We’ve all heard and talked about how fibromyalgia is an invisible illness. You can look fine on the outside while you’re anything but on the inside. But there’s another kind of invisibility that we may not talk about as much.
Our new “normal” makes us invisible to people who used to be a part of our world.
Our friends and family are busy, so it feels like no one notices that we’re no longer around. That is one of the hardest things for me. It’s painful when you feel isolated and lonely because it seems you’ve been left behind. No one wants to feel like they no longer matter. Sometimes it feels like I’m on a staircase going nowhere while others pass me by. They come and go, chatting and laughing, while I’m stuck and feeling invisible.
It’s easy to feel detached from the living part of life because of our limitations and physical disability. Maybe it’s because people feel uncomfortable and don’t know how to react when they learn about our illness. Maybe we inadvertently push others away. It’s like we are coated in invisible ink, making us visible only to others who also are suffering.
This is from a column I wrote in 2016:
“Please don’t forget about us and drop out of our lives. It makes a complicated situation more painful and lonely. It’s so hard feeling socially isolated! When you invite us somewhere or include us in your plans, we may have to cancel at the last minute. Don’t take it personally, it just may mean our energy or pain levels won’t allow us to follow through. Just like we wouldn’t take it personally if you had to bow out because you had the flu or a migraine headache.”
It’s hard, I know. Before I got sick, my life was going at warp speed. I didn’t slow down to pay attention to people around me who were suffering. I wasn’t aware, so I understand. Life goes on. Keeping in touch with me takes effort these days, an effort I would truly appreciate and not take for granted.
I may be suffering from an invisible illness, but I’m very much still here — and visible if you take the time to see.
Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.