Thursday, September 16, 2010
Invisible Illness Awareness & Being Geeky
This week is Invisible Illness Awareness Week. Invisible illnesses include a wide variety of disorders that most people probably do not sense that others have. If you can't tell someone is sick then your actions towards that person will assume that they are an able-bodied individual As you can imagine this could create a host of complications from thinking a person who is fatigued is "just as tired as everyone else" not knowing that the person is medically exhausted to not realizing that someone you see on a daily basis is constantly in pain.
What does this have to do with being geeky? Well, in my opinion the traditional geek hobbies of electronic gaming, table-top gaming, computing, and the many other awesome things geeks are involved in are the perfect outlet for those who have an invisible illness. Chances are you know or game with someone who is disabled openly and others that have a chronic disorder that you cannot sense like Arthritis, Lupus, Firbromyalgia, CFIDS, MS, Depression, Anxiety, and any of the other many disorders that can hide in plain sight.
Geeky hobbies, jobs, and entertainment are great opportunities for those who are limited in some way because by nature geeky stuff is adaptable. For example if a person suffered from too much pain or fatigue to play a console/computer game then he or she could always try a game of DnD played in a place with a couch and an understanding gaming group. In general technology is a natural connection to any type of illness because it can make more options possible for the person affected.
Finally, I would argue that if a person finds something that he or she really enjoys then there is the benefit of being distracted for a moment from what is going on in life. Some people might disagree with me and argue that "resorting to fantasy" is bad for a person who is suffering. I completely disagree. There is nothing that makes hobbies and entertainment any less real than whatever people think 'real' life is when they throw the term around. What we care about is always a part of our life, even if it isn't making us money or doing something that is typically considered 'practical'. Anything that adds to our life in a pleasant way is 'practical' .
What do you think? What other types of geeky activities do you think could help someone with a chronic illness?