5 ways to spot “invisible” illness

Invisible illnesses aren’t really invisible – just hard to spot. So I thought I’d write a handy guide for my friends and family on how to tell if I’m not feeling well.

1. Crazy socks. This isn’t always directly related to health, but if I’m feeling particularly bad I usually like to wear crazy socks. If I’m also wearing a baggy shirt and loose, comfortable pants, then it’s a pretty safe bet that I’m not feeling great.

fun socks

2. Checking phone a lot. I also do this just because I’m very introverted, but if we’re not at a crowded party or with new people and I’m checking my phone a lot, it’s usually nervous energy and probably means I don’t feel well and I’m worried about it.


3. Closed mouth smiles/non-verbal responses. I’m much quieter if I’m not feeling good and I become much less expressive.


4. Talking A LOT – on the flip side, if I take pain medication, one of the side effects is that I become very talkative. So that may be a sign that I took medicine recently and am therefore not having the best day.


5. Messy hair – not only will I spend less time on my morning routine, but when I don’t feel well I run my hands through my hair a lot.


What about you guys? What are some ways that your illness makes itself visible? Or, if you are close with someone who is chronically ill, can you “see” their illness?


15 thoughts on “5 ways to spot “invisible” illness

  1. My voice loses all variation and inflection. I sound really mean when I’m just extremely tired. And I have bad hair.

  2. I’m usually very extroverted but when things are acting up, I “withdraw the ranks” and can’t crack a smile or an invitation. I get so mad because that is not how I really am and I just have to wait for the stuff to clear my system. (I have food intolerances–eggs are usually the culprit here. New thoughts on the term “egg-head”…)

    1. Haha nice, I like the phrase “egg head” let’s make that a thing. The frustration of not being who you really are is a great thing to notice and point out – I hadn’t thought of it in that way before!

  3. My mum is a savant on Claire-health. She can tell with one look if I’m about the get an asthma attack (before I know) and can hear it in my voice if I’m having a bad day – even if I’m trying my darndest to hide it and sound perky.
    If it’s a bad CFS day I’ll get a puffy face.
    I’ll also mainly look at the floor and get confused and upset by jokes, questions, conversations, loud noises, and unfamiliar foods or clothes.
    If I’m lying in bed whimpering it’s probably a safe bet that I’m having a bad fibro/CFS day.

  4. I do all of these things and I do not have an invisible illness. At least that I am aware of. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I think these might be things smart people do.
    Plus, I am a shrink so I might know.

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