People with illnesses that aren’t easy to spot are used to hearing one phrase, over and over: “You don’t look sick!” Which may be said with the best of intentions but doesn’t make them feel any better — just ask Sam Cleasby.
“I have Ulcerative Colitis, an illness that causes ulcers in the colon, bleeding, diarrhoea, fatigue, joint pain, skin problems, eye problems and so much more,” writes Cleasby in the Metro. “I have had three surgeries to remove my colon and live on a whole bag full of medication just to get through each day. Yet people tell me that I don’t look sick.”
“It is time we talk about how some people have illnesses and disabilities that can’t be seen easily, but it doesn’t make them any less real,” said Cleasby and she’s shared a video to help raise awareness.
Cleasby explains that explaining just how ill she is can be difficult, embarrassing and “socially limiting” because it’s not apparent just by looking at her that she has a serious disease.
She reveals that the difficulty in speaking out often causes sufferers to become socially isolated and withdraw from family and friends.
Cleasby’s powerful, silent video is one everybody who suffers from an “invisible” illness will be able to relate to. And one that everybody else should watch and learn an important lesson: just because someone doesn’t look sick, doesn’t mean they aren’t.
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