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The truth of the matter is that there are as many different types of pain, as there are theories about what good “pain management” should entail.

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia over 10 years ago, and with an “auto-immune disease of unknown etiology” roughly three years ago, which means that I’m intimately acquainted with what it means to live with chronic pain and fatigue.

Usually, pain is our body’s way of warning us that something is wrong,犀利士
and we need to take action to “fix” whatever is wrong – whether injury or disease. In this case, pain is definitely our friend, because it prevents us from further injuring ourselves and / or prompts us to get medical attention.

In the case of a disorder like Fibromyalgia however, the pain is like a constant “false alarm” because it’s not warning us about anything we need to action.

There is also psychological pain, which is one of the toughest types of pain to overcome.

Recently I was part of a discussion regarding whether “invisible” illnesses can be considered disabilities – specifically with regard to parking in a parking bay reserved for people with disabilities, or being allowed to “cut in line” due to being unable to stand for long periods.

An example that clearly illustrated this point is the following: A person parked in a parking bay for disabled people (let’s call her “Eve”). A stranger berated her for doing so. At the end of the tirade “Eve” pulled up her trouser leg to expose her artificial limb. If she’d been on a wheelchair people would have treated her very differently, but (because she “looked normal”) a stranger jumped to the wrong conclusion.

There are literally hundreds of diseases and disorders (both physical and psychological) that can’t be seen from the outside. Sadly, it seems that only people who have experienced, or are experiencing, living with a particular issue (like Fibromyalgia and Depression, just to cite two common examples) understand what a struggle it is to do all the things that healthy people take for granted.

Our greatest challenge as caring human beings is to stop judging people by their appearance. For example, not all obese people are over-eaters, sometimes it’s the medication they’re on that makes them put on weight, and makes it extremely difficult for them to lose it again.

The bottom line is that a very large number of human beings worldwide are not only suffering because of their invisible diseases or disorders, but are also constantly hurt by other people’s attitudes towards them.

I wrote this post in the hope that it might lead some of you to stop jumping to conclusions, and to take the time to really get to know your fellow human beings.

Do you, or one of your loved ones, suffer from an “invisible illness”? How do you cope? What do you think could be done to help people with these challenges?
Your comments on this topic are very welcome.

Photo credit to (Creative Commons Licence)

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