Living With an Invisible Illness

Photo credit: Brickolaje on / CC BY-NC

I can only speak for myself and my own illnesses (bipolar, anxiety), but I think many can relate to having an invisible illness. “But you seem fine.” “You don’t seem depressed.” I get this a lot, especially the latter.

Well, I am depressed. It’s just that my affect is that of a person who is emotionally stable rather than hurting inside. Psychiatrist #3, who I saw the longest, noticed this and said that if he didn’t know me as a patient, he would never guess that I was depressed (at the time).

It’s not a mask that I put on. When I’m around people, I usually enjoy being with them and am able to converse and have a genuinely good time. And that may be when I hear things like, “You don’t seem depressed.” What they don’t know is how much effort it took for me not to cancel; the effort it took to get in the shower, or at the very least, get dressed.

Please don’t say things like this to people you know who have an invisible illness. It’s invalidating.

Have you ever experienced, the “But you look fine” phenomenon?

Daily Prompt: Invisible

11 thoughts on “Living With an Invisible Illness

  1. It is so true Barb. People don’t see the struggles. I think I am going to write a post on today’s word prompt as well. It is an i portant issue. How many times do we hear in the news, “I cant believe that happened. They seemed like such nice people!” I quite often wonder, when I meet people who seem so, so, happy if they have an underlying illnes of depression, especially since Robin William’s committed suicide. I dont stand there and wonder that through the whole conversation, but I secretly wonder, Is she really that happy? Perhaps when my other self is out eorking, socializing people wonder that about me too.

  2. Oh Barb, you are surely not alone. I suffer from PTSD with Dissociative Traits, Chronic Depression and Severe Anxiety. We put on the face because we are strong, and during times where we break, that is not weakness, I see it as letting what is needed go so you can continue the journey. God Bless you and your strength. Hugs! We need more people like you speaking out for mental wellness and invisible illness because the knowledge in the public is next to none. Keep it up girlie!

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