I’m so glad you’re here! You must be feeling so much better!
You look so good! You can’t really be that sick, right?
I saw you out walking your dog… so… when are you going back to work?
If you’ve ever heard one of those comments you understand how hard it is to live with a chronic illness that is invisible. The truth is, most people don’t even realize just how invisible most illnesses are! The ill are expected to look ill; we’re expected to live in sweats and have dark circles under our eyes. To fully live, however, we get dressed, put on some cover-up and push our way through the day doing what needs done.
By letting others know that you have an illness, you will provide valuable information to healthy people about the challenges of living with an invisible chronic condition, thus providing a more understanding environment.
Together we can make a difference! National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, September 14-20-2009 is a designated time, worldwide, in which people who live with chronic illness, those who love them, and organizations are encouraged to educate the general public, churches, health care professionals and government officials about the affects of living with a disease that is not visually apparent.
Through programs and resources, we seek to recognize the daily challenges of more than 100 million adults and children who live with invisible illness. Through acknowledging that despite how “well” they look, they live with the ups and downs of a chronic condition, it is our mission, to encourage and offer compassion.
We seek to educate those who do not live with illness on how to reach out to and encourage those with health difficulties, including what to say and not say and how to meet practical needs.
Overall, it is our hope that people who live with invisible chronic illness can legally park in a handicapped parking spot without receiving skeptical looks, that friends and family acknowledge that invisible illnesses are real, and how to not just survive, but truly live–and even celebrate life– despite illness, encouraging others on the same detour in life.
Will you be a part of our efforts to increase awareness? Here are some fast ways to make a difference!
- Join our cause on Facebook and then spread the word
- Watch our video, share it, consider playing it at your support group, place of business, church or other forum. Feel free to post it to your own blog too!
- When you read an article or post you like, take 2 seconds to share it via Twitter, Facebook, or whatever your favorite social network is. Bookmark it too in your social bookmarking tools.
- Order some goodies: a cute summer tote bag, a bumper sticker or license plate (fewer dirty looks if you legally park there with these items on your car!) Give yourself the chance to share that nearly 1 in 2 Americans live with a chronic condition.
- Plan on attending at least a few of our seminars during our virtual conference, M-F of II Week (Sept 14-18, 2009) and share it with your friends.
There are lots of ways to just bring awareness to the people around who care about you. It’s NOT all in your head!
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Living with an invisible illness can cause heartache and bitterness when one feels no one understands the significance of the illness. Invisible Illness Week provides that validation that people with invisible diseases often seek.
San Diego, CA — (SBWIRE) — 08/27/2008 — While we assume that most people are generally healthy, you may be surprised to find out that an alarming nearly 1 in 2 people in the United States live with a chronic illness. So why is it that most of us don’t even know when a friend or co-worker is dealing with diabetes, heart disease, lupus, or chronic fatigue syndrome? Because, according to the U.S. Census, about 96% of people have invisible illnesses.
National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is being held this year, September 8-14, 2008. It’s a secular event sponsored by Rest Ministries, the largest Christian organization that serves the chronically ill. Visit the invisible illness awareness campaign’s web site at www.invisibleillnessblog.org . You can be encouraged through dozens of articles, including daily guest bloggers, find ideas to get involved in the outreach, and goodies to help promote awareness, from silicone bracelets to brochures. Tired of those looks when you park in a handicapped spot? Be sure to pick up a license plate or bumper sticker.
The focal point of the awareness campaign is September 8-12 (M-F) during which 20 telephone seminars will be held on a variety of topics and are open to anyone. Topics may also be of interest to those with loved-ones who have an illness. Some seminars include:
- Assess Yourself: Find the Job You Desire and Can Do Despite Illness Limitations
- The Civil Rights of Patients with Invisible Chronic Illnesses
- Overcoming Self-Defeating Behaviors
- Secrets of Paying for Medical Care
- How to Get Paid to Blog
- After the Diagnosis: The Journey Beyond
The theme this year is “Hope Can Grow From The Soil of Illness.”
Lisa Copen, 39, began National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week in 2002 as she continuously witnessed hundreds of people emotionally hurting just because they felt as though no one “got it.” Lisa has lived with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia for fifteen years and understands how validating it can be to just have one friend who you don’t have to explain everything to.
“Though there are hundreds of illnesses represented, and large differences in symptoms and pain levels, none of that matters more than feeling like someone understands you. When our best friends and family members are skeptical about our disease, it can be that last straw that sets us off into a spiraling depression.”
She says, “We plan to unite the millions of people who live with chronic pain and illness by offering an oasis of hope and understanding, as well as helpful information and practical tools to live the best life possible.”
Through the guest bloggers of Invisible Illness Week, to 20 seminars that supply tools to ensure that one is cared for–both body and soul–National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is succeeding in meeting that goal.
Find out more information and receive daily updates at http://www.invisibleillnessblog.org
National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week
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Seeing Isn’t Always Believing
“One of what?” you may ask.
One of those people who have been chosen to endure invisible illness.
It is not an elite club. Quite common, in fact. Because we have our “invishields” on, others might not understand what we face on any given day—they just can’t see it.
So, National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is vitally important because maybe, just maybe it will help people see what they can’t see and in the process, learn to give others the benefit of the doubt.
The old saying, “seeing is believing” is the proof-text for just why invisible chronic illness is so difficult. It takes a very special person to be supportive of someone with chronic health and pain issues because for the majority, if they don’t see it, they don’t believe it.
Many of us have learned to have a healthy attitude even when our bodies aren’t cooperating. Because we embrace life and often push through the symptoms, others can’t see/believe we are really suffering. If we park in disabled parking places we get dirty looks because those are reserved for those sick enough to deserve them. If we call in sick for the third time in five months, human resources doubts our reason, assuming we have fabricated an excuse to “play hooky.”
I have a confession to make. My first year diagnosed with autoimmune illness, I gave in to it and become a life spectator rather than a life participant. I realized this withdrawal only made me more isolated in my illness, and I was just as miserable laying on the couch all day as I was when I was busy. When I made the switch back to living out loud rather than passively, my attitude improved significantly, going from defeated to victorious.
So, I got up off the couch, still suffering symptoms but ready to live again. I determined not to let the invisible illness define who I was, and let God reinvent me into the designer woman He wanted me to be. Instead of feeling like a sufferer, I felt special. Hand-picked for a greater purpose.
I’m not upset that I have an invisible illness. And now I have more compassion for others. I can often pick out the ones who are dealing with invisible illness now because I can see it in their eyes. And if you look closely enough, you will see it in my eyes as well. That’s what Invisible Illness Awareness Week is all about.
National Invisible Illness Awareness Week is going to help remove the blinders and allow others to see into our lives and know we might be a different kind of “normal” than them, but we don’t have to live isolated lives.
Kathy Carlton Willis owns a communications firm, specializing in publicity, writing, editing, speaking, and more. She is determined to make the most of every minute and her redefined life is better than the life she lived before illness came to stay at age 28. You may contact her at WillisWay@aol.com or http://imlivingoutloud.blogspot.com
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