Healthy Living

Lupus: What It Means to Live With an Invisible Disease

Lupus: What It Means to Live With an Invisible Disease

Life with a chronic illness like lupus can be frustrating in several ways, especially since most of the physical pain felt by the patient is not visible for others to see. 

For some who are living with conditions like lupus, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and other types of pain classified as invisible illnesses, explained that what they are experiencing is actually another problem or side effect of their condition. People who find themselves with lupus have to put up with it day in and day out.

While dealing with their own painful symptoms, patients may also face skepticism from their friends, coworkers, strangers, and even their family who do not understand their disease.

Challenges commonly experienced by individuals living with invisible illnesses

A patient doesn’t appear sick

Of course, no one wants to look sick, but appearing as a healthy individual when one’s body is in great pain can pose some challenges. This can be true especially when that person is required to explain the illness to someone who is unfamiliar with it. In many cases, people will tell the patient that he doesn’t look sick. But, what appears on the outside does not often mirror what is going on inside.

In simple terms, people living with invisible illnesses experience many challenges. Some may not talk about the challenges they have on a daily basis, but that doesn't mean that they're not suffering from any pain. However, sometimes patients do not experience these challenges. To be clear, the surroundings of a patient can be a determining factor of the severity of their symptoms.

Individuals with invisible illnesses should not worry about what other people think about them. They should always try to do what is good for themselves. This is one of best ways to avoid the challenges that come with having an illness with invisible symptoms. Results of a study done by Margaret Cunningham and her friends in the year 2006 indicate that people living with invisible illnesses should be provided with a better support even if they appear not to be sick.

Ewo Harrell’s Fight Against Lupus: What She Feels and How She Handles This Invisible Illness

28-year old Ewo Harrell has lived with lupus for many years. Currently, she is in her final year of grad school at Brown University. Her illness made her develop an interest in pursuing a master’s degree in public health in order to become heavily involved with the National Kidney Foundation, as well as The Lupus Foundation of America.

In an interview, Ewo recalled how people laughed at her when she was diagnosed with severe constipation while in China. They told her that she suffered from severe constipation because she hardly drunk enough water. While at college in the U.S., she suffered from infections like Epstein Barr Virus, as well as upper respiratory infections, which she was told was common while in college