Making Invisible Injuries More Visible

2015-0912 Not Every Disability is Visible

Excerpt by Jenny Shark | National Swell

SAN DIEGO – The signature weapon against coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan is the improvised explosive device, leaving those who survive with traumatic brain injuries and posttraumatic stress.

“It’s often been called the invisible injury, but it won’t be invisible for long,” said Steve Lewandowski with Veterans Research Alliance, who along with other donors pulled $30,000 together to start a study by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

My Opinion

Although the study is a small step in the right direction in terms of diagnosing, and potentially treating, invisible injuries, that alone does not eliminate the many psychological and societal issues related to invisible injury.  The injury itself may be more visible to doctors who treat it, but caregivers, family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers still see a person who has no visible signs of injury such as fatigue, weakness, pain, slow processing, auditory problems, visual challenges, or the many cognitive difficulties that sometimes accompany invisible illness.


Thanks to the researchers for conducting the study and publishing their results; Jenny Shank for summarizing results of the study in her article; NationSwell for committing its resources to publishing the article; Google for helping me find the article; and all the people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to include the picture and text in this post.


  1. I wrote about it in our news paper.They made it front page.My daughter Debbie has a brain injury from brain cancer.She has a legal handicap tag.
    Because she looks healthy,people assume she is fine.She is not.Some people are so evil.People have broke her driver side mirror,left nasty notes,
    ripped her electric antenna off & etc.This is a 17 yr old car.She is on disability& I,on Social security have to pay for this.
    This makes me angry

    Janice Mizrahi

    1. Janice,

      The physical nastiness is bad, but that is reasonably easy to fix. The emotional damage can be much worse. Especially when friends, family members, medical professional, co-workers, etc. use language, body language, and/or gestures that accuse the survivor of faking their injury or the severity of their injury. Depression and self doubt frequently result from the negative behavior and comments which make “normalcy” more difficult to achieve. This is really a form of discrimination and bullying — harassing people because they are different or the perception they are lying about being different. To some degree, this is a lot like the Salem Witch Hunt in which people were accused of being witches because they either acted differently or were accused of lying about acting differently.

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