Invisible Illness Bingo.

I’ve posted before on my experience with invisible disability, and linked to amandaw on the “But you don’t look sick!” phenomenon. And for further background, everyone should read the “Open Letter to Those Without CFS/Fibro” at Not Done Living.

Now Annaham at Hamblog has come out with the Invisible Illness Bingo card, v. 1.0. “But you don’t look sick!” features, as does “Lucky! You get to stay in bed all day!” and “But I went through hard times too, and I managed just fine. Let’s talk about what a great person I am.”

Anyone who has experienced chronic illness is likely to recognise a few of these. (Perhaps you’d like to punch a wall or two.) If you haven’t had the pleasure of a debilitating but invisible illness, you might still recognise a few of these as having flitted through your head (or even emerged from your mouth) in the past when confronted with the frustrating reality of chronic illness in others. Perhaps when they’re all down on a card like this, we can all recognise these comments for what they are, and for what they do to people on the sharp end.

Categories: health, Meta

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6 replies

  1. Reminds me that I never told you of a conversation where I mentioned the blog etc and got asked a lot of questions and your CFS came up: I got a close cousin of the “If I haven’t heard of it, then it doesn’t exist” square.
    ”But if they don’t have any treatments for it, then it is all in the head, isn’t it?”
    I managed to not shriek and pointed out that there are measurable abnormalities found on diagnostic tests. This was said by an otherwise intelligent person, (admittedly with no science education beyond high school) and I was surprised by the level of magical thinking about medical procedures it revealed.

  2. How on earth did you manage not to shriek? I guess, according to this cousin, people with terminal cancer or progressive multiple sclerosis or end-stage AIDS just have an attitude problem?


  3. The person wasn’t actually a cousin, I thought the argument was a cousin of the bingo square.
    Sie actually saw the light dawn halfway through my statement about measurable abnormalities, so I think it was more a half-arsed foot-in-mouth moment than a true reflection of hir thinking. Still, sie had to be goaded into thinking it through.

  4. I cannae read, never mind me. I blame having half my skull full of pus under pressure. Apparently there’s no cure for that either, so I guess it doesn’t exist.

  5. Hey, thanks for the link! 😀


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