Invisible disabilities 

A whole army of suffering patients that often go under treated. The Invisible Disabilities Association [] defines an invisible disability as follows:

“symptoms such as debilitating pain, fatigue, dizziness, cognitive dysfunctions, brain injuries, learning differences and mental health disorders, as well as hearing and vision impairments.  These are not always obvious to the onlooker, but can sometimes or always limit daily activities, range from mild challenges to severe limitations and vary from person to person.”

Patients who suffer with these impairments often hear the cringeworthy statement “but you look good” which can add to the anxiety or depression because others offer no empathy or understanding.  An individual with a visible challenge  may be offered special accommodation by employers where a sufferer of an invisible disability will be judged as lazy or a whiner


Imagine telling a paralyzed individual to stop being lazy and get up and walk!!  This is essentially what some who suffer with invisible disabilities are subjected to when their limitations are considered fake or “all in their head”.  So before we judge try to imagine what life is like for those whose suffering is called into question on a daily basis.  Statements like “your pain is way out of proportion for your injury” or ” you shouldn’t be having those symptoms” are not useful & do not contribute to a trusting relationship between patient and provider.  The patient is thinking “then please tell my body that”!!!  Treating patients this way is  not compassionate and shouldn’t be used by empathetic providers.

Author: Nurse Meesh

I am a disabled nurse practitioner, mom, wife and woman.

2 thoughts on “Invisible disabilities ”

  1. Wow, very well written and so true! As someone who has been diagnosed with Systemic Lupus a disease that is not often manifested in an outward appearance, I can definitely empathize with the thoughts written here. Thank you Nursemeesh for telling the rest of the world!!


  2. Very nice Meesh. I work with people who need to go out sick due to serious health conditions and sometimes it seems like some of them are making it up but based on the information you just gave I will look at them differently. Thanks


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