A new video contest called #IAmInvisibleNoMore, part of a campaign that raises awareness of “invisible” diseases and disabilities like fibromyalgia, was recently launched by the Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) and the private company Allsup.
For the campaign, the IDA, an advocacy organization supporting people with invisible disabilities, joined efforts with Allsup, a U.S. company that works with people filing Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims. The video contest invites people to upload a two- or three-minute video telling their personal stories. Participants will be eligible to win a series of prizes.
The first prize is a $500 check and a trip to Denver, just in time to attend the IDA Awards Gala, on Oct. 19. Second- and third-place prizes are $250 and $100 pre-paid debit cards, respectively.
The deadline to participate in the video contest is March 16. Winners will be chosen by online votes. Until March 16, both IDA and Allsup will host Facebook live events with tips on how to tell your story in a short clip. Additional information and official contest rules can be found here.
“Living with an invisible disability means struggling to get people to believe you when you explain how your condition affects you,” Wayne Connell, founder and CEO of IDA, said in a press release.
“Imagine being labeled as lazy or rude because people don’t appreciate how your illness makes certain activities impossible. This disbelief not only affects relationships, it can be a barrier to care and benefits as well,” he said.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia include widespread muscular and bone pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, memory issues and mood swings – all of which are “invisible.” Researchers believe fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting how our brains process pain signals.
Fibromyalgia is often diagnosed after a physical trauma, surgery, infection, or significant psychological stress. In some cases, symptoms just pile up over time, with no identifiable trigger.
Women are most likely to develop fibromyalgia than men, with many also suffering from tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, and depression.
Because certain conditions, much like fibromyalgia, are often misunderstood by society and patients are sometimes blamed for “faking it” or “not being able to take their minds off it,” IDA released a video in January to promote public understanding of invisible diseases and to help people talk about their condition to family and friends.
The production of the video, also titled “I Am Invisible No More,” was sponsored by Allsup.
In addition, IDA will host its Invisible Disabilities Week Oct. 14-20. To participate, call your friends and family and share information about invisible disabilities in your favorite social media channel or buy a wristband or a lapel pin to spark the conversation in your workplace or local church, school, or cafe. You can also make a donation here to support IDA’s work and activities.