Sunday, September 27, 2015

Invisible Illness Awareness Week

Invisible Illness Awareness Week begins tomorrow. This event began in 2002 when Lisa Copen, founder of, noticed a lot of people who felt sick and tired all the time were also feeling completely misunderstood by society. They looked "normal" on the outside, but inside, they had an illness that limited what they could do, and made them feel, well, sick and tired.

There are so many different types of Invisible Illnesses: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, anxiety disorders, Chrone's Disease, epilepsy, and even heart defects. If someone has a disease on the inside, but an outsider would never know it just by looking, then that person has an Invisible Illness.

My readers know I have a congenital heart defect. It limits the amount of activity I can do, makes me feel tired all the time, and will be something I have to deal with for the rest of my life. Most days are good, but some are bad. And there are always medications to take, doctors to see, procedures to be done, and eventually, surgery.

Because of my heart defect, I understand what it's like having an invisible illness. There are so many...too many. And, as the name implies, most of them are not visible to the naked eye. So when someone with an invisible illness has to say, "I need a break," or, "I just can't do that right now," or, "I can't go out with you guys tonight," others wonder, "why not?"

That's what Invisible Illness Awareness Week is all about; to explain, "Why not?"

The event takes place across social media, on news stations, in photo campaigns, and on the Internet. Celebrities with invisible illnesses have come forward to tell their stories to make more of an impact on them. On August 2, put together a list of ten celebrities who deal with an invisible illness, including Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian, and Lady Gaga.

Dealing with any disease is hard and stressful. But when people don't take you seriously when you tell them you have a serious illness simply because you don't look like you do, that's even more stressful.

Join Invisible Illness Week and help put a face with the project. Together, we can educate people so that others won't have to suffer dealing with their invisible illnesses on their own.