4.25am and unfortunately I am not dancing on table tops or eating a kebab with the new best friend I made in the ladies room, I am in bed and the only shots that I have consumed were of morphine to lessen my chronic pain; Just one of the many hidden sides to invisible illness.
I stay in bed trying to find a comfortable position until it is a suitable time to get up for the day, take my medication, paint on concealer to mask dark eye bags that could make a panda jealous and put a coat of lippy on (no one will know I am struggling if I have a nice lipstick on surely?).
There are two ways to go about living with an illness or disability, you can let it defeat you or you can fight it and I know in my personal struggle, I have considered both.
Often a person with an invisible illness can come across as unreliable, they cancel plans because of unscheduled appointments or pain and although there is more awareness of invisible illnesses now (thanks to social media), There is still such a stigma because on the outside you look ok (by “ok” I mean fabulous) so how can you be ill.
Simple questions like “How are you?” can be infuriating because who wants to reply “I feel like shit” every day, people would run a mile and making friends is hard enough as it is, so a simple “I’m fine” will suffice.
We are given aids to help make living a bit more comfortable such as radar keys, walking sticks or a parking badge but most are embarrassed to use them. Unless you are physically missing an arm, leg or head, strangers look at you as though you have just mugged their granny for her disability privileges.
I don’t really agree with the term “invisible illness” to the person crippled in pain needing that disabled parking space because walking a further distance is agony or the person using the disabled toilet because cubicals don’t leave enough room to self catherise, the illness certainly isn’t invisible; But this is the side that people don’t see.
The people I have met who are fighting an array of invisible illnesses are warriors, I have every ounce of respect for them struggling through the pain to try and live a normal life, I think they are the polar opposite of unreliable.
It is always good to try and bring humour into situations if you can because otherwise life will end up breaking you. Try to turn negatives into positives and surround yourself with people who make you want to carry on living, through the pain.
Cant find neverland.