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  • Writer's pictureMeghan McGee




















This is how I have felt for the past 6 years. I have been surviving. Trying to get through each day so that I could just get through the week and then the month. I’d been living half a life. Hoping I would wake up one day and things would be better. No doubt, there were some great days and I shared laughs and smiles. But 90% of those days were spent feeling sorry for myself, and feeling like I was actually dying. It was hard to explain it to someone who didn’t see me every day, someone who wasn’t at ground zero with me. It was hard to act like I had my life all together, when in reality I was just trying to get out of bed each day. So many days were spent in excruciating pain. My joints hurt. I constantly had shooting pains down my legs, and sleeping wasn't even an option. My back was so tight and painful. I could hardly move my neck to check the lane beside me when I drove. My stomach hurt no matter what I ate, and wearing jeans? Are you kidding me? I felt like I always had to have an excuse or explain myself.

Because I didn’t look sick.

What would people think? Would they think I’m faking it? Would they not want to be my friend anymore because I’m such a drag to be around? There were times where I felt like I was dying; yet I looked fine on the outside. A little tired, but basically the same. It was AWFUL. I’d never felt so alone and depressed in my life. There were times I went places, but regretted every second of it because I was in so much pain. It was hard to turn down people I cared about. I didn't want them to feel sorry for me or think I was weak so I never said anything. I felt so defeated and misunderstood. How could Meghan, a three-sport athlete in high school not be able to play sports anymore or stay out late at night? I had made every excuse in the book and was tired of being a “loser.” No one actually said that to my face, but I sure felt like one.

Because I didn’t look sick.

And don't even get me started on going to doctor appointments. I’d always be given a look like why are you here you look very healthy. Appointment after appointment I would be told that same thing because my labs came back “normal.” I was so discouraged and ready to give up. I had to stand up for myself and somehow prove to them that I was actually in fact sick. It was so ridiculous that I had to put on a “show” to make them believe me.

Because I didn’t look sick.

Invisible illness is no joke. It is a daily struggle and far from easy. I can't tell you how many times I went out with friends and ended up leaving early because I just couldn’t do it anymore. I wish we (as a society) didn’t focus on what people looked like from the outside. Get to know someone before passing judgment. Listen to what they are going through. Give them grace. You might not totally understand, but at least you are aware of it. What I’ve found is that chronic illness sufferers are the best actors. I don't know how many times I went somewhere and kept a straight face while trying so hard not to scream out in pain. Even if someone might not “look sick,” it doesn't mean they aren't dealing with an internal battle.

To my fellow chronic illness warriors,

I see you.

I hear you.

I am here for you.

I care about you and your story.

If you are struggling and feel invisible, you are not alone. It’s easy to feel small and insignificant when you can’t control what’s going on in your body. It’s easy to get caught up in playing victim and silencing your voice.

But I urge you to

Keep fighting.

Stand up for yourself.

Educate others.

Do what you need to do to guard your health, mind and body, and fight the good fight.

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