Invisible Illness

Millions of women who look perfectly healthy on the outside are grappling with chronic conditions that make normal life anything but. They have what’s been dubbed an invisible illness, because their struggles go unseen. Here are their stories.

I Hid My Genetic Disorder for Years—Until Doctors Found a Golf Ball-Size Cyst in My Lung

All her life, Harper Spero, 35, has been living with a rare, incurable syndrome that affects her immune system. But it wasn't until she underwent life-threatening surgery in her late 20s that she began facing the challenges of this invisible illness.
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Post-Concussion Syndrome Makes It Hard for Me to Function—Here's What It's Like

After an accidental hit to the head, Kate Anderson, 37, was diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury, which led to post-concussion syndrome. A year later, day-to-day life with this isolating disorder remains a challenge.
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I'm a 22-Year-Old With Fibromyalgia—and Some Days I Wish I Could Detach Myself From My Body

After years of debilitating pain, Bel Banta was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a disorder that's not well understood by doctors. Here, she shares what it's like to be 22 years old and living with episodes of chronic pain few people are aware of.
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What It's Like to Live With Bipolar Disorder—a Mental Health Condition No One Can See

Mackenzie Driscoll, 26, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 6 years ago. This is how she's learned to manage work, social situations, and daily life with an illness that's not just invisible but also carries a stigma.
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More Invisible Illness

Millions of Women are Living With 'Invisible Illnesses': Here's What That Means

Millions of women who look perfectly healthy on the outside are grappling with chronic conditions that make “normal” life anything but. This is what it’s really like to have an invisible illness.
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Everyone Thinks I'm the Picture of Health—but Every Day I Struggle With Ulcerative Colitis

After she was diagnosed with this inflammatory bowel disease, Holly Schmidt had to adjust to her new normal of battling an invisible illness. Here's what that means, and what daily life is like.