Making Invisible Illness Visible

September 13-19, 2010 is National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week:

This annual event, started in 2002 by Lisa Copen, features a variety of ways to get involved including a virtual conference September 13-17 online for free with speakers each morning 10:30 – 12 USA Pacific time.

There is a Meme “30 Things You May Not Know About My Invisible Illness”, you can sign up to blog for the cause, read guest bloggers’ posts, and get involved in the campaign on Facebook. There is even a free 80-page ebook when you sign up for email updates, with 263 tips!

With nearly 1 in 2 people living with a chronic condition, about 96% of those people are suffering silently with invisible illnesses. See

I learned about and took part in this awareness week last year; so often PTSD and all the symptoms that make up the aftermath of trauma operate outside of others’ awareness, in that sense they are indeed invisible. As I wrote last year in Trauma and Invisible Illness:

Many mental health issues can be invisible illnesses. Anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), dissociative disorders are examples of conditions that may not be seen by many in the sufferers life, or if some symptoms are identified they may be misattributed to other causes. For example, how many depressed people have encountered the hurtful myth that they are just “lazy” or unmotivated? And if the conditions themselves are not seen, the causes can be even more misunderstood. I have written about how often traumatic experiences underlie many mental health conditions, not just PTSD. There is also research to suggest that some chronic physical illnesses and symptoms may be associated with childhood trauma.

Do you have an illness or issues that are invisible to others? How do you feel about that? What can you do to increase visibility?

Kathleen Young, Psy.D.

This entry was posted in Abuse, Anxiety, Childhood Abuse, Chronic Illness, Depression, Dissociation, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Health, Mental Health, Psychologist, Trauma and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Making Invisible Illness Visible

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Making Invisible Illness Visible | Dr. Kathleen Young: Treating Trauma in Chicago --

  2. Lothlorien says:

    There was a time no one in my life, besides my husband and therapists knew I struggled with trauma issues, dissociation, and depression. Unless I told you, you would never know. In fact, it often takes much convincing and time fir someone to finally “get it” once I have told them. I didn’t like it when nobody knew. I did feel like my innerself was invisible. It also felt lonely and isolating inside. I am glad that I have found friends I can share this stuff with, but it is sad that not all my friends have reacted positively. I wish more people understood. This is why I blog.

  3. shen says:

    I think my blogging is helping to make my issues more visible. I’ve participated in blog carnivals and am gaining readership. I hope to write a book about my recovery journey, as well. I’ll be using my blog to write the book… but I need to get to a more stable place before I start that.

    Dissociation is definitely invisible because who on earth can you tell? It was easier to accept the diagnoses of bipolar disorder. As I’ve been working through trauma, the symptoms of bipolar have decreased dramatically and the dissociation is not as frequent or as complete as it used to be.

    I know I can make it out of this hole… that in itself is a big shift for me. The hopelessness people feel may be the worst part of “invisible illnesses”.

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