In our last post, we discussed the many complications people face if they are struggling with a condition known as an invisible illness. These illnesses include those that cannot be seen or, in some cases, easily explained or diagnosed.
The people who struggle with these conditions are certainly aware of them and the impact they have on a daily basis. They know that simple tasks like getting out of bed, making a meal or spending time with friends can seem all but impossible on many days. However, not everyone is familiar with or aware of these conditions and the toll they take on sufferers. That is why this week has been designated Invisible Illness Awareness Week.
According to the IIAW campaign, many of the 130 million people in the U.S. battling a chronic condition struggle with symptoms that cannot be seen. Even a person’s closest friends and family members may not truly understand the limitations that such an illness can place on a person’s life.
Even the medical community is having difficulty with assessing a person’s condition when it is “invisible.” There are countless tests to diagnose illnesses like cancer, mental disorders and brain trauma. But when it comes to symptoms like pain, discomfort or fatigue, there really is no hard-and-fast way to measure severity or treat sufferers. It all depends on the individual situation of the patient.
However, strides are being made to better understand and treat these conditions. Additionally, there are more resources than ever for people struggling with invisible illnesses, including, in some cases, Social Security disability benefits.
One of the best things that people can do to support someone with a serious illness like migraines, depression, fibromyalgia or lupus is to just be aware of the struggles he or she is facing on a regular basis, even if a diagnosis has not been made yet. Being patient, offering to help and listening to them during this time can provide the encouragement and support they need to get through or cope with a frustrating and difficult situation.