The underrepresented group I have chosen for this is people with invisible illnesses. An invisible illness can be physical or psychological, but you can’t see it, all you can maybe see are the symptoms of how it is affecting the person.

I chose to try and create an artefact representing this because there have been many movements on this situation, but it is still a problem. The governments scheme to review people on benefits and decide whether they are fit for work has seen many people unfit for it due to there illness forced back into a situation that could cause considerable damage to their health because ‘they look ok’.

I would like to point out, that my own, personal experiences with my anxiety disorder have rarely been negative. I was in counselling and when that wasn’t helping on its own I was put on medication by a very understanding and considerate doctor.

But, just because I haven’t had problems, doesn’t mean other people haven’t either. And the lack of understanding in society due to lack of media coverage or misrepresentation in tv shows still causes problems for many people every day.

I have tried to create images based on my personal experiences, and those of people I have spoken to this about. The writing below each image is from what I have heard people say/ experienced.

1

Though the medication can help, and even be a lifesaver, to often it is just thrown at people by some doctors without first offering other things such as counselling. Counselling takes time and money on the NHS, it’s much cheaper to give someone drugs to make it go away. But for some people they are just not the right option.

This is becoming rarer, but the medication can still cause problems even for those who need it. It can make you feel like there are two of you. And even if you are happy on the medication and hate the other version of you off it, it can still play on your mind the idea that this you on medication might not be the real you, and at any point you could regress back.

2

There is this popular theory in society that believes a lot of people claim to have a mental disorder for attention. Though this is in some cases true, like all things, it has caused serious damage and problems for those with actual invisible illnesses.

If you tell someone about it, they might believe you are nothing but a liar seeking attention. But if you don’t have anyone to confide in? You can feel trapped, without a voice, out of fear for being persecuted for having an invisible illness based purely around the premise that they believe you don’t. And it’s hardly easy to prove to people otherwise. If you explain to somebody and say for instance ‘the doctor has diagnosed me and prescribed me medication to help’, it reinforces in peoples mind the belief that doctors just throw drugs at anybody, and they won’t believe you are telling the truth.

3

Because people can’t see your problem, they don’t believe it is really there. They think you just need to ‘cheer up’, or ‘get over it’. Some people, even with evidence right there for them to see, seem to WANT to believe it is not there, and purposely blind themselves.

4

Sometimes, with and invisible illness, you just want people to be able to see it. You wish that it would cause physical damage just so people could see and understand that not only is it real, but the pain it causes as well.

5

You decide it’s better to be quiet. Even if those people believe you, they might treat you differently because of it. You don’t want to hurt your family by them knowing, you don’t want them to over worried or be ashamed. You decide you can handle it yourself. You struggle on through situations you should not be in or can’t handle because you don’t want to say it out loud and seem weak.

This is one of the worse things that can happen to people, as they become silenced by the society they want to be a part of. They regress, shy away from people, and become locked in their own minds.

Relevant pages:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2013/may/20/students-stay-silent-about-mental-health-problems

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/colin-brewer-councillor-new-sick-1887780

http://www.health4work.nhs.uk/blog/2011/11/chronic-disease-easy-to-spot/

http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2013/01/30/fury-as-benefits-bullies-dwp-force-50000-disabled-scots-to-go-back-to-work/

http://www.nikkivicious.com/blog/30-things-about-my-invisible-illness-you-didnt-know/

http://invisibleillnessweek.com/

http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/wpress/articles/written-by-christine/30_things/

http://chronicfatigue.about.com/b/2012/09/17/things-people-with-invisible-illness-dont-want-to-hear.htm

http://www.disabled-world.com/disability/types/invisible/

http://www.socialworktoday.com/archive/novdec2007p18.shtml

http://www.chronicinvisibleillness.com/

http://www.troymedia.com/2012/10/13/facebook-post-about-invisible-illness-aggravating/

http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/wpress/tag/media/

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