When nobody can see…
We’ve all hear those words. “You should (do this, or that..)” “You should be…” “You have no reason to be…” People throw these comments about so easily. Especially with the added freedom of social media and the internet, where you can say whatever you want with hardly any real, visible consequences.
The truth is, words hurt. They can be thrown around so carelessly, and we very rarely think about the consequences of them. We don’t always see the people involved, and we don’t see the effects that these words can have on people.
This is especially true of people who suffer with an invisible illness. Many people seem to be of the school of thought that if you can’t see it, then it doesn’t exist, but it’s real enough to the sufferers.
Today I have woken up with a pounding headache, radiating from my jaw, and up into my ears. It can’t be seen. Almost every aspect of TMJ Dysfunction is invisible, leading to the belief that there is nothing wrong, even though it can be debilitating.
And the worst thing is that it isn’t only others’ judgement that you have to deal with, because these thoughts slowly invade your own mind, making you feel bad; making you feel that you are lazy and a time waster, and a drama queen, and then the guilt starts to eat away at you.
Today, I have taken the dogs for a walk. I have worked on an art commission, and done some writing. My head feels like it’s caught in a vice. At times, it’s like the room starts to spin. At others, it’s just too bright. I have taken the maximum amount of painkillers and anti-inflammatories that I can take in the given time frame, and it’s still there, but the irony is that no one can see it. On the outside, I look like I am absolutely fine, and just being lazy.
This is the case for so many others with a number of different illnesses that are all invisible. Fibromyalgia, M.E, Anxiety, Depression. I could go on. The truth is, that all of the people I know, who have an invisible illness, live with unbelievable pain, day in, day out, and they do so, while facing some of the harshest judgements, often from the very people who are supposed to love and support them.
It’s time to change this. It’s time to understand and accept that often, people are fighting battles that we know nothing about, and perhaps the best course of action would be to pick up the phone, or drop that person a text asking how they are, behaving with compassion, rather than acting in judgement.
Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.