Chronic Illness: Living Life As a Sick Person Who Doesn't Look Sick: How I Make It Work by Heather Holter

Chronic Illness: Living Life As a Sick Person Who Doesn't Look Sick: How I Make It Work

I have two invisible illnesses that affect my day-to-day life. Social anxiety and fibromyalgia. If I am not struggling mentally, it is likely I am struggling physically and vice versa. There are very few days I am not suffering from symptoms of one or both of my issues. It makes life hard, but also makes me realize my blessings when it is a good day.

Many people doubt if I am really sick, and others assume it must not be that bad because I do so much. I used to be very bothered that people just don't get it, but then I realized it doesn't matter if they get it or not. It is my issue to deal with and really makes no difference to my life and how I live it whether or not people understand my struggles.

How I do so much and make it through is out of necessity and has a lot to do with mindset. I try to only think of the task at hand and not the big long list of tasks ahead of me. I know if I thought that way I would be frozen with doubt over being able to complete all my tasks, and that I probably would not do any of it.

I also stopped telling people my struggles because sadly, if you don't look sick people doubt you, which is not helpful. Positive thinking and perseverance gets me through each day.

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Elisa Schmitz
"Positive thinking and perseverance gets me through each day." YES! Love this, Heather Holter ! You are so strong. Keep on being amazing. Thank you for all you share with us!
Tanya Kuzmanovic
great article, heather! the only way to reach "certain" people and get them to understand and relate to you - is through articles like this one!!!!
Katie Sloan
People can be so judgmental. Thank you for sharing this ~ many people will see this and realize they aren’t alone.
Joy Manuel
Thank you for sharing this, Heather. It's hard when it's an invisible illness. I also tend to overthink a lot, become anxious and am quite of an introvert. I'm sure these are not the same as what you go through but I can relate. I agree that sometimes, just taking it one step at a time, one task at a time and experimenting with saying 'yes' and pushing our boundaries little by little, really help.
It's nice to see myself in an article! I'll take your advice to heart! I'll try!
Shannon Richardson
I'm right there with you, Heather! Fibromyalgia, Ehlers-Danlos, and a bunch more. It is a struggle, isn't it? Thank you for writing. xoxo
Cynthia Miller
Dear Heather, thank you for this great, open, honest post. I am struck by your resilience and your mental positioning. I have a friend with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and she has been battling doubters for 25 years. While I will not presume to say I can understand what it is like to walk in your shoes, this post gives a lot of insight, and anyone who reads it will be a more understanding person. I have a similar situation in that my children were adopted at older ages, and for the first few years in particular, extremely well meaning people were judgmental about my parenting -- which often has to look different, when you are parenting older children with trauma history. I guess I too learned to ignore. Sometimes when you are focused on getting through the day with the very real battle you are facing, you don't have room to let the other judgements in. I'm going to go see what else you have posted and look forward to reading more. With appreciation, Cynthia
Heather Holter
Thank you for reading!

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