Invisible Illness Awareness Week: Just One invention

This is Invisible Illness Awareness week. The theme this year is Just One.  I’ve thought about Just One and what it means to me. My invisible illness is chronic pain. What Just One thing I could do to improve the lives of people who share the same condition?

image from Wikipedia

Then I remembered mood rings (a fad of the 1970s). The colours of the ring expressed your mood, without you having to say anything. Of course, not all the colour charts were the same, and really it was ambient room temperature that most effected the ring. But, that didn’t stop people, especially teenage girls, from buying them, and running their lives based on the mood they were supposed to be in. I know, I had a mood ring.

After that piece of nostalgia, back to the Just One pain ring. When people sincerely ask “how are you,” and are willing to listen to the whole story, the ring would be secondary to the wearer’s conversation.

Then there are the casual askers, co-workers, neighbours, folks taking the same course, and other such people who the wearer sees on a regular basis. The causal asker really doesn’t want to know how much pain you are in and how that effects your life. They are just looking for the “fine” answer – asking as a way of saying hello.

These are the people who need to learn about invisible illness, chronic pain. Become aware the the challenges we face, and overcome as best we can. So, hand them a card explaining the pain ring’s colours. Show them the ring, and decide if you want to make conversation.

The card would promote awareness of invisible illnesses. That the people who respond “fine” to the question “How are you?” may not really feel fine. It’s just an automatic answer to the “how are you?” as a means of saying hello.

So, my Just One thing would be a pain ring that accurately displayed the level of pain the wearer was experiencing, and a personalized card so the wearer can chose what each level of pain means to them, the effect it has,  and give an idea of what that level of pain feels like.

Invisible Illness Awareness Week


9 thoughts on “Invisible Illness Awareness Week: Just One invention

  1. wendy September 9, 2014 / 4:15 pm

    I still have a mood ring. My husband bought it for me. It is this really cool southwestern motif. but it is usually dark blue on me. Guess I’m always the same temperature. i lost the card saying what mood that is. It’s very pretty when it’s green. It would be cool if it turned when I was in pain. I remember having an old one, way back when….when I was mad it turned BLACK!

    I think my biggest problem has been not knowing when people where really wanting to know how I am when they asked and when they just wanted a polite lie. I’d tell some people the polite lie then later when I couldn’t do anything they’d say…but I thought you were doing better, you said you were fine the other day. Well duh, did you want to hear I was feeling like shit? And some I would tell the truth to, soon stopped getting in touch at all….some of those are the same people. You can win.

    My illnesses are invisible sometimes. Sometimes I look really sick.
    Just One. I am just one….I need to write a post…heck it took me 2 weeks to write the last one, I think this week will be over.


    • phylor September 10, 2014 / 9:47 pm

      Invisible illness doesn’t fade away into invisibility after this week. Raising awareness has to continue for the rest of the month, year, decade. However long it takes to get people to recognize what people with invisible illnesses deal with.
      So you can write an invisible illness awareness post whenever you feel like writing it (or not).
      Yeah, when you tell people how you really feel and why, often it is the insincere how are you people who can thus be hit with the truth. And, if that turns them away, so be it. They obviously couldn’t be part of the support network you needed.
      After a rough few nights, my eyes don’t look so good (also don’t look good if I’ve been crying). Some times I’m bright red, other times ghostly pale. After one of my weeklong severe migraines I don’t look so good. And there is the grimace behind the grin. The sincere folks pick up on this. Everyone else might say, “you look tired. out all night?” Yeah, out. Out of bed. Out of breath. Out of medication. Out of positions were things don’t hurt. Out of . . .


  2. Pat September 9, 2014 / 8:51 am

    Invisible Awareness — yeah — A ring – for the benefit of others — for those who ask making small talk, or for those who are actually just dying to blather on about themselves, for those who ask because you seem to look normal (hey, you’re kidding, you don’t look sick or unwell?!) ….. sometimes I’d just like to wear a placard that is boldly typefaced with “F8CK Off! I suffer from chronic pain and health issues. I don’t WANT this. Neither would you.”

    *sigh* – it would make things so much easier —- but ever the generous spirited people we are – we don’t allow ourselves permission to be “rude” when the occasion demands it – because well – it just falls back on us.

    Go forth and be brave and strong – Pain Warrior.


    • phylor September 9, 2014 / 3:15 pm

      Thanks Pat. I like your idea of a placard. Would look good on a button that you could point to, lol.
      Yes, I do try not to snark, but I also should try not to say “fine.” I should just say “Everything hurts. How are you?”
      You are a pain warrior too. So, when things really hurt, try to remember you are more than your pain, you are you (with the placard!)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. summerstommy2 September 8, 2014 / 11:24 pm

    I didn’t have a mood ring, but I do commend you on the proactive stance you are taking this week.


    • phylor September 9, 2014 / 3:39 pm

      Thanks, I really should be more outspoken the other 11 months of the year.
      And if I come across a mood ring in a yard sale, I’ll buy it for you!


      • summerstommy2 September 9, 2014 / 7:12 pm

        Well so long as it registers a good mood then it would have my name on it. Thanks phylor we can only do what we can do you know.


  4. CuriositytotheMax September 8, 2014 / 10:59 pm

    I loved the mood rings – forgot all about them! Dunno about a pain ring tho – not sure I’d want a visible indication for myself!
    However, you just might be onto a brilliant idea for marketing — there’s a web-site where they will actually create and sell your inventions for you but I can’t remember the name.


    • phylor September 8, 2014 / 11:25 pm

      That’s interesting about the website.
      I don’t know if you could build a pain ring. When I was thinking of my just one thing, mood rings popped into my mind, so the next step was pain rings.


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