Guest Blog: The Elephant in the Room
written by Shruti
It has taken me months and years for friends and family to even begin to comprehend my invisible illness. Here’s the thing – because you haven’t heard of it before, or you cannot actually see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. At the risk of over simplifying – here are my two bits.
Just like a headache – no one can see it but that doesn’t mean you aren’t having one. Also no one (except for sometimes you or a doctor) can say for sure why you are getting a headache – it could be dehydration, it could be the heat, it could be a cold, it could be a migraine, it could be sinus, it could be a stress headache, it could be lack of sleep etc., you get the drift.
Likewise for people with invisible illness, there are multiple triggers, sometimes unknown ones too, that cause pain.
Now imagine getting headaches everyday – sometimes slight and sometime horrible ones. How would that make you feel? cranky, upset, overwhelmed, difficult to function and ready to do anything to relieve the pain (people with migraines will find that familiar)? Well, likewise for people with invisible illness.
Now imagine I told you there is no cure for your headaches, that you’d have to manage getting on in life while having one – some days bearable others unbearable, some days medication will work, other days it won’t. Some days physiotherapy, water therapy or just any therapy will work and other days nothing will work. Again – likewise for people with invisible illness
Lastly think about how you’d feel on days, when you manage to function a little bit or days where you’ve figured a system to keep the pain at its bare minimum, when you feel more like your old self. How would you feel? Happy, elated, relieved, normal… Same holds for people with invisible illness.
These are the days you’d want to do regular things – meet people, work a little, play a little, enjoy your day… Now imagine someone who’d met you on this day refusing to believe that you might be suffering Every-Single-Day, because,
Hey! You looked just fine that day.
DON’T DO THAT. DON’T BE THAT PERSON Be Kind. Educate yourself. And above all TRUST.
I'm Shruti, 37 years on this planet and learning everyday - to paint, to write, to love, to live! Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2012, struggling with it since 2015, and just about learning to manage it over last 18 months. Wife to a very supportive husband and mom to two beautiful dogs
If you have any questions or would just like to chat, you can reach me at @fibrolifelessons on instagram or facebook.