A Thought for May – Invisible Illness Awareness
As many folk may or may not know May is
ME Awareness month.
I must admit that ‘Awareness Months’ make me slightly edgey. Are there sufficient months in a year to raise awareness for every need in this world? I don’t know. And I honestly feel a bit greedy seemingly hogging a whole month. But as I have at this moment of penning this blog post been made aware, it’s not just ME (aka *MEcfs) that is being highlighted, it is Invisible Illnesses as a whole. The multitude of them.
The majority of people I am in touch with know that my health took a serious nose dive several years ago, 16 years ago infact. With my health a few years prior to that giving me several nudges. I did an excellent job of ignoring them! I have been homebound ever since!
Why am I hestitant of the ‘Awareness Month’? I think because people know. They know I have a long term chronic illness. And those who truly know me, know the havoc it has wreaked in my life and that of my immediate family. I don’t want to keep reminding them too much and there by risk empathy fatigue. I need their support.
Awareness and Understanding
I also struggle with discussing it, as I have also been met with some very challenging and deeply hurtful attitudes. And have the endless task of explaining it to many other parties. It is exhausting. I could risk becoming all very me, me, me. Or you could also say, it’s already very ME, ME, ME. That isn’t denial. It’s just being honest with myself and what I can cope with in the hope of remaining sane.
Invisible Illness and Guilt
I also feel a tangible amount of pressure to create some amazingly inspiring and data related content. Not unlike how it feels trying to complete research questionnaires about the condition. Both very likely will not happen, well not today. I don’t do pressure any more. And try very hard not to feel guilty about that.
Yes, having a chronic illness can create a whole host of feelings of guilt. As if you have let the whole world down, but you haven’t. You didn’t choose it. It chose you.
So I shall just say, that not only is May ME Awareness month, it is also for the many, many complex and disabling Invisible Illnesses that peoples lives are dramatically changed by.
I will most likely share a few posts on social media, if my brain agrees. But I will also be distracting myself. Because I am still far more than ME. The reality of it still tries its very best to break me physically and emotionally. I have actually been addressed as ‘are you ME’ whilst in my wheelchair. I didn’t take kindly to that.
Invisible Illness and Understanding
I am aware that many people will be putting a lot of effort into this month. I am not attempting to take anything away from that or be disrespectful. But having written at length on the subject in previous years, ‘What’s in a Shoe’ and ‘My Story with MEcfs’ I will leave it there.
My thread of awareness will run through my blog as always. I am aware of ME every day. And quite honestly, it’s time it got it’s coat and buzzed off.
I have tried serving oranges, soup, hot chocolate and ordering an uber. But still, the hint has not been taken. MEcfs, it is time to leave! AND BY THE WAY, YOU WERE NEVER INVITED!
Invisible Illness and Empathy
So in closing. Here is to a greater understanding of the myriad of Chronic and Invisible Illnesses millions of people struggle with, without recognition, diagnosis, treatment, support or understanding every day of the year.
Let us make it our goal to cut more folk far more slack and put far more effort into understanding what our friend, relative and neighbour are dealing with on a daily basis. Which may or may not not be visible. Without uttering the words…
‘Oh, but you look so well.’
The person looking back at you may be trying desperately to hold it together.
I would like to dedicate this song to my husband and children, who lovingly and selflessly support me practically, physically and emotionally.
I LOVE YOU GUYS!!
Have a blessed day.🌸
Thank you again to Realistic Optimism for their permission to include the image.
*MEcfs – Myalgic Encephalomyelitis aka Chronic Fatigue Syndrome