Invisible Illness Awareness Week

This week marks a very special week for me. I have been a part of Invisible Illness Awareness week for a number of years now. Sept. 10-16 is Invisible Illness Awareness Week.

There are a number of terrific speakers at this year’s virtual conference. You can check out the schedule here:  CLICK

Hearing loss and Meniere’s disease are both invisible. I have struggled both successfully and unsuccessfully through the years in living with these. Those who do so live with a fair amount of frustration and stresses simply because what they deal with IS INVISIBLE. For me, one of the most frustrating things is that my symptoms may vary. To some, this makes me lack credibility at times. For example, I “hear again” with a cochlear implant and BTE hearing aid. I may hear you just fine in a quiet environment and one-on-one. However, if my tinnitus is roaring or we are in a noisy environment, my primary response may be “Huh?“.

I walk, jog, and can even RUN (believe it or not) on sunny days. However, the weather is a real trigger for my own Meniere’s disease. I may be out-walking my assistance dog one day, and the next have her close and wobble like an intoxicated person. For those who do not understand that symptoms may vary, and may fluctuate, it may seem as if I can’t make up my mind as to whether or not I live with a disability.

I have friends who have Fibromyalgia, Lymes, Multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and other various illness and disabilities. They will tell you that it can be frustrating, even emotionally debilitating, to have folks in their lives choose to scorn, disbelieve, or ignore their own invisible illnesses.

It takes courageous people to live with invisible illness. I hope you will go to IIA (CLICK HERE) and learn more about how you can get involved in helping to raise awareness in your own community. You may not live with invisible illness yourself, but all of us who live with it will tell you that our friends and family that support us are just as influential as we are ourselves – if not more so!

Denise Portis

© 2012 Personal Hearing Loss Journal

One thought on “Invisible Illness Awareness Week

  1. I can understand, I too have Meniere’s and being Deaf people don’t “see” them. I did not realize there was a whole week dedicated to Invisible Disabilities, but glad to learn there is.

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