, I want to fight back tears. I want to scream and escape from the cage that my body is. This cage is painful and unattractive. My once invisible illness has taken on a very visible form. I no longer can hide the fact that I am sick. No amount of exercise and make up can fix my body now. My diet is a strict as possible and I am in an intense physical therapy program for exercise and muscle strengthening. In chronic illness, there are just some things that cannot be controlled. I have to accept who I am now.
Self worth should never be dependent on looks. It is truly inner beauty that counts.
How someone treats another person is the TRUE reflection of who they are.
Anyone can have a pretty face, but not everyone can have a pretty spirit after going through darkness, pain and tragedy.
“True self control is controlling your thoughts, actions and feelings when nothing is the way you feel it should be.”
When I look at my body now, I have to realize that I did not choose this. I did not make bad decisions to cause any of the problems I have. Guilt is the worst thing a chronic illness sufferer can harbor in their spirit. It destroys us and is absolutely an unnecessary emotion.
We have enough to battle, let’s not battle our own spirit as well.
You did not choose your illness, but you do choose to bravely fight it every day.
Whether your illness is visible or invisible, I hope you accept yourself for the strong warrior that you are.