For National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week this week, its sponsors at Rest Ministries and volunteers have created and compiled a tremendous array of resources for those of us with invisible illnesses.
- Presentations from the virtual conference cover topics from relationships to work to identity. Several presentations remain this week, but all of them are archived for you to listen to whenever you need a boost.
- The website has a large collection of articles on a wide range of issues that folks with invisible illnesses — and those who love us — confront every day, like the difficulties of explaining an illness to friends, how to respond when someone is insensitive, and how to help people with invisible illness.
- The statistics and stories section has some shocking information about chronic illness. Like that nearly half of Americans have a chronic illness, 96% of which are invisible, and the divorce rate among the chronically ill is higher than 75%.
Poke around the site for a bit. I bet you’ll learn something new that will help living with an invisible illness a little easier.
Guest Post by How to Cope With Pain Blogger
The writer of this post blogs anonymously as she is a practicing psychiatrist. Her practice focuses mostly on patients with chronic pain. Having chronic pain herself, her practice and blog reflect a deep understanding of its challenges. –Kerrie
As we all know, there are many challenges and difficulties when living with an invisible illness. However, the experience can also allow wonderful attributes such as patience, strength, humility, trust and perseverance to flourish. Encouraging these virtues –- also invisible –– to grow within us is a way to take advantage of adversity
Patience is needed to wait for healing, to respect your own and others’ limitations, and to learn to live with chronic illness.
Strength is needed to carry the burden of illness, to be stoic for others when necessary, and to stand up for yourself.
Illness can teach us humility, that we have limits, that we do get sick, and that we need to learn to ask for help.
Illness can teach us trust, trusting others, trusting ourselves, and trusting in our spiritual beliefs.
Perseverance is needed to stick with treatments, to tolerate pain, and to live fully despite illness.
Thanks to Simon Davison (patience) and Lollie-Pop (strength) for the photographs at Flickr.
In addition to living with the symptoms of headache disorders or migraine, having an illness others can’t see can be extraordinarily frustrating. Rest Ministries is raising awareness of life with invisible illness this week during National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. Check out the following press release for information on the week.
Nearly 1 in 2 people in the USA have a chronic illness and according to U.S. Census Bureau about 96% of illnesses are invisible. So it comes as no surprise that with hundreds of thousands of people on the Internet searching for health support and information, thousands of people now post daily blogs about the emotional trials they experience while facing chronic pain on a regular basis.
National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is being held September 8-14, 2008. Part of their outreach includes over thirty days of guest bloggers as well as bloggers all over the web posting about invisible illness issues. For example, what happens when someone with an invisible illness parks in the handicapped spot, even though they are doing so legally?
Lisa Copen, who founded National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week in 2002 says, “Though we live with thousands of different illnesses, we have more in common than not. For example, illness impacts our families, careers, finances and daily living, to name a few. We can all learn from one another and share during this journey.” She adds, “And frankly, people are tired of hearing, ‘But you look so good!’ and they want others to know that their illness is legitimate despite how well they seem to be holding it all together.”
Laurie Edwards is the author of a recently published book called, “Life Disrupted: Getting Real About Chronic Illness in Your Twenties and Thirties.” She has blogged about her illness since 2006 and says, “When you are a young adult, people expect you to put in long hours to establish a career, to jump into the dating world, and to build a life for yourself. But they certainly don’t expect you to be sick. There’s no such thing as ‘too young’ to be sick! That is just one of the many reasons why Invisible Illness Week is so important!”
If you would like to participate in this unique chance to blog for awareness and increase an understanding about invisible illnesses, visit www.invisibleillness.wordpress.com. You can receive updates, participate in surveys, win prizes, and learn more about the telephone workshops at the Invisible Illness Week website.
National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, which begins today, lets people know that an illness doesn’t have to be seen to be real. Check out these statistics from Rest Ministries, the sponsor of the week.
- Nearly 1 in 2 Americans (133 million) has a chronic condition
- 96% of them live with an illness that is invisible. These people do not use a cane or any assistive device and may look perfectly healthy.
- Sixty percent are between the ages of 18 and 64
- The divorce rate among the chronically ill is over 75%
- Depression is 15-20% higher for the chronically ill than for the average person
- Various studies have reported that physical illness or uncontrollable physical pain are major factors in up to 70% of suicides and more than 50% of these suicidal patients were under 35 years of age
Rest Ministries is hosting an online conference about living with invisible illness. With four presentations one-hour sessions each day for five days, there’s a ton to learn. There are 20 workshops, including:
- Going Back to School When You Have a Chronic Illness
- Don’t Be Invisible: Workplace Success with Invisible Chronic Illness
- Building a Business Vision While Honoring and Accommodating Your Health
Visit the National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week website for articles and resources for living with an invisible illness.