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September 28th to October 4th

On the surface, I don’t look sick in any obvious way. I have honed my abilities at keeping my carefully crafted facade from showing visible cracks. If you look closely and take more than a passing glance, you might see a slight wince of pain or a shallow gasp for air. You might see a tiny tear in the corner of my eye. If you’re really looking, you might notice that my step is a little slow and my gait is deliberate as my legs move in sluggish discomfort.

I am what a person with an invisible illness looks like and am this person because on the outside there are no immediate signs of disease. I am not missing hair. I don’t look disheveled. I smile at your jokes and converse with apparent ease. But, my brain is foggy, thick and muddled. If you listen carefully, you can hear me struggle for the right word as I pause ever so slightly.

Life with an invisible illness is complicated. It’s a double life. It’s a private life. It’s a secret life. Few take notice and those who do are discomforted by their inability to comprehend it. People often cannot reconcile what they cannot see. Seeing is believing after all. So, it’s a quiet struggle. It’s a closeted battle. It’s a lonely experience.

I have a rare disease with name that sounds made up. I have a disease with no known cause and no known cure. My disease is even invisible to much of the medical community. I have a largely misunderstood disease.

I am what a person with an invisible illness looks like. I am alone in a special kind of hell, fighting for a normal life. You think I have one because you cannot see the war that rages under the surface of the exterior of who I am. I don’t expect you to know my pain.

I am an isolated warrior. I fight alone.