I saw this picture of this saying the other day on Facebook. It reminded me of concept that I had been considering when I was mentally preparing for my surgery and reflecting on the journey of a couple of years that led up to my diagnosis and waiting period for surgery. I am not trying to throw a pitty party here, but I know that I am not alone in feeling this way; therefore, I think acknowledgement and awareness of is worthy. If not for myself, it is for others that struggle daily with disease, illnesses and other issues or problems that are not “visible” to the eye.
(The Anxiety Disorders Association of Victoria Facebook page)
I am not saying that people should be responsible for not being able to gauge that someone is struggling because they cannot see it. I just want to point out and raise awareness that you may not always “see” a problem that someone is struggling with, but that doesn’t mean that the problem doesn’t exist for that person. This can be frustrating and discouraging for that person.
Sometimes it makes you feel like people don’t understand. You may feel judged or self-conscious because on the outside people see “normal”. They don’t see that there may be a problem or issue. They don’t see your struggle or pain.
I am even guilty of it. Sometimes I forget that my friend is in pain 24/7. She is constantly struggling to deal with and manage pain of fybromyalgia. Sometimes I forget that my other loved one is constantly dizzy due to an undiagnosed medical problem and cannot function daily due to the debilitating nature of it. You wouldn’t know anything is wrong just by looking at her, but it affects her life all day, every day. It is constant 24/7, and she never gets a break. I sometimes forget that my other loved one is dealing with mental illness. He has bi-polar and it affects his ability to function daily. There are constant ups and downs. Just like them, I have felt like people look at me and don’t see a problem. They can’t see that my hip is causing me pain and discomfort.
As someone that struggles with the “invisible”, it can be frustrating and lonely because sometimes you just feel like others don’t understand. For example, when I am not able to perform every day tasks/functions, such as vacuuming, I feel like people judge me and think I am being lazy. For those that know me well, know it is not the case.
All of these frustrations settle in when the issue you’re struggling with interferes with your ability to enjoy life like you want to. All you want to do is be able to resume life the way that you envision your life to be. If you could get that life back that you want to live, you would. You yearn for that but it feels out of your control.
Sometimes all people struggling with the “invisible” want is acknowledgement. They want acknowledgement that they are struggling. It is real. Even if you can’t see it. It is real. Even if it isn’t visible to the eye. It is real. You want it to be validated. You want people to know IT IS REAL.
I remember back in my initial stages of trying to find a diagnosis of my hip pain. So many doctors just couldn’t figure it out. They tried this and that. They tried to explain it, but they couldn’t. Then they started to make me feel like maybe there wasn’t a problem. Maybe I was making it a bigger issue than what it was. Finally, when I got a diagnosis, I felt validated.
With this surgery, I hope I’ve found my answer. I am still on the journey. I am still on the mend. I am still in recovery mode. I am hoping and praying there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
However, there are others still struggling. Raise awareness. Be an advocate. And remember…
“Be Kind For Everyone You Meet Is Fighting A Battle” – Author Unknown