“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
The only way to change societal misconceptions of invisible illness and provide support for those living with hidden, chronic illness is by making invisible illness a part of everyday conversation.
Through awareness and support, InvisAbilities’ activities encourage dialogue of invisible illness, thus helping to create a more inclusive community. Advocacy has made a lasting impact on how individuals view hidden, chronic illness. Below are a few examples of the extremely encouraging and inspiring emails we receive.
**Due to the sensitive nature of invisible illness, names have been changed.
I am a first year Arts and Science student, and I was at the [Queen’s University] Common Ground Café this evening, for the guest speaker. Like the young woman from the audience who shared with the crowd that her eyes have been opened, I think my own have been opened just a little bit wider than they once were too, and in such a great way. I do admit, I judge.
The realm of invisible illness is something that I knew I was aware of, more so now, but I never really gave it a second thought only because I never really thought I had to, I think. I knew that there were those who were ill, who both did and did not show it, but I never really knew the ones who weren’t ill; I just knew they existed, somewhere. You have enlightened me with your initiative to raise awareness and to really get people to genuinely care about invisAbilities,
I myself have not been diagnosed with an illness, but would really love working with those who do, and even with those who do not. I would like to promote the group, and essentially, I am willing to help out wherever possible and needed.
I’m just writing to learn more about InvisAbilities… as someone who’s dealt with chronic migraines, I really appreciate you creating something like this.
Also, I got your email address from the Kingston EMC article, and these couple of lines quite got to me…
“Harmgardt said that in general people don’t expect young adults to suffer from a chronic illness. Furthermore, she noted that for people to acknowledge you’re sick, they expect you to look sick.”
Yes, this, exactly. It’s as if being young means that you’re immnue to chronic illness, and as if one’s lack of visible symptoms automatically negates the seriousness of what one is going through… which is just so wrong, on so many levels, and if one of the main goals of InvisAbilities is public education, that’s fantastic.
Thanks again for creating this!
My name is Sarah and I work at ASUS (Queen’s University Arts&Science Undergraduate Society). I just happened to notice someone on Facebook become a fan of something called “InvisAbilities” which prompted me to click on the link. I have just read your amazing story about all that you have been through with your ‘nameless’ condition and I have to admit your article made me cry.
I often wish I had a cast or a scar so that people (even family) could see an outward sign of something wrong. The horrible pain, exhaustion, short-term memory loss, swelling etc. are invisible and we as sufferers tend to bear it alone.
I am not sure why I am writing to you but it is very important to me that you know how you have affected me. I applaud all that you are doing and want you to know that your words have impacted me. Even by means of the internet I feel as though I have found a new friend who really gets it.
Thank you Julie.
As an individual born with a chronic condition, I hope to advocate for awareness around invisAbilities/invisible conditions during my career as a physician. I understand how difficult it can be for a health care provider when they can’t see the disease or pain a person is going through or when they can understand how the condition affects a person’s daily living.
Just checked out the website. It’s fabulous. I love the awareness campaign. Look forward to the “You Don’t Look Sick” awareness event.
Queen’s University, School of Medicine
My name is Jess, I am a grad student researching the lived experiences of young people with IBD. I also have Crohn’s disease.
I am so appreciative that you have started this club. I have suffered with an invisible illness for years with little community acknowledgment or support.
Best and be well,
I saw the article in the Queen’s Journal about InvisAbilities, and I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate this initiative to bring attention to invisible disabilities. I myself am a type 1 diabetic and face many of the challenges that you were speaking of. While I am open about my condition, and will educate my friends about it, it continues to be something that I suffer with alone.
I would be interested in learning more about the program, and becoming involved. I’m in third year Politics major and have only met a very limited number of people who are also dealing with a hidden, chronic illness. I would really enjoy meeting more people with similar conditions, and being involved in promoting awareness.
I was at the guest speaking event and I have since been on your Facebook page and blog.
I just wanted to let you know that I think it’s great that such a club exists on campus! I guess we all know how isolating it can be dealing with a hidden chronic illness, so it’s great that something like InvisAbilities exists.