I had an interesting conversation the other day regarding my diagnoses and the problems associated with ‘invisible illnesses’. I remember the days before I received the definitive diagnosis and going from doctor to doctor, desperately trying to find an answer…and reading the body language and expressions, of doctors and of people I knew who clearly thought I was making up my symptoms and the problem instead “was all in my head.”
I am sure many of you reading this out there can relate to that, and unfortunately it is often the case that as soon as you are labelled by doctors as being a ‘hypochondriac’ or the problem caused by a psychiatric problem, it is extremely difficult to get them to take you seriously or even to look beyond that train of thought. I know it is often the case for people living ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’ (ME) to find a doctor willing to listen and to take their problems seriously, especially as there is still a lot of debate whether the condition even exists which must be so frustrating.
That is the problem with today’s society – just because a person does not look sick then they cannot possibly be ‘sick’ – whatever happened to the proverb “just because you cannot see something, it doesn’t mean it’s not there”.
Then we came to the discussion about whether my illness can be still considered invisible – considering, that when I am out and about I use a crutch and hanging onto one of my parents to stop me from falling. Recently, I took a taxi, the driver of which I have not seen for some time, and he asked me what I had done to my leg. Even, with the crutch, people may assume I may have hurt my leg in some way, and may not be permanent. And even when I do use my crutch, I do get the occasional stares, as if they are questioning why I need to use one. As my legs are very stiff at times, it obviously makes walking difficult and often walk with some limp, or often will stumble or fall due to many different reasons – weakness in the legs, dizziness and my problems with balance.
Therefore, can be illness can still be described as being ‘invisible’ taking into account the crutch, and the other problems that I experience?
Please feel free to comment below on the post and any comments, share your experiences and what you feel about regarding ‘invisible illnesses’….