Having an invisible illness is hard. You look great on the outside, but on the inside you are a mess. There are so many illnesses that fall under the invisible illness name, from mental health to chronic pain and every thing in between. So many people are fighting battles, all while looking much healthier than they actually are.
I personally suffer from five disorders that fall under invisible illness; anxiety, fibromyalgia, migraines, PTSD, and a bleeding disorder. I understand that to someone who is healthy it can be very hard to know what it is like to feel ill so often, to understand how someone could feel sick everyday. Due to this I have heard some things that make having an invisible illness so much harder. While these are often said by good hearted people to be kind, there are times these comments are meant to be taken as the insult they are.
Here are 10 things not to say to people with an invisible illness.
1.You are lazy.
I have gotten this one before and it stings. Trust me, on my good days I do as much as I can. If I push it too much I can trigger a flare up. I don’t want to be stuck in bed or my house, but sometimes I only can do so much.
2. You need to worry less or stop thinking about it so much.
This one I get with my anxiety disorder more than the others, but I have heard it about all my issues. The second you tell someone not to think about something, they will think about it. It also is very hard to not think about something when how you go about your day can depend on your condition.
3. You should try______.
I have gotten some great advice on things to try that have helped me a lot. The problem with this one is more when it is followed with so and so I know tried this and it cured them. Or if someone if overly pushy because they are selling a product. I have a few friends who sell things and not one of them ever pushed me to try it, they just suggested and backed off if I declined. It is the ones who push and/or act like the plan my doctor has set up for me are what need to be changed. Just because it worked for so and so it doesn’t mean it will work for me.
4. You take too many pills.
This is something that is between my doctor and me. In an ideal world I wouldn’t take all the pills I do. I also wouldn’t be in pain and anxious all the time.
5. I can’t count on you.
When I need to change plans or waiver on setting a date, it is not because I am flaking out. It is because I either don’t want to commit unless I know I can make it or I have a last minute migraine or fibro flare up and need to cancel at the last minute. If something is really important I will do everything I can to make it.