National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is September 10-16, 2012 and this week, Monday through Friday, the campaign features a virtual conference with nearly 20 speakers.
Listeners can log on here to listen to presentations by experts who work with those who are chronically ill, or who live with illness themselves. The seminars will also be available at itunes.com this fall.
Why would you want to participate? Well, for one, you don't have to leave your home -- or even your bed for that matter. If you have a chronic illness and you have ever attended a conference you know how uncomfortable the seating is, the travel, and the person beside you who showered in perfume.
With the luxury of your own cup of coffee, you can sit back and watch video seminars on topics such as how your personality style affects how you cope with illness, parenting with a chronic illness, how to work at home when chronically ill, improving your marriage relationship despite illness, and the whole "invisible" illness issue.
There are some great speakers lined up, such as Mary E. Siegel, Ph.D., co-author of the modern-classic, Sick and Tired of Feeling Sick and Tired. (If you live with a chronic illness, this should be on your must-read list.) Best-selling author Pam Farrel will chat about marriage communication; Wayne and Sherri Connell, the founders of Invisible Disabilities Association, will share what to say and not say to a chronically ill person, too. And trust me, you will nod in agreement!
Virtual conferences are a seamless fit for those of us who live with chronic illness. You can wear your pajamas, snuggle up with a heating pad, even hold your pet, and still be a part of something that connects you to people and improves your coping skills for dealing with daily illness.
This week is celebrating its tenth anniversary, originally starting virtual conferences before they were the rage, in a chatroom with moderators and speakers typing furiously to keep up with the questions pouring in. This year they have moved from BlogTalkRadio to video seminars.
Believe it or not, nearly one in two people live with a chronic condition in the USA and over 90 percent, have no visible signs that display pain, fatigue, or limitations.
Invisible illness can make you feel like you are living two different lives, the reality of struggling to get through the most basic tasks, like making a meal or having a play date for your child, and the reality of what everyone believes you are capable of.
Invisible Illness Awareness Week is a great opportunity to find encourage when you live with hidden pain. You are not alone. And you can pick up some new communication skills that could genuinely make a difference in your relationships.
In addition to the conference, Invisible Illness Week offers other ways to get involved including blogging for the cause, sharing invisible illness week facts on Twitter or Facebook, a Pinterest page, and the 2012 campaign includes posting your favorite photos that represent your "visible images of hope."
To find out more visit the web site http://InvisibleIllnessWeek.com .
Lisa Copen is the author of "Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend," that offers a tons of tips (505 to be exact) ways to make a difference in the lives of those around you who are hurting.
Follow Lisa Copen on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lisajcopen