From the 9th till 15th September 2013, it is 'National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week'. You might not have heard of this before, and may well be asking what is an "invisible illness"?
Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered who on earth is staring back at you? Parkinson's is slowly stealing away my smile and expression. If I were a poker player, this would give me a distinct advantage, but other than that, it's very difficult for others to know what I am thinking.
A young child who is chronically ill or disabled in some way, weak and fragile, may easily fall victim to sexual abuse. Unfortunately a child whether physically or mentally handicapped can be at high risk; not understanding and often unable to communicate what is actually happening to them.
Let's be brutally honest; becoming a caregiver is without doubt a job nobody in their right mind asks for, wants or expects. Suddenly a person can find themselves in the position of having to take care of an ageing parent or spouse. The hours are long; constant tiresome challenges, no vacation, it is a 24/7 job.
Having a very pale complexion, I often resemble a ghost, and that's on a good day! When I'm having a bad day, I am so white, like a chameleon I blend in with the walls. I've never been one for wearing make-up, so had much to learn.
All chronic diseases have various elements, but one thing they all share in common is the emotional and mental health aspect which often gets overlooked, especially when physical symptoms of chronic disease can be so disturbing and distinctly visual.
I write with stark raw honesty and humour about living with chronic disease and was astonished at the heart-warming reception my little book with its big message received. I quickly realised that fellow sufferers and caregivers related to my poems, knowing they are not alone in their daily struggles.