Invisible Conditions: “In my brain, or in my mind?” Both or neither?

In 2017, I coined the term, “The Invisible Conditions”, refering to those conditions that are challenging-to or impossible to (either) image with today’s technology or to see an individual has (hard signs). These include, but are not limited to: chronic pain, Persistent Postural Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD), Persistent Post Concussion Syndrome (PPCS), Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), and Functional Neurologic Disorders (FND). Patients with these conditions often feel that medical practitioners, and laypersons alike, may be suggesting that their experiences are not “real” or only “in my head”. This is neither healthy, productive, or reality-based. In an effort to create a more healthy, productive and accurate self-talk around the invisible conditions, I have penned this letter, which can be modified and repurposed as the particulars of a person’s life may require. This letter is written in first person, from and to a person with an invisible condition (in this case FND) – addressed to their mind and brain (an inseparable entity) together, “Brind”.

Dear Brind, 
Thank you for using your tools to alert me that something has gone awry. I accept that you are using involuntary movements of my body as a warning signal that there is elevated stress in my life, a deficit of sleep in my life, and a disconnect between you and my body. Thank you for your warning signals. Thank you for these outward and observable warning signals, without which it might be hard for me to see that these deficits and problems. Equally as importantly it might be hard for other people to see these things are occurring with me. I do not want to place faults and how you have warned me. I want to thank you for warning me, so that I may be able to begin to get help.