I’m not sick. But I do live with another who has an invisible illness. As a care giver, I too suffer but not in the same way as my love who is stricken with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). It’s true that I have no worry of losing the use of my abilities, will have the use of my eyesight for as long as time or fate allows, I will not end up in a wheelchair unless I have an accident. But living with an “invisible illness” does not just affect those with the disease. It affects those of us who love the afflicted also. Am I complaining? No. Am I sorry or remorseful? No. Would I ever change anything? No. But it does take an individual with a certain fortitude to become a care giver. It’s hard. In my case, my significant other takes a shot 3 times a week. The medicine is injected and she cannot bear to give herself the shots. So I do. I cause the burning, searing pain that shoots into her body when I press the button on the injector. I torture the woman I love in hope that the somewhat experimental treatment will slow the disease. I have threatened to take the shot myself to get her to take it. It is not pleasant, I understand, but for the little ray of hope, I do this.
And what of my employer? When I receive a call one day while at work that she had lost her sight, I ran from the office and sped away from work to take her to the neurologist for an emergency session. What do I get? An email from my boss asking if I had come in at 4:30 a.m. or if I was leaving at 3 p.m. to get a bite to eat since I must be staying until 5:30 p.m. Now, I must admit I was a little upset by this, so responded accordingly explaining the situation and what had happened (I believe that time it was optical neuritis) and apologized for not explaing myself before leaving. Do I get an apology? No. Do I get a “is everything okay?”? No. I get nothing. Probably disbelief but it matters not to me. I was doing what needed to be done as my beloved’s care giver. No questions, no skepticism, no hesitation.
Is living with someone who has an invisible illness hard? At times. Is being a care giver difficult? Yes. Is it worth it? If you have to ask that, then you aren’t right to be a care giver.