Just when you thought you were going to get a week off from designated weeks, along comes "National Invisible Illness Awareness Week" September 8-14. Now this is not an "official" awareness week, as in one designated by an Act of Congress, but it is being honored by many online communities and even has its own blog at http://www.invisibleillnessblog.org/ . Sponsored by Rest Ministries, a large Christian organization which serves the chronically ill, the week is focused on highlighting the needs of people with chronic illness.
So-called invisible illnesses include diabetes, heart disease, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and certainly MCS. The invisible illness blog has an article today listing twenty things church members can do to help people with chronic illness. A couple of the things on the list are, "Don't tell me how great I look, when I know I look lousy," and "Don't tell me that if I had enough faith or prayed hard enough my illness would go away." Another one I would add is, "Don't tell me about your Great Aunt Mable who had the same thing and cured it by waving feathers over her head every third Tuesday at 3:00 am."
Lisa Copen, who started National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week in 2002, made the following statement:
"Though there are hundreds of illnesses represented, and large differences in symptoms and pain levels, none of that matters more than feeling like someone understands you. When our best friends and family members are skeptical about our disease, it can be that last straw that sets us off into a spiraling depression."
During this week in September, twenty telephone seminars will be held on applicable topics, and guest bloggers will write articles as well. In Copen's words, "We plan to unite the millions of people who live with chronic pain and illness by offering an oasis of hope and understanding, as well as helpful information and practical tools to live the best life possible."
So, the second week of September, be more aware and not so invisible.