I–like many others–have lived with the effects of a health problem that isn’t apparent to others. We live conflicted lives because of this. Even though we try to disguise our symptoms and appear “normal,” we yearn for understanding. Some people search long and hard for a proper diagnosis. We worry that it’s all in our head. We worry that others think we’re crazy. And, we’re actually relieved when we learn the cause of our symptoms, even though the diagnosis is a chronic condition that will not get better. If you’re in this group, you know what I’m talking about. If you live with someone like this, you probably understand to a degree.
In my new book, Chronic & Invisible, I relate my personal experiences of having polio at age 15 and coping successfully with it until I was in my 60’s when the symptoms started coming back. The average person doesn’t know about Post Polio Syndrome, just like the average person may not know about dozens of other invisible health problems. What’s it like to live with this type of problem and what’s it like for others to live with us? More importantly, how do we cope and live successful, happy lives? Which we do!
If you have a chronic, invisible illness, I’d love to hear how you handle it publicly and with your casual acquaintances.