Living with a disability or chronic invisible illness can be frustrating or even disheartening. This is because your family and friends may trivialize it as they may not easily see the symptoms. Planning your days when you’re having chronic pain and fatigue can be very hard. However, it’s possible to live a rich and fulfilling life even if you have an invisible illness.
1. Know Your Limits
Recognizing your limits when you’re living with any type of invisible illness is very important. Resist the temptation of pushing yourself too hard if you’re in a community that praises those who do things beyond their levels of endurance. If you do it, it’ll result in more pain, fatigue, and impediment down the road.
2. Understand Your Body
Not all illnesses are the same and they affect people differently. Find out which types of activities cause increased pain and fatigue and the ones that make you feel better. Identify any triggers like poor sleeping patterns and certain foods that worsen your symptoms. Doing this can help you manage the illness better as you’ll know what to avoid.
3. Understand that Even Your Loved Ones May Comment Insensitively
Insensitive and ignorant comments often bombard those who are living with invisible illnesses. Some people may say you don’t look sick. Others can say that it’s just in your head. Sometimes, they may encourage you to do things that are beyond your limits. They may even ask you, “is alcoholism a disease?” They do this to push you harder.
In all this, just remember that even your loved ones can release some comments that may sound insensitive. This is because it’s never easy for them to understand what’s going on in your life. In case such comments come your way, try to find out the intention behind them, accept the message, and move on.
4. Being Honest With Your Loved Ones
Frustrations come when those who are around you do not understand the pain you’re going through. It takes time and much effort for you to accomplish even minor tasks, but people think you’re normal. Gently and lovingly try to help your loved ones to know what you’re experiencing. Let them ask any questions so you may clarify things about your condition.
5. Deal With Conflicting Feelings
There’s often a war inside a person who is having an invisible illness. On one side, there’s a feeling that you should look normal. On the other, it’s frustrating when your loved ones can’t understand your limitations. It’s like you want to prove that you’re sick while at the same time present yourself to the world as normal.
It’s okay to have such conflicting feelings. Navigating with a chronic invisible illness is never easy. It’s natural to desire that others take you seriously and at the same time feel the need to look normal. Don’t be hard on yourself. Show yourself and those around you some extra compassion.
Living with an invisible illness poses several unique challenges. However, you can still live a fulfilling life in spite of chronic pain and fatigue. Understanding your limits, knowing what works for you, and responding well to insensitive comments can help in achieving this.