I made some images to support invisible disability awareness. Nearly 1 in 2 people have a chronic illness and of those, 96% have an invisible illness. That is a lot of us.
I focus on pain a lot though. Chronic pain is a brutal invisible illness and disability. It is poorly treated. Doctors are poorly educated in it. It can be doubted because it cannot be seen. We do not show the typical pain behaviors that indicate someone is in pain. We do not cry, or scream, or limp or use a cane… or not all the time. Because our pain is All the time. Live day in and day out with pain and you adapt in ways at masking it. We Feel it, but we mask it.
It can make a person feel invisible or diminished to have our pain disregarded and not treated. We feel like no one understands our suffering. That we are expected to just suffer. That no medical professional cares about this fact. I also often felt in the workplace my employer thought my pain was significantly less than it was. That I must have simply not wanted to work. That if I just pushed through it I would be fine. I was not fine like that.
They all make us invisible. Our pain means nothing. Our words mean nothing. We are discounted. We are put aside. We are diminished.
Can you see me? I am Right Here. I am in Pain. Listen to my Words. Treat me. Just treat me. That is when you want to scream. It is like a long, endless scream that no one hears. Like you are a ghost that never gets anyone’s attention.
Just help me manage the pain, I plead. Is that so much to ask? I know it will always be there. I get that. I just need it to be… less. And I just need to be… more. More me.
Don’t make me invisible. That is all we want from them all. Don’t make me invisible.