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Invisible Disabilities Week 2021

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What is an invisible disability you ask? Well it is a health condition that causes you to not be able to perform normal functions of life and it's not something that can be visibly seen. This can be physical or mental health-related.

You can learn more about invisible disabilities by visiting the Invisible Disabilities Association website. They have some events for the week also on their website. You can download banners for your social media, wear blue to show your support, the Invisible Disabilities Association has a Facebook event, support group and more!

I have multiple conditions that fall under the invisible illness umbrella. Most of the time you can't see my fibromyalgia unless I am using a mobility device or wheelchair. Then you can see that I need some sort of mobility support.

With fibromyalgia, everything happens internally. You can't see my muscle cramping. Although the last x-ray of my back the radiologist said he could see evidence of the cramping in my spine. That helps prove the cramping to the doctors but that's about it. You can't see my pain. Except for my face when you can see me wince or something.

Also my arthritis and gout cause pain but they can't really be seen. I have osteo-arthritis and gout which is a form of arthritis in which joints can get very inflammed.

I also have depression and you can't see that. I have had this my whole life and I have adapted to where you can only see my depression if I let you. I have learned that people don't really want to know how you are doing. They don't really care when they ask you how you are doing. It's a social grace.

So I will say some version of I am fine. No matter how I feel. There may be some cultures where they are actually interested in you as a person. But not here in the U.S. If you mention your problems then people have to think about their own.

So you know that anti-depressant commercial with the "mask" that is pretty much how I am all the time and I have been conditioned this way. If you really want to know how I am feeling I will discuss it with you. I may or may not have been having suicidal thoughts because I have those a lot. I have been hospitalized for them.

I also have anxiety and it kinda goes hand in hand with depression. My anxiety is severalfold. I have generalized anxiety and I also get panic attacks. The panic attacks make my heart race and my breathing harder and make me feel dizzy sometimes. It also just makes me feel really bad.

Something that helps me cope is breathing exercises and counting. When I have panic attacks because I practice breathing when I am not having one, it helps me remember what to do during an attack. I take slow deep breaths in and out. I also count slowly to 10 and it normally helps me calm my breathing and relax when I am in these moments.

I have asthma which you can only see when I am having trouble breathing or using my inhaler. It affects a lot of my life. I will wake up wheezing and sneezing (from my allergies) and coughing because of the wheezing. Sometimes hot tea is the best help for my wheezing!

Invisible disabilities don't make your pain, problems or life less then someone who has a very visible illness. Believe me I get it. I have a disability placard and I get the looks. "You don't look disabled" ones. Those are good days when I don't need my wheelchair or mobility scooter. Most of the time I still use my cane. Or I get the "just lose weight" looks or comments. My weight has no afffect on my muscle cramping.

My mom lost a lot of weight when all this hit her. She was very small because she pretty much stopped eating. Her cramps and pain stopped her from living. Some of it I am sure was her attitude. She just stayed in her room and pretty much never left.

But all of this is not realted to invisble disabilities! So back to that.

Invisible disabilities can be anything that causes pain, fatigue, that is from a physical, mental, emotional and cognitive disorders. There are thousands of congential, impairments, illnesses, dysfunctions, injuries and more that can be considered invisible disabilities.

The point is to figure out what is happening to you and what you need to deal with your problems, disabilities, diseases or whatever word you choose to use to describe your problems and what you need to help you along your path to understanding, dealing with and ultimately thriving through your life.

What are your invisible illnesses and what so you plan to do to celebrate invisible illness week?

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