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Invisible but Not Silent!

The Official DO I LOOK SICK? poster!

The Official DO I LOOK SICK? poster!

 

Today we began our poster campaign to raise awareness! These posters will start popping up all around the University of North Texas and hopefully the surrounding Denton area. If a poster directed you here, welcome! Let me tell you a little bit about DO I LOOK SICK.

My name is Rachel and I was diagnosed with endometriosis three years ago. Having an incurable disease that even spell check doesn’t recognize opened my eyes to a whole new world. 1 in every 2 Americans suffer from an invisible illness. That’s half the country! Yet there is little to no awareness of most of these conditions. I read an article about a groundbreaking program at DePaul University for students with invisible illnesses and I thought to myself Why is this groundbreaking? Why doesn’t every school have a program for the invisibly ill? So I decided I needed to do something.

I started this blog, but it’s just the first step. You can read my first post here. It has a lot of statistics and info on just how many people suffer from invisible illness, and how they suffer. Divorce, depression, and suicide all have increased rates in the invisibly ill. And like the poster says, if you don’t have an invisible illness, someone you know does! But what can you do to help?

I want every school to have a program that recognizes and aids students with invisible illness. I want every sick person to be able to tell their teachers, employers, and friends that they’re sick and need a break without having to put on an act so they’ll believe it. I want people to have the support and love they need, sick or not! It may seem like a big problem to tackle, but the solution is simple, just one word:

AWARENESS.

So it starts here, on this blog. Scroll to the bottom of this page and hit follow, or “Like” us on facebook, or “Follow” us on Twitter, or better yet, do all three! Then share with your friends. Reblog, repost, share, and tweet your hearts out! Once we’ve got a big group of people ready for a revolution, we’ll start having events outside of the blog. We’re NOT going to ask anyone for money or anything like that – we’re just going to get some attention. We’re going to let sick people know that they’re not alone! We’re going to tell healthy people that their friends are sick and need support! We’re going to tweak the world – just a little bit – so that everyone knows about invisible illness, and it won’t be invisible anymore.

Our illnesses are invisible, but they are not silent. It’s time to make some noise! So many people feel so alone right now. It is lonely to feel sick and not look it. My illness is incurable. I will never be well. I am not looking for a cure. I am looking for care! Half the world is looking for care!

So comment! Tweet it! Post on facebook! Reblog! Put up posters!

Tell us you care!

JOIN THE MOVEMENT!

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About rachelmeeks

My name is Rachel Meeks. I have endometriosis, an incurable pain condition, IBS, a digestive illness, and PCOS, which causes irregular periods and infertility. After keeping my illnesses a secret, I started to get upset about how my fellow sick people were being mistreated because of ignorance. I knew that I'd need to stand up, make some noise, wear my heart on my sleeve, and admit that I am not well to make a difference.

3 responses to “Invisible but Not Silent!

  1. Brittany ⋅

    Thank you so much for bringing attention to this! I go to UNT too and have seen your posters around campus. I too have an invisible illness. Several, technically. I’ve suffered from OCD since I was a kid. I just recently got medicated for it. While the medication helps A LOT, some days are worse than others. I totally understand how it feels to be ridiculed for your illness – people think OCD is just something I can “forget about” or “not think about.” It’s really hard sometimes and does get me depressed sometimes. I’ve even wondered if it’s the reason why I’ve never had any romantic attention, even wondering how anyone could love someone like me, as I know how hard I can be to deal with sometimes :/ The other hasn’t been officially diagnosed yet, but at the rate my symptoms have appeared it’s just a matter of time. My mom suffers from Ankylosing Spondylitis, a chronic and degenerative inflamatory arthritis-like disease that causes horrible pain and can eventually lead to spinal fusion. I’ve been having symptoms similar to hers more and more recently and at an earlier time than she started getting them, so it’s just a matter of time before it’s official. Recently, I’ve had this horrible nerve pain in my left butt cheek, but if I tell anyone it sounds ridiculous to them. What’s ridiculous is not being able to walk or even move without sending a horrific pain through my left leg.

    Anyway, I’m glad I’m not alone in this. It’s hard for people to relate to my problems sometimes or understand why I am the way I am. Thanks again for bringing awareness to invisible illnesses! More people need to know and understand what we go through!

    • Thank you so much for all the kind words! Yes, sadly many invisible illnesses are looked at as something that can be ignored. With endo, when people hear the symptoms, it sounds a lot like just being a girl and having a period. Cramps, depression, etc etc. As if that’s nothing! But that’s why it took me so long to get diagnosed. I thought this was just part of being a girl. It’s so hard for people to understand pain. I can so relate to how ridiculous it is to be in so much pain that you can’t just walk around like a normal person. It’s like, hellooo body! Walking is part of your job description! Let’s do it! I think having a mental illness, like OCD, can be even more awkward and difficult to explain. The mind is so intangible, and yes, seems like something you should be in control of. A friend of mine with manic depression describes a lot of the same misunderstanding. People seem to think he just needs to cheer up or calm down. It’s so not that simple! It’s easy to feel trapped in your own body, and like you’re holding yourself back. Just remember that isn’t true. Recently I got an email that said “I admire the way you’ve taken a bad situation and made it into a good thing.” My response was “Hey, this is incurable. I can’t live my whole life in a bad situation, it HAS to be a good thing!”

      Thanks for your support, and I hope you can get a diagnosis soon and start getting some treatment. Please feel free to get an email subscription to this blog (follow button at bottom of page) or like us on facebook or follow us on twitter, so we can keep in touch. 🙂 I’d love to hear more as your situation develops, and maybe even meet you or do an interview when we start doing events and stuff like that. I’d also like to invite you to share a story with us on the latest post. We’ll be featuring our favorite responses on the blog, so if you have a funny/moving/awkward/heartwarming story about sharing your illness with a professor, boss, friend, etc please do share! I hate the stigma that we can’t talk about being sick, and I’ve had all kinds of reactions to my diagnosis, both good and bad.

      Thanks again for your kind comment and sharing your story – personal comments like this really do provide support, understanding, and hope to a lot of readers. I hope you stick around and we talk again soon!

  2. Pingback: This is a post about David Bowie « Do I Look Sick?

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