But you don’t look sick…
My illness is only invisible because I decide what you can and can’t see.
Much of living with chronic illness is hidden from the outside world,
in an attempt to be as normal as physically possible.
So unless you live it yourself, you’re blind to it.
But nothing is truly invisible if you make a conscious choice to really open your eyes.
So what does invisible illness really look like then?
Allow me to show it you.
You can see invisible illness in the things I do each and every day.
Visible in the adjustments I make just to do everyday things.
You can see it on the pages of my planner in which I write every appointment and daily to-do list.
Or in my notebook that I take everywhere with me.
Otherwise, I will forget everything.
Or the time I spend doing medical research,
hoping to find an answer for what the doctors can not find.
You see it in the amount of caffeine I drink, just to stay awake.
In how long it takes me to do the housework and laundry.
Or how hard it is just to run simple errands.
You can see it sitting on my bookshelf.
In number of times I wash my hands in a day.
Or the fact that a good portion of my time is spent hidden away in a bathroom.
Illness doesn’t leave room for hobbies, much less the things that are fun.
Invisible illness is seen in the never-ending doctor’s appointments and medical testing.
Or the procedures I’ve had, despite knowing whether they will work or not.
You see it in all the blood draws the doctors run regularly, trying to get a diagnosis.
And the therapy appointments I attend just make sure I am not crazy.
You see invisible illness in all the paperwork I have to complete and keep track of.
In the two three inch binders that hold my medical records
which I need to bring to every doctor’s appointment.
-one for clinic notes, one for labs/testing-
You see it in the summaries I put together to keep all my doctors on the same page.
Or in the advanced directives, living wills, and Do Not Resuscitate orders.
My illness is clearly visible in the medications I take every day.
You can see it in my oxygen concentrator and tank that help me to breath.
In the duo-nebulizer that I keep at home
just in case an attack comes on and I can’t get to the clinic in time.
In my monitoring tools -in my blood pressure cuff and oximeter.
In my heating pad and humidifier.
My invisible illness is hidden deep inside my travel case,
full of emergency medications and supplies for when I leave the house.
And in the lessons my husband has had to take to administer medication
or help me in case I can’t help myself.
You see my invisible illness in the symptoms I try to conceal and hide.
Just because it’s not easy to see, doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Do I look sick enough now?
Because this is how I look at home, behind closed doors.
In real life, invisible illness is not so invisible afterall.
Remember that the next time you judge someone,
when you don’t believe they are as sick as they make out to be,
when you make them prove how sick they truly are,
or say “but you don’t look sick…”