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Kris Karafotas     
Last logged on: 7/20/2019

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Honor Yourself, Respect Yourself

Published on 12/3/2018
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In the television show about the documentary of Farrah Fawcett's battle with cancer her son said something like, "I know she will be fine. She just looks so good." Those of us with invisible illness are tempted to throw up our hands in frustration at these sort of comments. They sound like the familiar "You don't look sick" observations people tell us. Yet, it was true. Some days she did look like the beautiful bombshell most of us remember. But other days she looked like someone struggling to survive cancer, in the fight of her life.

So yes, it can be frustrating to look healthy when you are feeling terrible. And yet we do truly want to look as bad as we feel? There are advantages to having an illness that is invisible. Lets look at a few or the benefits.You get to choose who to reveal your illness to and who not to. Some people you may immediately confide in; others you may wait and see if they feel "safe." Some people you may never tell about your illness.

You can avoid unwanted advice. When your illness is visible, even the person in line at the grocery store feels the burden to share the latest cure for your condition or tell you what you should be eating. With an invisible illness, no one knows and offers comments unless you choose to mention it. And then you chose to open up that whole can of worms.You can have a career without word spreading through the grapevine that you have a chronic illness that may eventually get in the way of you doing your job. You can avoid the preconceptions people may have about what your illness is and how it will impact your work. You can reveal it to who you want, when you want, as long as you are able to do you job. You may, in fact, never tell anyone.

You don't have to deal with sympathetic looks or pity stares. The many people who have visible conditions, such as Parkinson's Disease, or those who use an assistive device like a cane or scooter, must learn not to care what other people think. Both friends and strangers often stares and don't know how to respond when they see someone struggling to tie a show, sit, stands, or walk.

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