There are several other illnesses or disabilities that are considered invisible, or a “hidden illness/disability” as it is sometimes referred to, besides Cystic Fibrosis.
The following are considered as such:
- Psychiatric Disabilities
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Attention Deficit-Disorder or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder(ADD/ADHD)
- Learning Disabilities
Invisible illnesse’s are classified as such because their symptom’s aren’t readily noticeable, for instance someone who is deaf may have a hearing aid, when you see that you automatically know that person has hearing issues. Invisible illnesses don’t present themselves in an immediately noticeable way…the person may not have any visually obvious impairments at all, but can’t do things like play sports for instance, or leave home without their litany of medications…like in my case. Not visible to anyone unless they look in my bag, the it becomes blatant that there is a health problem.
The way these illnesses impact the lives of the people who have them are difficult to understand unless you also deal with such issues. For instance, many people with invisible disabilities don’t disclose their problems to their employers, or sometimes even their friends because of the stigma that come with being labeled as “sick or disabled.” It is an extremely uncomfortable situation when something pops up in an activity or conversation, that the person with the disability can’t or shouldn’t do, as they then have to give and explanation, which in a lot of cases may be embarrassing, and not something they feel like disclosing all the time. For this very reason, I know personally, I have done things I know I shouldn’t do because of my health, but I didn’t want to be looked at as “different” so I but the bullet and did whatever needed to be done to keep my cover in tact. Then I paid the consequences for doing so later, but on my own, where I didn’t have to publicly show those complications…Nobody wants to be looked at as different, everyone wants to fit in, and that includes people who have invisible disabilities or illnesses. Already having to restrict the things that they are able to do from day to day in a very uncomfortable situation in and of itself, but having to then explain why we cant do said things is just humiliating. Which is way many times people will just refrain from putting themselves in those situations, or even do something they know to be detrimental to their health issue to keep up with the crowd, and not be viewed in a negative way. It is a horrible part of dealing with things like CF, but it is something that once again we have just come to accept, and be part of our lives.