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Just Fine: Unmasking Concealed Chronic Illness and Pain Paperback – September, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
In her own words, the author states the uniqueness of her book: "There is an absence of resources that examines an individual's outward appearance and how it runs contrary to their pain, symptoms, and inner world." While the 336 page book is divided approximately in half, the theme of dealing with appearing "normal" despite how you feel runs consistently from beginning to end. In the first half, the author's revelation of what it is like to uncover and ultimately accept a diagnosis and the limitations, changes and medical challenges that come with that diagnosis - despite looking fine - is unlike any other book I've read. The author's own black and white photographs of people she's interviewed and whose stories are included will greet you in the second half. Stop and look at the faces. The fact that you cannot "see" what disorder they have is what Just Fine is all about.
In Chapter One, "why seeing is not always believing", the author explains, "Human nature, for the most part, is visually oriented. We believe what we see and often make character judgments based solely on visual perceptions.Read more ›
The book discusses hidden health disorders in a unique way because the author not only offers insights and coping tips offered from physicians and psychologists, including traditional medicine and mind-body medicine. She also has included profiles of people living with a hidden health disorder and she lets them tell their story in their own words, along with their photographs.
What I really liked about the book was being educated about other types of concealed illnesses, and at the same time, how I saw myself in many of the stories. There were common threads of emotions from these people living double lives.
Some of the topics from the book included how to deal with canceling plans, learning how to answer people when they ask how you are, being envious of other people in good health, sacrificing personal goals, making adjustments, and how to respond to people when they question the severity of your symptoms.
I was surprised and relieved to see the author even dealt with the subject of sex with a chronic illness, which I never saw explored before in a book.
This book definitely made me feel not so alone with my double life. It was very comforting and it taught me how to look at people differently, because someone who is smiling in the office might be living with a hidden health disorder like me.
Chronic Fatigue (CFIDS) has been my challenge and teacher since my symptoms began more than 30 years ago. JUST FINE, written beautifully by a therapist surviving her own chronic illnesses, says everything I needed to know THEN when little was known and we were told it was a "psychological problem". The book reassures me - even NOW when we recently found out there are at least 5 genetic markers (see the CDC website) - that I am and have been doing MORE than "Just Fine" with the "luck of the draw" biologically & with the life circumstances that may have contributed to triggering my illness.
The photos and narratives of "people with..." function like a "support group in a book" and I KNOW that many readers may not have a group available or be able to reach one because of the limits often imposed by the illnesses themselves. I appreciate the participants' courage in speaking about often stigmatized experiences, while also knowing many of us are longing to be asked by someone who is truly willing to hear us. We continually search for language that can describe our often fluctuating experience: Carol Sveilich and her interviewees have done just that!
I have given this book to clients, friends and family. I look forward to any more writing Sveilich will do in the future, as she clearly has more to say that would be worthwhile to read - to "listen with your eyes".
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book. Ahead of its time. Inspired me to start the blog The ICI Experience dot blogspot dot com in 2007. Now it seems like everyone is writing about this concept. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Sherrillynn
Fascinating. Deepens one's understanding of what i'ts like to have an 'invisible' illness.Published 7 months ago by ABK
This book truly validates the issues that those who have chronic disease live and struggle with on a daily basis. Read morePublished on February 19, 2014 by Kiki
this book describes to a T exactly what it's like to live with a chronic illness that is not visible to the outside world and provides very interesting real-life stories about... Read morePublished on January 13, 2014 by Karen Gerber
I get the "concealed chronic illness" thing, I really do, having 4 rare biopsy-diagnosed auto Immune diseases myself. Read morePublished on January 11, 2014 by J. Smith
This book is great for anyone with chronic pain and for family and friends of chronic pain suffers.
It is infomative, supportive and to the point. Read more
This book exceeded my expectations and thoroughly gave an in depth overview of all of the chronic pain conditions, from the chronic pain sufferers point of view.Published on May 10, 2013 by Tassie Winn
Others have done a fine job of synopsis of this book, explaining what is in it and the quality of the author's writing which is stellar. Read morePublished on April 29, 2013 by Mary A. Miller