Living with an Invisible Illness

Invisible illness? What does that mean? This is the first question I get asked once I tell someone about my invisible illness. The name is pretty self-explanatory, but an invisible illness is defined as one where a “physical, mental, or neurological condition is invisible to the onlooker” meaning that people with invisible illnesses can appear “normal” to the eye. While normally this front we have can be for the better, other times is tiring . We appear "normal" (whatever that means) until an episode begins and that’s where most problems start for us, that’s when the questions and doubts start to pop up.

​As people with invisible illnesses we need to know how to be able to deal with these problems, from knowing how to manage it day to day, to knowing when to take a rest day. We’ve all been guilty of ignoring our illness with the mindset that we’re feeling good, I’m guilty of this daily and I’m the first one to be telling my friends not to ignore their illnesses for the sake of a good day. For some people, good days might be a few in between, but we need to keep in mind that these good days come because we aren’t ignoring our illnesses, if you need to take a break to drink a pill or to take a breather, just do it.

I’m not here to judge, I’m here to help. Everyone needs to take a moment to themselves, walk away for a few seconds if you need to and come back feeling better than ever. Now, as we all know, good days sometimes come to an end far too early than we would’ve liked, but it’s all good, we’ve all been there. It’s important to understand when to rest. It’s also important to let your friends know about your illness, maybe we aren’t as comfortable with telling people about our illnesses, but letting your closest friends know about it will guarantee that you have an extra pair of eyes looking out for you. This will just help make sure you aren’t overexerting yourself, we sometimes tend to forget we have an illness and not pay attention to important symptoms.

Another thing we tend to ignore are bad days; don’t ignore them, bad days are only normal and having one doesn’t make you weak. Take a rest day when you need it and I mean, a real rest day. We’ve all been guilty of taking a “rest” day but not really doing it, either we’re worrying over things that need to be done or take the day to complete miscellaneous tasks we have ignored until now. Don’t do this. A rest day should be a day to completely unplug from the world, these tips could help you successfully unplug from the world and rest.

You can even allow yourself a number of rest days by month to make yourself feel more comfortable with the idea of unplugging.   When I’m having a bad day and I need to escape and unplug from everything I like to be alone for a while. I usually go somewhere where there are lots of trees and plants to sit and be one with nature. I also like to unwind by listening to music, sleeping or watching my favorite show, The Big Bang Theory.

Some coping mechanisms may seem silly but it’s what works for me. Think of the things that make you feel relaxed and try doing them when you need a break, it may help you more than you realize. Reach out and don't shy away from just taking a break.