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National Invisible Illness Awareness Week: Sept. 9-15, 2013

By HERWriter
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National Invisible Illness Awareness Week runs from Sept. 9-15, 2013 Tom Baker/PhotoSpin

National Invisible Illness Awareness Week is from Sept. 9-15, 2013. Lisa Copen of Rest Ministries, who also lives with an invisible illness herself, organized the first Awareness Week in 2002. Since its inception, more and more groups and individuals have become involved in this worthy undertaking.

According to SBWire.com, almost 50 percent of all Americans have a chronic condition, and many of these conditions are invisible. Such illnesses are everywhere, but ... they are invisible, unless you know a little something about the people living with such illnesses, you aren't going to see it.

The neighbor who seems lazy, the cousin who won't get a job, the friend who never wants to go out for lunch ... maybe they aren't disinterested slackers. Maybe they are grappling with a condition that has them tied to their homes or their beds, prevents them from talking on the phone or helping at events.

Some people are able to work, and manage to carry on a semblance of a life. Because they are able to go to work, and perhaps take care of basics like buying groceries and doing housework, others may assume that they are fine, and completely miss the fact that these folks could use some help and some encouragement.

It's tough to live this way, and to be subsequently misunderstood by so many healthy people. I know because I have an invisible illness. I live with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) which also goes by the ridiculous name chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

I have been the sick person who was bedridden and ignored, and after my condition improved, moved on to being the sick person who works, and so is assumed to be fine and healthy.

The goal of Awareness Week is to unite those who are ill into a community, as well as to educate healthy people, encouraging them to reach out to the sick with support.

What are some of these invisible conditions?

Add a Comment2 Comments

I think mental illnesses could be classified as "invisible illnesses" as well. Although I do well at work, I still suffer from anxiety and depression, even if it's at a minor level. And I think people may misjudge me for that. I think it's important for everyone to think about the person next to them at work or in the grocery store, and realize that they could very well have a condition they're struggling with, even if its not obvious. Cut others some slack and hopefully they will do the same :)

September 12, 2013 - 7:27pm
HERWriter (reply to Rheyanne Weaver_2)

Very important points. Thanks for saying this, Rheyanne.



September 16, 2013 - 5:44am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.