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The challenges of suffering from an illness you can't see

People who suffer from a serious disability can often feel like other people are staring at them or treating them differently because of their disability. They might feel like if other people couldn't see signs of the disability or didn't know that they were suffering from a condition like cancer, they would be treated like everyone else.

However, even though having a visible disability can come with some considerable frustrations and challenges, the grass isn't necessarily greener on the other side. People who suffer from so-called invisible illnesses face some serious trials as well.

Invisible illnesses are serious conditions like Crohn's disease and fibromyalgia, which are inflammatory bowel conditions and chronic pain conditions respectively. These and similar types of illnesses are not visible to other people and sufferers can look completely healthy even though they are dealing with enormous amounts of pain and discomfort.

Sadly, this is not an isolated situation. As this article on NPR.org estimates, there are likely millions of people around the U.S. who are suffering from some type of invisible illness. Many of them can find it very challenging to even get a diagnosis in the first place, and medications and treatments may not be able to help. This can be overwhelmingly frustrating for people who feel disabled by their illness but may not be considered disabled by others.

People who suffer from PTSD, lupus, bipolar disorder and other types of invisible illnesses often struggle to get the help they need and acknowledgment of their condition. They may face discrimination at work, get nasty looks from others for utilizing resources for disabled people and it can be very difficult to apply for disability benefits from Social Security.

Considering all these challenges, it can be wise for people suffering from an invisible -- and disabling -- illness to speak with an attorney who understands the difficulties and importance of securing help and support for disabling conditions of all kinds.

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