invisible illness

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Why I’ve Never Told Anyone at Work About My Chronic Pain

This article by AnnaMarie Houlis first appeared on Fairygodboss and  has been republished with permission.


Chronic pain affects anywhere from 11% to 40% of people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, in 2016, an estimated 20.4% of U.S. adults had coped with chronic pain, and 8% of U.S. adults had high-impact chronic pain. 

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Image credit: Stacey Rozells via Unsplash

Dating With An Invisible Illness Helped Me Learn To Love My Body

I was so busy making sure that I had a handle on my pain that I didn’t have any extra energy to even consider dating. Pain has a way of narrowing one’s focus, and I was focused on how to handle and decrease my pain — not dating, not even looking.

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I took for granted the effort of something so seemingly common. I had survived a serious illness. Shouldn’t everything be easy forever after?

No Straight Lines: The Path Of Living With Chronic Illness

Chronic illness and injury has taught me — is still teaching me — patience. These days are not a consolation prize for what I didn’t win, for where I didn’t or couldn’t succeed, for a better life I might have had if only…They are my life.

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Whenever a thought pops up into my mind, I stop, assess it, and then talk it off its ledge. Imagine doing this 50 times a day — it gets tiring.

The Invisible Life Of Having High-Functioning Anxiety 

Anxiety disorders — PTSD, OCD, and Panic Disorder, to name a few — are the most common mental illnesses in the United States, with about 18% of the population struggling with one. No one wants to be put on blast for their weaknesses or wiring issues. I just wish there was a way to better understand the silent majority — the people who suffer every day.

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Some people just don't get it.

How An Invisible Illness Gives Me Thin Privilege

I want to talk about invisible illness. I want to talk about thin privilege. I want to talk about chronic illness and self-image and society’s perceptions and how all of these things intersect.

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