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 InvisibleIllnessWeek.com
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?