A very popular comedian once did a routine regards people who have disabled stickers for there car, thus access to disabled parking. It focused on the fact that many of us like a clear visual sign of their disability when they get out their car so that we can judge if they ‘warrant’ the parking space.
The comedian suggest that many would only be happy if the holder of the permit where to crawl from there vehicle, as those who could walk away could not possibly meet the criteria many of us seek. While we do the humor of this routine a disservice, there is actually a very real and important point to be gleaned from the routine. Before most of us dispense sympathy we like to see hard evidence that it is merited.
In my youth sport was a huge part of my life, and in particular sports with a physical edge. I would regularly receive impressive looking wounds which would initiate a great deal of praise, suggesting that I was very courageous. If there is blood or things hanging off, the automatic assumption is that it hurts.
While some of it did hurt (briefly) to be fair, non of it matched the pain of IBS, however even if I shared this information, few could empathize or understand. I was never made to feel brave, in the way my sporting endeavors appeared to warrant.
While we all may understand the term, few of us stop and consider just how important it is to know that others understand what we have to endure. IBS is silent, invisible and hard to talk about. IBS is often derided and misunderstood.
Some sufferers endure relentless pain, while others may have to base their entire life around the condition, which may include missing many of the pleasures others take for granted. It is one thing to endure a condition, however it is another thing entirely to endure a condition alone and without anyone having the slightest understanding of the nature of your symptom.
Thus when a celebrity comes out and admits they have IBS, they do tremendous good for fellow sufferers, by drawing attention to the condition and more importantly empathizing with people who rarely receive genuine understanding.
IBS sufferers encounter many wonderful people who do tremendous work, however if they do not actually suffer with the condition, they can never truly feel and understand the nature of IBS. This is not to diminish their kind attempts, it merely reinforce the importance of celebrities who bravely admit the condition.
We do not use the term bravely without due diligence. Many sufferers struggle to tell loved ones, so for celebrities to come out and offer their support, is kind and appreciated. IBS is certainly not something which could be used to assist a career.
The comforting arm of empathy
Only fellow sufferers truly understand the nature of IBS, and even then there are so many types of IBS, that it would be churlish to suggest that we all understand each others issues. What we will share is the understanding that few of our peers will be able to sympathize with the pain and problems posed by IBS.
IBS is almost entirely invisible -
5 Tools to Cope With Invisible Illness
"You look so good! You can't be as bad as you say. You look perfectly healthy." "You think you have fatigue? Try working full time plus having four children! Then you'll know what chronic fatigue is." "I think you're spending too much time thinking about how you feel. You need to just get out more." "If you really wanted to get well, you'd at least try that juice drink I gave you last week. It won't hurt to try it."
And the remarks go on ... and on. And our heart aches.
You may be surprised to hear that nearly one in two Americans has a chronic illness or physical condition that affects their daily life.* The range of diseases include everything from back pain to fibromyalgia, arthritis to cancer and migraines to diabetes. Oftentimes, one of the largest emotional stumbling blocks for people who suffer from illness is the invisibility of the pain.
About 96 percent of illness is invisible. This means that the person who suffers from the chronic condition shows no outward signs of physical pain or disability, nor does he or she use an assistive device like a walker or wheelchair. But the incredible pain each day can be disabling within the confines of the home.
If you have an invisible illness here are five tools to help let go of some of the frustrations:
Please note: All blogs and IBS Health articles have been written by IBS sufferers for fellow IBS sufferers.
We respect and appreciate all other opinions and write with the sole aim of providing empathy, support and ideas for others who live IBS everyday. We do not write cause offence.
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