They don't see, or don't understand the enormity of the cognitive difficulties, dizziness, pain, fatigue, vertigo and other incapacitating symptoms.
Sometimes other people can jump to some unpleasant conclusions.
Most people with an invisible condition have dealt, in varying degrees, with intolerance, condescension and even hostility, from others who disbelieve them. They also deal with the intensely difficult thoughts and emotions they experience as a result of this rejection.
A woman with MS is accused of being drunk in the middle of the day. A man with arthritis is berated for parking in a handicap spot.
You are frowned upon when you must say no to helping at your child's school. You are shunned because you aren't working. You are berated about your special dietary needs at get-togethers. Your request for a quiet room to rest in is ridiculed.
Can't manage to make it to the get-togethers? Or are they too difficult because of neurological issues or exhaustion? Maybe you can't drive and nobody wants to pick you up. Maybe you can't afford the trip financially.
You may be the subject of uncomplimentary talk by family members or friends who assume you are uninterested or that you feel superior.
Not everyone who makes wrong assumptions about your character and your ambition is being hardnosed. Sometimes people just don't realize what the real situation is. And when they do, it can make all the difference. Some of those people can become your new best friend or advocate.
That's where Invisible Illness Awareness Week comes in. That is one of the valuable aspects of the Week.
Another priceless outcome is that people with invisible illnesses, who have in the past been sidelined and rendered as invisible as their disabilities, now are able to speak up and be heard.
Internet, take a bow.
The vehicle of the Internet is being crammed and crowded with people who have had a lifetime of feeling swept aside and belittled. If they are fortunate enough to have a computer and can get online, and are able to type or dictate their words, they are able to enter a forum and arena that didn't exist till just a few years ago.