Proving Your Illness to Society

16 years of age, diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at 14. I cannot believe how young I am myself to have this disease, let alone many other young adults in this world. As all of us with Rheumatoid Arthrits know, it's an exhausting and frustrating illness to say the least. Although having RA at any stage in your life is awful, I feel like young adults with this illness do not get enough recognition from those around us. I mean it's extremely hard having to be a normal teenager while also having an illness like RA. Having to hide the pain everyday just to seem normal to your peers and teachers who do not make it easy on you either. I find once people discover you have a serious illness they just treat you badly. I myself lost many friends shortly after my diagnosis, based on the simple fact that it was believed by those so called friends that I was lying. I know right, who would possibly want to lie about something as serious as this!! The same goes for my teachers. These teachers of mine past and present who do not believe I have RA. No matter how many doctors certificates or phone calls my parents had to make to the school, I was still questioned and judged. It's simply ridiculous and disgusts me that I had to look very very ill in order for these people to believe I actually had something wrong with me! I can't believe it!! That is the thing with invisible illnesses like RA, you may look well on the outside but you feel anything but well on the inside, yet you get judged and made to feel like you have to prove yourself to so many people. It really saddens me that a person has to have a cane or crutches or even be in a wheel chair for people to believe that they are truly sick. Invisible illnesses desperately need more awareness and recognition. There are just too many of us that are suffering in silence and I feel it's time that it needs to change.

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