Placing invisible illnesses in the spotlight

by CherryBlossom on March 30, 2016 - 8:14pm

Milly Banks is 23 years old and has been living with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Fribomyaglia, two invisible illnesses, for 14 years now. These diseases cause her “debilitating fatigue, painful joints and chronic headaches”. It took ten years before the doctors officially diagnosed these illnesses. It was particularly difficult for Milly since she did not know what was going on with her.

During the immense period of time where her diseases where not officially recognised, Milly had difficulty convincing others that she was truly sick. “[S]he is fed-up with people who do not believe she is unwell, because there are no visible symptoms.”

It was particularly difficult at school. She says having had “detentions at school for being ill as they didn't believe I was unwell”. Despite the dilemma, Milly reached University.

When Milly is not working as a gallery assistant, she writes in a blog and volunteers for an organisation, helping children with disabilities through art.

She found a passion for photography and wishes to use her art as a medium of awareness for invisible illnesses. “With the charity Fixers, Milly is holding an exhibition showing photos of young people with invisible illnesses, who explain their condition in captions below. Her idea is to show that not all disabilities can be seen.”

Here is the link to a preview of Milly’s exhibition.

Fixer is a UK charity that helps youth “by providing them with resources to help them campaign on issues they feel strongly about.”

Across the world many people are suffering from Invisible illnesses and are tired of being invisible and misunderstood. Annually, in September these people have the chance to publically tell their stories and raise awareness of their conditions by the use of media during Invisible Illness Awareness Week. The link below leads to an article written by Lisa Copen, the Founder of National Invisible Chronic illness Awareness Week in which she explains what invisible illnesses are and provides all the media links, web, Facebook, twitter for the invisible awareness week.


Work cited

Jenkins, Robin.  “Cheltenham woman highlights 'invisible' illnesses through photography exhibition”.  Gloucestershire Echo. March 30, 2016. Web.