Invisible illness is a challenge of empathy among the larger community.

Wes Campbell wrote:

“Hard to explain to someone who has no clue. Or doesn’t believe you. It’s a daily struggle being in pain or feeling sick on the inside while you look fine on the outside. Please put this as your status for at least 1 hour if you or someone you know has an invisible illness (Pancreatitis, Crohn’s, IBS, PTSD, Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Diabetes, LUPUS, Fibromyalgia, MS, ME, Arthritis, Cancer, …
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry.”

The above statement is very powerful!  The goal of PTSD awareness is a huge challenge.  Under 10 million Americans suffer from PTSD according to the latest statistics.  It is a large number but a small minority in the context of over 300 million USA population.  Since researching and writing my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, I have become highly sensitive to the countless others who have not had an opportunity to experience or know the symptoms of severe PTSD resulting from traumatic events i.e., combat and life after war.   When you can’t see it or experience the pain of another person’s hidden illness, it is virtually impossible to have any empathy or compassion.  I am encouraged with all the media coverage, including social media, providing exponentially more information on this subject.  It will take time, lots of time, but the meaningful work of PTSD awareness is critical and must continue with every means available.  Otherwise, the help and compassion from the larger community will be difficult to achieve.

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story 

1 thought on “Invisible illness is a challenge of empathy among the larger community.

  1. Dan and Elaina* ~

    Thank you, Steve, for what you are doing to help people become aware of the invisible injury of PTSD. Since both my husband and I have severe PTSD, we two are like the blind trying to lead the blind, sometimes, as we stumble along through life being dysfunctional together.

    The good part about it is that we understand each other, we don’t get upset and frustrated with each other for not being “normal.” But the bad part about it is that nobody is functioning very well much of the time! Then people look at us from the outside, they look at our dysfunctional life and treat us like we’re faking or lazy.

    We were even ostracized in a church we loved, when the people found out that my husband was on disability for his Vietnam Combat PTSD. It seemed like they thought you can’t be a true Christian and have PTSD! Christians can have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, cancer, they can need to wear hearing aids and glasses, but you must not be living right in the eyes of the Lord if you have a “mental illness” or a “mood disorder….” Where’s your faith, where’s your trust in God, etc. How can you have anxiety, depression, flashbacks, and anxiety attacks, if you are obeying the Biblical commands to “fear not” and to have joy in the Lord?

    When you can’t even find compassionate people in Church…it gets very lonely having PTSD!



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