Invisible illness Awareness Week

Jeez, I meant to do this post about a week ago before I.I.A. week started ….. better late than never! By the way – it is now about the middle of I.I.A. week (28/9-4/10).

Before I give my spiel, please go have a look at what I.I.A. week is all about here –
http://invisibleillnessweek.com/
The sad fact is that Invisible Illnesses are aplenty.

Another sad fact is that all too often, the people that have them are dehumanised, belittled, discriminated against, ignored, locked up in mental institutions/old age institutions and even on occasion, jails.

An even sadder fact – a small but significant percentage of sufferers decide to take their own life because of such discriminations and the complete despair and lack of hope for sufficient medical  care or assistance to make life bearable.

Have I ever been in that fundamentally despondent state? You betcha! What got me through? Telling myself things like “tomorrow is another day”, “This phase of your illness will pass in X days/weeks” (I often use this one when I get herbicide reactions), “You have an appointment with X on dd/mm, so that will help”.

In the last 13 years, I have been fortunate enough that I have had a partner in my life and in the last almost 12 years, a child in my life (now two children). It is them that I live for, that I continue on through difficult times.

As I have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) as one of my main “invisible illnesses”, it is darn hard to stop that impacting those who are in my life as it requires such far-reaching co-operation. This has meant on may occasions I have lost contact with so-called friends – it is too hard for them to observe my needs it seems.
This has also happened with family, and closely related family at that!

While I do not wish to belittle any chronic illness or disability, MCS and any other involving sensory disabilities, are the most difficult for those around us to deal with because people are inherently selfish and discriminatory. People are relatively happy to accommodate special needs of people in wheelchairs or those with similar obvious physical access restrictions but not when it comes to “invisible” issues.

Mental illness sufferers are another very poorly treated group in the community. People are often told to “just get over it already!”, “move on”, “see a therapist”, “deal with it” and the like. Many actually do see therapists. Many actually have medications. Sadly, the medications can often be worse than the illness (& and this is a common issue for all invisible & chronic illness sufferers!).

Just because one cannot relate to someone else’s issue/s does not give one the right to ignore/cut off/exclude/refuse access/refuse to treat/refuse to employ such an individual.

So, before you begin to judge someone (whether due to the fact they have some sort of weirdo illness you have never heard of or heard is total BS), stop yourself. Take a moment to ponder – what if You had to deal with some strange medical issue that everyone seemed to think was baloney. One’s world rapidly becomes a hell-hole if one does not have a handful of people who can offer support and understanding and unconditional love.

While I am not religious – please – do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Thanks for reading,

Miriam.

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