Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Who Hates to Hear They Look Great?

This is a great article, thanks to Rest Ministries for passing it on.

Be Well,

Chronique Couture

Who Hates to Hear They Look Great? Over Half of the Chronically Ill!

SAN DIEGO – JULY 2007 — In a recent survey of 611 chronically ill
individuals, done by the National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week committee, 53.27% of the respondents said that the most frustrating or annoying comment people make about their illness is “But you look so good!”
“Although telling someone they look good is often seen as a compliment,” says Lisa Copen, founder of National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week “it feels like an invalidation of the physical pain or seriousness of one’s illness and the suffering they cope with daily.”

According to Copen, author of “Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to
Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend,”
statistics show that nearly 1 in 2
people in the USA have a chronic condition and 96% of it is invisible.

National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week held September 10-16 for
2007, is an outreach to increase awareness that living with an invisible illness
can be emotional challenge—as well as physical—and that more people than we
would imagine are suffering silently.

Respondents answered the survey at http://www.invisibleillness.com/ and
reported the following other annoying comments people tend to make:

* “Your illness is caused by stress.” (14.22%)

* “If you stopped thinking about it and went back to work…” (12.42%)

* “You can’t be in that much pain. Maybe you just want attention.” (10.95%)

* “Just pray harder.” (9.15%)

Carmen Leal, creator of SomeOne Cares Christian Caregiver Conference and author of The Twenty-Third Psalm for Caregivers says, “When someone appears physically
normal people are less likely to show understanding and compassion. National
Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is an important opportunity to help
families, businesses, churches, and communities understand that conditions
without an outward sign are just as debilitating as other more visible illnesses
and disabilities.”

Copen, 38, who has live with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia for fifteen years agrees. “We know that 75% of marriages impacted by illness end in divorce and 70% of suicides have uncontrollable physical pain as a factor.* There are hundreds of invisible illness such as diabetes, cancer, myasthenia gravis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and Crohn’s disease as well as mental illness and conditions such as bulimia or migraines. Regardless of one’s illness or level of pain, feeling isolated and misunderstood can be emotionally devastating. We are each responsible for learning how to effectively show compassion and understanding to those we can about, including the chronically ill.”

National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week’s web site has articles, resources and will feature twenty online seminars during Sept 10-14, 2007. Guests include Maureen Pratt, author of “Peace in the Storm: Meditations on Chronic Pain and Illness” and Jenni Prokopy, founder of ChronicBabe.com. Outreach
materials include t-shirts, silicone awareness bracelets and rack cards,
appropriate for support groups or the work place state what to say and not say
to a chronically ill person.

The theme for 2007’s invisible illness week
campaign is “Living with invisible illness is a roller coaster. Help a friend
hold on!”
For more information see http://www.invisibleillness.com/or
call 888-651-7378. National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is
sponsored by Rest Ministries,
http://www.restministries.org/, a
Christian organization that serves the chronically ill and HopeKeepers Magazine.
* Sources: National Health Interview Survey /
Mackenzie TB, Popkin MK: "Suicide in the medical patient.". Intl J Psych in Med
17:3-22, 1987
# # #
Nearly 1 in 2 people in the USA has a
chronic condition and 96% of it is invisible. A new survey reveals that over
half of the chronically ill get annoyed when someone says, "You look so good!”
because it invalidates their illness and suffering. National Invisible Chronic
Illness Awareness Week strives to create awareness for invisible illness.

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