Since I’m going to talk about sex for the entire month of April (see This shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S! for my A to Z blogging challenge topics), I thought I would go ahead and continue with invisible illness for another day.
According to Social Work Today, find it here, “Millions of individuals with chronic illnesses bear the extra burden of family, friends, coworkers, and even healthcare professionals who don’t believe these patients are ill because they don’t “look sick.”” There are an estimated 150 million plus people in the United States alone fighting invisible illnesses. An invisible illness can be anything that is not outwardly seen.It can be a psychological issue (ie. mental illness) or it can be physical (ie. chronic pain). 96% of people living with chronic conditions in the United States have an invisible illness. Auto-immune diseases, neurological conditions, heart conditions, and chronic pain are some examples. Here is a short list of the biggest conditions:
- Neurological Conditions: Including but not limited to, migraine headaches, traumatic brain injury (TBI), fibromyalgia
- Chronic pain conditions like back pain (spinal pain) and arthritis
- Auto immune diseases like lupus and other immune system dysfunctions
- Heart Conditions like Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
- Bowel Disorders, like Crohn’s disease
- Mental Illness like bipolar disorder (BPD) or depression. Bipolar disorder, by the way, indicates that the person has highs and lows, whereas in depression there is only low.
Of the over 150 million people with invisible illness, less than 7% use a cane, wheelchair, or other outward sign of illness. You probably pass a hundred people a week dealing with something you do not know anything about and you cannot see. I must say, some of these statistics surprised even me, and this is a subject I’ve researched before….
- Almost 1 in 2 Americans have a chronic condition.
- By 2020, over 150 million Americans will be afflicted by chronic illnesses, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- That number is projected to increase by more than one percent per year by 2030, resulting in an estimated chronically ill population of 171 million.Especially as our life expectancy grows and we are living longer.
- Just under a third of adolescents have ADHD/ADD, depression, asthma, or another invisible condition.
- Sixty percent are between the ages of 18 and 64.
- 90% of seniors have at least one chronic disease and 77% have two or more chronic diseases. Again, living longer will lead to more chronic conditions.
- 4 out of 5 United States health care dollars (78%) are spent on behalf of people with chronic conditions.
For anyone living with an invisible illness, it is something you cannot fully explain to someone who doesn’t have one. My dad, now in his 80s, is starting to deal with some chronic pain and it may be the fist time anyone in my family truly understands what I’ve been living with for 10 years. For anyone interested, I’ve mentioned my awesome Facebook group before, Suffering in Silence. Please join us. It is a fantastic group of supportive people who understand what you are going through. Know: you are not alone.
Suffering in Silence: But you don’t look sick. It’s a daily struggle feeling sick on the inside while you look fine outside. Please post as your status if you or someone you know has an invisible illness (Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Dysautonomia, Diabetes, Crohns, PCOS, RA, OsteoArthritis, Migraines, Kidney Disease, Epilepsy, MS, Depression, Bipolar, M.E, ASD, Borderline personality and Anxiety,Autism & ADD, ADHD and more.)
This post has appeared quite a few times in the past few days. Because of that, and the resulting comments, I thought a group might be nice. If you are one of the many that suffers in silence with a *disease* that most people cannot see, feel, or touch..or just love someone who is suffering in silence, please join. Tell us your story, ask for feedback, or just read what people have to say. I hope that maybe it heals you a little bit.
Blessed be one and all.