Having an invisible illness is no joke. I am sure many of you are suffering alone in secrecy. It sucks. There are many forms of invisible illness people can be experiencing. Some examples are mental illness, rheumatoid arthritis, digestive disorders, diabetes, fibromyaglia, and many more. If you have not read my previous blog posts and you are new, you probably are wondering what type of invisible illness I am diagnosed with.
Well, I have a couple.
Severe anxiety disorder, Scoliosis (kind of invisible), Osteoarthritis and Gastroparesis. Both of which have made it a challenge to go through my daily activities. It is difficult to maintain consistency within my schedule, because I never know where my brain or my digestive system will be at that day. For example, I woke up at 4am this morning in severe pain in my stomach. It felt like someone was stabbing me all the way until I got out of bed for work. Got to work and could not last more than two hours before I had to leave and work from home.
The challenging part of having an invisible illness is that you look totally fine. No one can guess that there is something wrong and some may even question you. Just know you are not alone on that. Take care of yourself first regardless if people look at you funny. Click here if you would like to read more about my journey with Gastroparesis. Click here if you would like to read more about my challenges with Anxiety.
People will look at you funny
There is absolutely no doubt that people will question your invisible illness. This is merely because it is an INVISIBLE illness. They can not see it and they do not experience it. So they do not understand it. Most human beings do not even attempt to understand what others are going through. They are quick to judge and this is something to come to terns with when you suffer from an invisible illness.
I have scoliosis and no one can really tell I have it until you touch my back and notice the curvature. I am physically unable to stand in one spot for a long time without experiencing pain. So when I am on the train or bus during commuting hours and it is busy. I sometimes have to sit on the handicap chairs and I get the dirtiest looks. Sometimes I get so self conscious taking those seats that I suffer in silence standing up. Knowing damn well I need to be sitting down.
Invisible illness rates are only increasing
My invisible illness – Gastroparesis, worsens my other invisible illness- severe anxiety disorder. I can not say that my anxiety has stemmed from having an invisible illness because that is not the case. I have been dealing with anxiety disorder since I was very young. However, my Gastroparesis has made my anxiety much worse. Imagine living in a world where no one around you understands your pain. I have yet to meet someone else with GP. However, I know a couple people with IBS and they understand my pain.
I am constantly self conscious when I am experiencing pain to be vocal about it. When I am having my flair up, I have a phobia of vomiting and get anxious I will vomit. This anxiety builds up inside me and tears me apart in this moment. It sucks. My scoliosis and osteoarthritis has taken away playing soccer competitively from me. This has also worsened my mental health as I had to give up something I love to do.
It does not get easier, you just learn to live with it
Unfortunately, there is no magic spell to make it easier to deal with Gastroapresis, Osteoarthritis, Scoliosis, Anxiety, etc. You eventually wake up with motivation to enjoy life again, some how. You will find new ways to make yourself smile and keep your days lighter. The diet I am on changed and I have educated myself on what helps and what does not. I can not completely avoid flair ups, but I have definitely made them less frequent. My pain in my body I manage through yoga, weight lifting, massage therapy and overall maintaining good health. Anxiety is definitely what challenges me on a daily basis. I could feel like I am doing things right and my anxiety makes me question it all the time. I have quieted down my darker voices in my thoughts. They are not silent but the words are not so loud. Maintaining a hobby, a scheduled day, writing and just doing things for myself has helped me so much in this journey.
You are NOT alone!
Seriously, you would be surprised by how many people actually have to suffer with an invisible illness. It is unfortunate and I wish there was a way to remove all of the illnesses out there so people can just live in good health. But I have not found that miracle yet. All you can do is educate yourself and find new ways to make your days easier. Understanding you are not alone and there are others out there, is helpful! Join Facebook groups with others who are dealing with your disorder. I am on multiple groups about Gastroparesis. They helped me so much when I first got diagnosed and was terrified because Google did not have all the answers I was looking for to this rare disorder.
Feel free to contact me here.