Not listed above is Depression, PTSD, Bipolar, and Anxiety disorders, in which I have three of myself. I am missing many more.

My own invisible illnesses seep into everything that I do. It’s a challenge to forget for any real length of time, no matter how hard I try.

If I can’t ignore it, how will my loved ones be able to?

They do and they don’t. It’s complicated.

From my experience, one of two things will usually happen when family/or friends face a chronic invisible illness of any kind.

1. They will ignore it and pretend that everything is the same as it was before.

2. They will believe you when you say that you hurt and don’t feel well, but still not quite “get it.”

You can’t really “get it” unless you experience it yourself, which makes it that much more frustrating for everyone involved.

None of these diseases are cookie cutter. My legs used to be strong and pain-free, and now they are so weak, it scares me sometimes.

A friend of mine with fibro doesn’t have any real issue with her legs, but she is always exhausted, even without having a flare.

Regardless of the severity of symptoms, it will have a ripple effect.

I can’t do heavy housework or cook a proper meal. I am prone to injuring myself easily by doing the most simplest of tasks. I spend most of my time sitting or lying down. I mentally “check out.” My husband and daughter have to pick up my slack, in addition to their own responsibilities.

This causes me to feel useless and guilty. I become very depressed, and then I become angry. I take it out on everyone.

In turn, they become depressed and angry. It’s a never-ending cycle that I can’t seem to stop from happening.

I can’t claim to have many words of wisdom. This is all new to me. All I can do is try to do my part to promote awareness and acceptance.

We need hugs, and lots of them.

We need to be allowed to vent without fear of ridicule.

We need you to learn about our invisible illness(es).

We need your understanding.

We need people to believe us.

And most importantly, we need your love.

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