7 Things People With Invisible Illnesses Think You Should Know

Chances are you know someone who has an invisible illness. An invisible illness means that a person is suffering from an illness or disease which isn’t necessarily visible on the outside. However, just because you can’t see what’s wrong doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything wrong.

People with invisible illnesses often need just as much practical and emotional support as those with illnesses you can see, but sometimes it can be difficult to know how to help. We’ve put together a list of things you should know about someone with an invisible illness based on information from prevention.com.

1. Don’t assume they’re faking their disability. 
Just because someone has a disabled sticker in their car doesn’t necessarily mean they’re wheelchair-bound. Many people have these stickers because they need oxygen to get around or are waiting for organ transplants. Yes they might be able to walk, but they might not be able to walk very far and even a short distance can take a lot of effort.

MORE: Seven things not to say to someone who has an inflammatory bowel disease

2. Understand symptoms may come and go.
People with invisible illnesses often suffer from extreme fatigue and chronic pain. Sometimes just getting through the day is difficult, leaving them with no desire to go out socializing after work. On the flip side, don’t assume that because they have an illness that they won’t want to go out — they might be having a good day and are feeling great. Be inclusive but respect the person’s decision, only they will know whether they are up for the activity.

3. Help is appreciated. 
People with invisible illnesses often lead busy lives, including working, looking after family, and running active, busy households. An occasional offer of help, such as offering to run errands or cooking them a casserole will be greatly appreciated. Offer to be a point of contact should your friend suddenly need hospital treatment so you can support them. Ask them directly what you can do for them.

4. They may look great but feel terrible. 
A person may look good on the outside; they can dress well, have their hair and make-up done to perfection, but this doesn’t always reflect how they’re feeling on the inside. They may be masking both physical and emotional pain, and struggling to hold it together. Be a good friend and confidant, someone they feel comfortable talking to.

5. They don’t want pity.
Chronic illness sufferers don’t want people’s pity, and this is just as true for people suffering from an invisible illness. Treat them with respect and don’t assume they can’t do things because of their illness — ask them!

6. Take them at their word.
If they say they’re too sick today to come to work, go to the movies, or even eat…believe them. Likewise, if they say they are well enough to do things, believe them then, too.

7. Don’t offer advice unless they ask for it. 
Unless you are a professional in the field, steer away from giving any unsolicited medical, nutritional, or mental health advice. More than likely the person will have already tried what you’re suggesting or it will be downright dangerous for them. Leave the advice to the experts.

MORE: Four lifestyle changes to make if you have an inflammatory bowel disease

IBD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

One comment

  1. These invisible Diseases such as IBD are very hard for people they have because no one other than them feel it. On my opinion there is a solution . Take look at people at other countries whom never attacked or very little of them with these diseases and make a study to know why western countries including American have these diseases ?? Of course there are many factors . You can solve these factors one by one and very slowly not by drugs but change life style . You can guide people to change their life style as you guid them to how obey Trafic, standing in line at markets and so on … all this done by issuing laws. The wrong habits of people for taking the food are main factor of IBD. You can change the all types of food at markets cooked or processed or raw . The people eat what they find eat in the markets . Please don’t tell me it is freedom for people to choose their food ? Because as an simple example : In the pastry section at all supper markets most Pasternak with different shapes and tastes have common in two things … High sugar and high fat so what can any person choose from these because all of these Pastery worse?!!! And what the benefit of freedom to choose ?? This just an example from thousands of food .This conversation take much time and my English not so good but I tell you are( FDA ) responsible for most diseases that attacked people that not treated by current drugs like IBD and others that you know. So if you are serious to to do some thing good for those current missirible people who have IBD and other undiagnosed diseases I can help with you to start big program to prevent these diseases to hit new people at least.
    Before 2 or two decade few people have these diseases but now more even children and kids . Tommorow reach to new borns and even pet!!!!
    Billions of dollars spent for making drugs but without healing just increase the suffering time . These Billions if spend to change the food and other wrong life style most suffered people healed !! So there is an opportunity now to start.
    Thank you for gave me an opportunity to talk .

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