Activate Now
 
ProHealth me-cfs Vitamin and Natural Supplement Store and Health
Home  |  Log In  |  My Account  |  View Cart  View Your ProHealth Vitamin and Supplement Shopping Cart
800-366-6056  |  Contact Us  |  Help
Facebook Google Plus
Fibromyalgia  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & M.E.  Lyme Disease  Natural Wellness  Supplement News  Forums  Our Story
Store     Brands   |   A-Z Index   |   Best Sellers   |   New Products   |   Deals & Specials   |   Under $10   |   SmartSavings Club

Trending News

Fibromyalgia: Bad; Fibromyalgia with Migraine: Really Bad

Fibromyalgia and Sleep

4 Tips for Parenting with Chronic Illness

How Can You Be Positive When You Live With Chronic Pain?

Aching for Pain Relief?

Recovering from CFS and Fibromyalgia Series

Chocolate's Potential Health Benefits – and its Effect on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients

Repair Damaged Mitochondria and Reduce Fatigue Up to 45%

4 Ways to Keep Spirits Up When in Chronic Pain

Finding Your Energy Envelope

 
Print Page
Email Article

Invisible Illness: What Would You Say If Someone Asks, "What's It Like to Be You?"

  [ 27 votes ]   [ 1 Comment ]
By Lisa J Copen* • www.ProHealth.com • August 22, 2012


Lisa Copen, who lives with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, is founder and director of RestMinistries.com, a nonprofit dedicated to practical and spiritual encouragement of persons coping with chronic illness or pain – and sponsor of (National Invisible Chronic Illness Week), Sep 10-16, 2012. This article, outlining one suggested activity for Invisible Illness Week, is reproduced with kind permission.*

______________________________________

Tell Me, What's It Like to be You for a Day?

Lisa J Copen

What is it like to be you? How rarely we ask one another this question.

When those of us who live with invisible illnesses think about things we would like others to ask us, does the question, “What is it like to be you?” ever come to mind?

Perhaps not. And yet, think of the power behind this simple question.

If you live with an invisible illness you may feel like you live two separate lives.

• Perhaps you are one “self” at a job, where you rarely, if ever, talk of your illness or allow your peers to see your limitations.

• Maybe you even have a bit of a stubborn streak and refuse to even tell your loved ones that you are coping with an invisible illness.

If this is the case, it would be pretty odd for them to ever ask, “What is it like to be you, to live with this disease?”

And then maybe you come home from work, or a dinner with relatives and you collapse. You may crawl into bed with a heating pad and cry yourself to sleep.

Soon it is time for your doctor appointment.

He or she likely doesn’t ask, “What is it like to be you?” Yet the doctor may ask, “So, how are you doing?” And at this time you have to be as honest as possible. This is the person who is there to try to help you.

Ignoring the pain and not talking about it to your doctor will only make it worse. And when you do tell him, he may believe you are overstating the pain because “you look so good.”

And yet, it is so hard to be both of these selves - to be the 'healthy-looking' one and to be the patient.

We often feel very self-conscious about whom we complain to and how much we say to our healthy friends. And yet, our lives are so very, very different than they were before illness entered our life.

You can see a smidgen of just how different by reading a few of the memes here on "30 Things You May Not Know About My Invisible Illness."

By asking an ill friend, “What is it like to be you?” you are opening a conversation.

You are allowing your friend to express what she is learning through it all:

• What she would do differently,

• How hard it is some days just to get up, get her kids breakfast, and get dressed.

If your friend is a man, it may typically be even harder for him to share his challenges, as men are supposed to be “strong” and providers for their families.

“I know it must be hard some ways to be you, to live in a body that frustrates you. If you ever want to just share with me what it is like to be you, what your typical day is like, please know I am here and would love to just listen.”

Be an encourager today.

• Tweet this: Things to say to an ill person #14: Tell me what it is really like to be you for a day. I’d like 2 understand. #iiwk12

• Copy the 30 things meme below, fill it out, post it on your blog or on Facebook, etc. and then let your friends and family know. You may even be surprised to find out who you know who is living silently with his or her own invisible illness.

* * * *

30 THINGS ABOUT MY ILLNESS YOU MAY NOT KNOW

1. The illness I live with is:

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year:

3. But I've had symptoms since:

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is:

5. Most people assume:

6. The hardest part about mornings is:

7. My favorite medical TV show is:

8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is:

9. The hardest part about nights is:

10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins. (No comments, please)

11. Regarding alternative treatments I:

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose:

13. Regarding working and career:

14. People would be surprised to know:

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been:

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was:

17. The commercials about my illness:

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is:

19. It was really hard to have to give up:

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is:

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would:

22. My illness has taught me:

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is:

24. But I love it when people:

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is:

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them:

27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is:

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was:

29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week (http://invisibleillnessweek.com) because:

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel:

____

See also:

• The results of a 2008 Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week survey - 55 ways chronically ill people said they respond when told "You Look So Good.” Selected from the responses of more than 1,200 people.

“You Are Too Young to Look That Sick! Invisible Illness Challenges,” by Lisa Copen.

* This article, first published Aug 3, 2012 on RestMinistries.com, is reproduced with kind permission of Lisa Copen.©Rest Ministries, Inc. 2012. All Rights Reserved. Lisa lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She is gradually learning how to balance motherhood, family, illness, and ministry, but she still knows it will be a lifetime lesson. You can see the books she has written, including Why Can’t I Make People Understand? Discovering the Validation Those with Chronic Illness Seek and Why, at the Rest Ministries shop.




Post a Comment

Featured Products From the ProHealth Store
Hydroxocobalamin Extreme™ Ultra ATP+, Double Strength Energy NADH™ 12.5mg

Looking for Vitamins, Herbs and Supplements?
Search the ProHealth Store for Hundreds of Natural Health Products


Article Comments Post a Comment

Good and Bad just like you
Posted by: Karob
Sep 2, 2012
I have had an immune related illness since I was a teenager, and been sick on and off since then. Aren't all chronic illnesses and chronic mental health issues essentially invisible?

I am not sure I understand what the significance is of making a deal about it being invisible. Isn't that the nature of it? And doesn't that make it better than having to "wear" a disability like some people have to?

Yes, I have to take charge of my health more than most people and there are many many things I cant do, but I don't have to make excuses for it either. Having chronic health problems has given me a lot of empathy for others and I think all humans who have lived long enough have some sort painful invisible something that they live with.



Reply Reply
 
Free Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Newsletters
Subscribe to
Our FREE
Newsletter
Subscribe Now!
Receive up-to-date ME/CFS, Fibromyalgia & Lyme Disease treatment and research news
 Privacy Guaranteed  |  View Archives

How Glutathione Can Save Your Life

Featured Products

Energy NADH™ 12.5mg Energy NADH™ 12.5mg
Improve Energy & Cognitive Function
MitoQ® MitoQ®
Powerful Antioxidant Support to Mitochondria
B-12 Extreme™ B-12 Extreme™
The Most Potent Vitamin B-12 on Earth
Mitochondria Ignite™ with NT Factor® Mitochondria Ignite™ with NT Factor®
Reduce Fatigue up to 45%
Ultra ATP+, Double Strength Ultra ATP+, Double Strength
Get energized with malic acid & magnesium

Natural Remedies

Probiotic Mint Promotes Healthy Gums & Teeth, Freshens Breath and Whitens Teeth Probiotic Mint Promotes Healthy Gums & Teeth, Freshens Breath and Whitens Teeth
Block food Cravings At Their Molecular Root Block food Cravings At Their Molecular Root
Ubiquinol - A More Advanced Form of the Energy Producing Nutrient CoQ-10 Ubiquinol - A More Advanced Form of the Energy Producing Nutrient CoQ-10
Mitochondria-Booster NIAGEN® Shows Promise in First Human Clinical Trial Mitochondria-Booster NIAGEN® Shows Promise in First Human Clinical Trial
Dreaming of a Good Night's Sleep? Dreaming of a Good Night's Sleep?

FIBROMYALGIA
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia Diagnosis
Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Fibromyalgia Causes
Fibromyalgia Treatments
Fibromyalgia Diet
Fibromyalgia Medications
M.E. & CFS
What is M.E./CFS?
M.E./CFS Diagnosis
M.E./CFS Symptoms
M.E./CFS Causes
M.E./CFS Treatments
M.E./CFS Diet
M.E./CFS Medications
LYME DISEASE
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme Disease Diagnosis
Lyme Disease Symptoms
Lyme Disease Causes
Lyme Disease Treatments
Lyme Disease Diet
Lyme Disease Medications
FORUMS
Fibromyalgia
M.E. & CFS
Lyme Disease
General Health
WHOLESALE
AFFILIATES GUARANTEE
PRIVACY
CONTACT US
LIBRARY
RSS
SITE MAP
ProHealth on Facebook  ProHealth on Twitter  ProHealth on Pinterest  ProHealth on Google Plus
Credit Card Processing