This teen’s brave Facebook post is changing the way people think about invisible illnesses
These days, it seems like more and more people are using social media to spread messages of body love and self-acceptance, but as Facebook user Aimee Rouski recently noted, people with disabilities or chronic illnesses are rarely represented. That’s why she decided to share a brutally honest and inspiring post revealing her struggle with an “invisible illness.”
Rouski is 19 years old and suffers from Crohn’s disease, which she explains in her post is “a serious incurable illness that nearly killed me, not just a stomach ache like most people seem to think.” She says people like her are often left out of body positive posts, so she decided to share photos of her ileostomy bag and her scars from surgery to show people that illness is nothing to be ashamed of.
“My Crohns has left me with a permanent ileostomy, no large intestine, colon, rectum, anus, or inner thigh muscles as they were used for plastic surgery on my wounds,” writes Rouski. “I’ve always been okay with the stuff that has happened to me, but some people have real difficulties accepting these things.”
To people who struggle to come to terms with Crohn’s disease or any other invisible illness, Rouski wants to say this: “No one will know unless you tell them. People who know will still love you and still find you beautiful. Your illness is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about.”
Since her post went up, it’s been liked more than 66,000 times, including by Mark Zuckerberg himself. It has almost 17,000 shares, and thousands of people have left comments sharing their own struggles and thanking Rouski for her bravery in telling her story and posting such raw photos.
Wrote one woman, “Thank you so much for sharing, you are an inspiration and a beautifully strong lady. My friend has only just been diagnosed with Crohn’s and is so low, I cannot wait to show her your story and to let her know that I am there for her no matter what.”
The word “illness” tends to conjure images of people who look sick or tired, or who have symptoms we can easily see. But the truth is, looks are a very poor way to judge anything about a person. People can have injuries, illnesses, disabilities, and chronic conditions that we know nothing about. According to the CDC, there are over 100 million people in the U.S. living with a chronic illness. For them, Rouski’s post is an important reminder that they aren’t alone, that they have no reason to feel shame about their condition, and that so many people support and love them no matter what.