Overcoming Challenges When Living with an Invisible Illness

What is an Invisible Illness?

An invisible illness shows no outward signs and cannot be recognised immediately. Someone with an invisible illness can look perfectly well. Hidden symptoms that aren’t obvious to others make it difficult for them to understand what might be wrong.invisible woman

Invisible illnesses span a wide range of mental and physical conditions, with varying severity. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Epilepsy
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Diabetes
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)

Challenges of Living with an Invisible Illness

There are a number of challenges to overcome when living with an invisible illness.

Many feel frustrated by a lack of understanding from others – particularly when it comes to colleagues, friends and family.

When others aren’t aware of your illness, it’s easy for them to view your behaviour unfavourably, not understanding how your condition affects you. Almost everyone with an invisible illness will have been told: ‘you don’t look ill’ at some point following their diagnosis.woman holding head

The hidden symptoms of invisible illnesses can flare-up without warning. This can cause feelings of guilt, especially when your illness means you have to take time off work or cancel plans.

If you’re living with an invisible illness, there are things that you can do to minimise the impact it has on your life.

1) Educate Others

Discuss your illness with friends and family so they’re aware that you may sometimes feel ill without looking it. Be honest about your hidden symptoms and what those close to you can do to help.

Some people with invisible illnesses don’t talk to their employers about their needs, fearing how this might affect their job. Don’t be afraid to discuss your illness with your employer – being happy at work is in everybody’s interest.

2) Widen Your Perspective

Ensuring that you have realistic expectations of how others can help will enable you to live freely and independently.woman jumping over stream

It’s important not to let your illness take over your life. Maintaining a positive mental attitude will help you manage the hidden symptoms associated with your condition and enjoy life. Explore what makes you happy, and how you can adjust your lifestyle to allow you to do it.

3) Seek Support

When you have an invisible illness, you can put a lot of pressure on yourself. Hiding your feelings can increase stress and anxiety, so it helps to find others going through similar experiences. Discuss your feelings online with groups such as CISFA UK, or attend a local support group. You can get practical advice and meet new friends who can help with your concerns.

Medical ID Jewellery

Living with an invisible illness often means that your symptoms can occur at any time. In an emergency situation, it can be difficult for others to understand what is causing your problems or how they can treat it.gold infomedic necklace

Our customisable medical ID jewellery presents a stylish and practical solution to this problem. We offer a range of designs in comfortable materials, including bracelets, wristbands and necklaces. Personalised engraving means your essential information is with you at all times. Medical ID jewellery is vital if you find yourself unable to communicate, and ensures treatment is provided quickly and effectively.

Ensure your vital information is with you at all times with our selection of engraveable medical ID jewellery. Available in a variety of designs and materials – including gold and sterling silver – you’ll find the perfect piece for you. Explore our range here.


The information in our blog articles is for personal use only and not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment plans. We are not medical health practitioners or mental health providers. If you’re worried about a potential medical condition, contact your GP or call an ambulance in an emergency situation.