'Suffering the Silence' Portraits Open the Dialogue About Chronic Illness (PHOTOS)

'Suffering the Silence' Portraits Open the Dialogue About Chronic Illness (PHOTOS)

allie cashel Those struggling with a chronic illness that's not visible to the naked eye are often forced to suffer in silence. Now two young women are determined to change all that. Friends since grade school, Erica Lupinacci, who has Lupus, and Allie Cashel (pictured above), who's been battling Lyme disease, have started the site Suffering the Silence to open a dialogue about the diseases that plague millions but often go undiscussed in day-to-day life. 

The site takes its name from Cashel's forthcoming book, Suffering the Silence: Chronic Lyme Disease in an Age of Denial. The author explains how her friendship with Lupinacci served as inspiration: 

One of the cool things about sharing our experiences was that there is a huge overlap in the experience of living with different chronic illnesses. Just because you have one disease doesn’t mean you can’t relate to people who are suffering from illness in general.

The book has spawned a photo series in which New Yorkers are shown covering their mouths yet displaying the names of their illnesses on their arms. Check out this brave and inspiring way of starting the conversation about chronic illnesses.

 

Image via Amanda Crommett Photography

  • Chronic Lyme

    1

    Image via Amanda Crommett Photography

    Allie Cashel's forthcoming book, Suffering the Silence: Chronic Lyme Disease in an Age of Denial, aims to remove the stigma that surrounds chronic yet invisible illnesses. 


  • Lupus

    2

    Image via Amanda Crommett Photography

    Erica Lupinacci, who has Lupus, started the site Suffering the Silence to offer those afflicted a place to talk about their experiences. 

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

    3

    Image via Amanda Crommett Photography

    The pair's website spawned a photo series Suffering the Silence: Portraits of Chronic Illness. To read more about each person, visit Suffering the Silence's website

  • Ulcerative Colitis

    4

    Image via Amanda Crommett Photography

    Ryan, who suffers from ulcerative colitis, shares his experience:

    A lot of my friends didn’t know about it. I didn’t want to burden them. I was afraid if I said anything, it would come across as 'pity me,' but at the same time I kind of wanted to tell people to be like, 'hey, this is what’s going on, just so you know' if I have to leave class or something. So it’s that weird balance of figuring how much do you tell, how much do you disclose.

  • Endometriosis

    5

    Image via Amanda Crommett Photography

    Endometriosis is a common but painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus.

  • Scoliosis

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    Vivian, who suffers from scoliosis, outlines what it's like living with the condition: 

    My family and friends sometimes forget that I have it, they’ll forget that I wake up every morning with my back hurting. It doesn’t register in their heads. It’s not their fault, I don't complain constantly about it so it's easier to forget I have it. I also work as a waitress so a lot of times I’m viewed as weak because I choose not to carry heavy trays. I physically can’t and I have to remind people. I think in their heads they think I’m lazy or making it up. If I could choose to be stronger, I would love to be stronger.

  • Asthma

    7

    Image via Amanda Crommett Photography

    Reisha, an asthma sufferer, says sometimes just walking down the stairs is a big feat.

illness pain

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