Read You Don't Look Sick!: Living Well with Invisible Chronic Illness by Joy H. Selak Steven S. Overman Online


""Coming to terms with this reality was a lot like accepting the death of a loved one.""You Don't LOOK Sick!: Living Well with Invisible Chronic Illness chronicles a patient's true-life accounts and her physician's compassionate commentary as they take a journey through the three stages of chronic illness--Getting Sick, Being Sick, and Living Well. This resource helps you""Coming to terms with this reality was a lot like accepting the death of a loved one.""You Don't LOOK Sick!: Living Well with Invisible Chronic Illness chronicles a patient's true-life accounts and her physician's compassionate commentary as they take a journey through the three stages of chronic illness--Getting Sick, Being Sick, and Living Well. This resource helps you focus on building a meaningful life that contains illness as opposed to a life of frustration and fear. Designed for patients in at all stages of the chronic illness journey, this book will also be illuminating for caregivers and loved ones.From the book: ""I've learned that having a chronic illness is not a prison sentence. It does not mean I must spend the rest of my life feeling depressed and angry, locked away from the world inside my little sick box. It does not mean that I am useless and no longer have any gifts to share, but it may mean that I must develop some new ones.""You Don't LOOK Sick! addresses practical aspects of chronic illness, such as: hiring a doctor managing chronic pain coping with grief and the loss of function winning battles with health and disability insurers countering the social bias against the chronically ill recognizing the limitations of chronics illness care and charting a path for changeIn You Don't LOOK Sick!: Living Well with Invisible Chronic Illness, you will find stories, dialogue, humor, examples, and analogy of the three stages to illustrate a challenging but navigable journey. You will also find suggested reading materials for learning to live well, medical Internet resources, illness-specific Web sites, names and addresses of national associations, and a bibliography of medical books by topic. The short chapters and straightforward language of the book will be helpful for readers who are weary and dispirited. From the authors: "I've learned that having a chronic illness is not a prison sentence. It does not mean I must spend the rest of my life feeling depressed and angry, locked away from the world inside my little sick box. It does not mean that I am useless and no longer have any gifts to share, but it may mean that I must develop some new ones."--Joy H. Selak"My goal is to work with patients so that, like world class athletes, they can perform at their peak capacity. My job is more than giving answers; I must educate, counsel and encourage patients to set goals and implement a personal care program as well as take appropriate medications."--Dr. Steven Overman The authors are experienced public speakers. If you wish to inquire about their availability to speak to patients or health care professionals, please contact Joy Selak by email at

Title : You Don't Look Sick!: Living Well with Invisible Chronic Illness
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781935303
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 170 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

You Don't Look Sick!: Living Well with Invisible Chronic Illness Reviews

  • Tami
    2019-04-15 09:24

    You don't look sick. Although our stories may vary, this is the one phrase that all of us living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and other invisible chronic illnesses have experienced, dread, and fear the most. It's hard enough to live in pain, fight through fibrofog, and deal with lost independence but this simply utterance makes us feel like we have to explain ourselves and frankly the explanation is never quite good enough. We leave the conversation with a feeling that getting sick was somehow our fault and that we aren't getting better because we aren't trying hard enough. Somehow we are flawed human beings. You Don't Look Sick! is the experience of one woman (with the help of her doctor). Her story is very familiar. Like most of us, her journey just to get a diagnosis was long and painful. Getting appropriate help and coming to terms with the "Chronic" part of her condition contained even more challenges. Still, the author's illustrates that although it may not be possible to rid ourselves completely of this terror, we can bring ourselves to a place where we live well. A message we could all take heart in.

  • Susan Daly
    2019-04-23 06:22

    Dear Group,This book is one of the best books I've read on "so-called" hidden illnesses. What I mean by this is that I, myself have a hidden illness where, unless you know me very well I look totally healthy.I'm quite pleased that I don't have any diseases that would scare little children, but then again, it's quite distressing to hear that people who don't know a thing about you, except that someone has told them you are ill, saying things like "You look really good." When what they actually want to say is, "there's absolutely nothing wrong with your health and your not fooling me for one second."This book helped me quite a bit because somedays I feel as if I'm really just being lazy, and other people, the ones who don't know me are quite sure I'm simply being lazy. Ah, if only that were true, I'd be so blessed. As it is, I am blessed that I'm not sicker than I am.If you too have a "hidden illness", or know and care about some person who does, then do yourself, and your friend a huge favor and get this book. You will cry, and sometimes you may even laugh because it's like the author knows you and what goes on in your day to day life.Ta for now,Susan

  • Sherri Lewis
    2019-04-03 07:17

    I have read many, many books on living with a chronic illness. Every one has its own promises.... do what I say and you will be healed. Then, once you try the magic recipe that they suggest and you are not healed, you chalk it up to one more failure on your part. This is the last thing that anyone with a chronic illness needs... more guilt. This book is completely different. It is written by Joy Selak, who gives her views and experiences as a patient and sufferer of chronic illnesses, and by Dr Steven Overman, MD who counters with his professional opinions and advice. The book teaches that, as you do with losing a loved one, you must go through the same stages of grief over the loss of your life as you know it. It also teaches you that this illness you have does not have to sideline you, isolate you, or keep you from having a meaningful life.... it just may not be the life you previously had. This book was not only eye-opening, but also very uplifting. I would recommend anyone who has a chronic illness or is a caregiver or family member of someone with a chronic illness to take the time to read this.

  • Rebecca Cook
    2019-03-30 10:17

    Having struggled with an invisible illness for several years now, which completely took away my original life, I took to this book like a bee to honey! At the time I found this book, I knew no one else who had the struggles I had and had lost all of my friends. It was very reassuring that I was not the only one, and that I had not lost my mind. Since then I have be able to be hooked in to many others with ME/CFS/FM, including a very understanding and supportive doctor. However I still hear the "But you don't look sick" to which I want to reply "And you don't look stupid, or ignorant, or unfeeling (pick one)" but I haven't yet. I have reread the book several times, and recommend it to any who struggle with invisible illnesses of whatever variety to read this.

  • Mom Rainey
    2019-04-02 11:00

    I read this book and felt for a moment the relief of recognizing your own life in anothers story & a release of guilt both long overdue. I was so happy to read this and to feel hopeful that i have already made an appointment to see Dr. Overman the Rheumatologist who co-authored it...:)

  • Jackson Matthews
    2019-04-14 11:10

    The advice is very sensible and the story inspiring. I can do something to make myself *feel* better. Not being at 100% does not mean a person flunks life altogether!

  • Josephine Ensign
    2019-03-30 14:05

    I wanted so much to like this book—and I did enjoy the parts that were written by Steven Overman, MD—but I found the writing by Joy Selak to be lacking in real self-insight. Her illness story comes across as entitled and rather infuriating. I couldn't help but be reminded of all the hard-working, kind, and desperately poor women I've had as patients who struggled with similar (and worse) autoimmune illnesses. They barely had access to primary health care, much less high-level specialty medical care and disability insurance.

  • L
    2019-04-20 08:20

    I am right at the point of trying to accept all the things that I can't do now that I am disabled and I don't think that I am ready for this book (or really anyone trying to give me the positive side of the sh*t hole I feel like I am in). I need time to grieve and be an angry *redacted by commenter* for a while longer. I might come back to this book in the future and what I read seemed helpful for some. Just not in the head space for it.

  • Lindsay
    2019-03-29 07:10

    (Note: I read the 2nd edition of this book.)I chose to read this book because I have loved ones who live with chronic illness every day. I have also had to make a few modifications in my life as I learned to live with Endometriosis. Thankfully in my own situation, I have figured out how to best manage it so it doesn’t interfere with my daily life. However, I felt that for the benefit of others, this book could provide me with further insight.In their book, You Don’t Look Sick! (second edition), Joy and Dr. Overman tell the story of the four different phases of living with a chronic illness (Getting Sick, Being Sick, Grief and Acceptance, and Living Well), from the unique and experienced perspectives of patient and physician. Living with a chronic (and invisible) illness, for many patients, often means that in addition to living with their illness, patients also have to go through the daunting task of convincing people that their experiences are, in fact, real. Sometimes this process involves seeking advice from many different doctors. Dr. Overman explains that it is necessary for the health care team to work together with a Team Captain or a Coach to facilitate treatment and care plans for the best interest of the patient. It is also important for the patient to plan an active role in their own care plan.This book takes the reader through each stage of life with chronic illness with stories of physical and emotional struggles, physician’s perspectives, and careful and detailed instructions to help those currently coping with a chronic illness learn how to navigate through each of the phases in order to ultimately reach the final goal of learning to live well with an illness. Joy explains what has worked for her in order to both manage her illness and find ways to enjoy life and participate in her community. Through his caring and professional insight, Dr. Overman sounds like the chronic illness patient’s dream doctor! He offers valuable professional advice that readers of this book can use and implement in their personal lives to help maintain control of their medical situation.At the back of the book, there are additional resources including answered questions about the changes resulting from the Affordable Care Act, a list of helpful medical resource websites and disease-specific associations, and finally discussion questions for patient support groups that walk through each section of the book.I thought You Don’t Look Sick! was great! It was a great combination of both perspectives. This book was a very easy and quick read. I would rate their book 5 stars and recommend it for anyone who is personally suffering from chronic illness, or knows someone who is.Note: A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me from Luxury Reading in exchange for an honest review. (Click to read my full review.)

  • Angie
    2019-04-06 13:14

    I think this is a good book on living with chronic illness for a lot of chronically ill people. This book was written by Joy and her rheumatologist Dr. Overman. Joy's chronic illnesses started in the 1980's steadily worsening over time. Joy has multiple chronic illnesses like most of us. Joy and Dr. Overman came up with the Four Phases of Invisible Chronic Illness. I found that most of them overlapped in one way or another. Good advice was given throughout the book a lot of it useful for everyone that is chronically ill. Joy has multiple chronic illnesses like most of us. Joy also felt that a holistic like type of approach was better for her which I had trouble understanding when Dr. Overman gave her medication that helped her but she felt a stigma against taking. I liked the part of the book about grief and acceptance of your illness. That you have to mourn for your old life like a death and find a new path that your body can handle. I feel stuck in many of the phases portrayed in this book but this one is the worst for me. I started to get sick in my late teens and it got progressively worse until I have become completely disabled. I mourn for a life I never got to have. That is something very hard to get past. A part of the book I do not agree with is that Joy believes that she has gotten sick for a reason and that her illnesses are a blessing. I would not wish what I have on my worst enemy and it feels very far from a blessing. This is a good read. I think it will be helpful for a lot of people. I do not think you have to believe in all of the book for it to be helpful to you. I will be rereading it this book. The second time through I think you can take even away more from a book of this kind.

  • Leslie
    2019-04-23 08:18

    I read this for my chronic illness group and the co-author, the doctor, actually met with us to hear feedback. I think this book is important in how it illustrates the relationship between a patient, with a chronic condition that is difficult to diagnose & treat, and her physician (the kind of physician everyone in this situation would HOPE to have). From a patient's perspective it was helpful to hear the doctor's point of view. It has helped communication with my own doctor. Everyone in my group had their significant other/family member read the book too, which was extremely helpful. Afterward, every one of us had discussions with our loved ones that started out with some form of "I had no idea..." . It is important to remember, when reading this book, that it is one particular person's journey with a particular doctor, so it shouldn't be viewed as a representation for everyone. I think the book's major value is in the talking points and the self reflection that it prompts. I felt like her journey had a dramatic jump to suddenly feeling at peace at the end that left me wondering what happened between points A & B. But I guess that just illustrates how individual & personal it is for each of us. I have days where I feel at peace. Then the next day will kick my ass and I'll feel as if I'm back to square one. Also, the chapter with the letters back and forth haggling with insurance was way too much detail. Painful for those of us that have been there. Loved ones reading the book will most likely get frustrated and might check out. Most of us have been through some version of health beauracracy hell, and it almost had me reliving those moments (definitely NOT healthy). All in all, I'm glad this book is out there and I admire her bravery.

  • Leslie
    2019-03-26 10:28

    Recommend to anyone living with a chronic illness. The patient and the doctor wrote the book together. There is a good bit of information, resources, advice, etc. available in this book. Real life insurance woes that shows readers that perseverance pays off in the end! Dealing with ignorance can make you look silly but tomorrow is another day. And sometimes you gotta bite the bullet (or swallow the pill) nag go to your h.s. reunion -- fatigue or no fatigue! I had a few writerly issues with the book but overall it's a great resource for someone just diagnosed with a chronic illness and/or that person's caregiver or even someone who has lived with illness for some time. At times, you feel as though the authors are just talking to you (very candid, relaxed) over coffee or tea... The whole patient-doctor book project is a great idea! I think the doctor's knowledge could have been put to use more at times, though, rather than often summarizing and providing refection. That part was good but I also appreciated his medical expertise when he offered it. His own experiences gave the book a unique prospective. I wanted to hear more about that and maybe how that informed how he practiced medicine, if at all. It touched on it briefly but I wanted to know what it felt like when he found out.What emotions did he experience? I actually wanted to hear a bit more from Him but then again I guess it is Joy's diagnosis he is discussing/treating. Overall, it's a worthwhile read.

  • Kim Overstreet
    2019-04-18 07:23

    Well-written and easy to read, this is a book about coping with a chronic health condition. In alternating sections Joy Selak, a patient, and Steven Overman, a physician, discuss the Four Phases of Invisible Chronic Illness: Getting Sick, Being Sick, Grief and Acceptance, and Living Well.I have lived with invisible chronic illness for 11 years. I wish I would have had this book at the start of my journey. I have read many books about my health condition, many of which promise a miracle cure with an exercise, a supplement, or a diet, which ultimately did not work for me. This guide does not dispense specific medical advice, but offers a glimpse into how to live, and indeed thrive, when you live with an ongoing medical condition. Outlook, understanding, and relationships are at the heart of the discussion. To hear Joy so eloquently describe many of my internal and external challenges and to know I am not alone in my experience brought tears to my eyes on a few occasions. (E.g. wondering what to say when people ask, "How are you?" in passing) This is a book I will keep and reread over the years when I find myself needing a bit of a boost. Highly recommended for those living with an invisible chronic illness as well as their caregivers and family members!I received a complimentary copy of this book through Library Thing Early Reviewers. This is no way affected the content of my review.

  • Ruby
    2019-03-30 14:28

    This book gave me the solidarity I so desperately needed. Even though I have great family support, I have been feeling alone with my struggles with my illness, feeling absolute despair at the impact on my life. I needed to feel like I had an ally who got what I was going through and I found it in this book.I have felt the yucky judgement and dismissal from the 'you don't look sick' brigade, who appear to assume that I am weak or indulgent. I have had a million quack remedies recommended by well-meaning people who simply don't understand why this is unhelpful. Joy is like the understanding friend who truly gets it. Dr Overman is like the dream doctor we all want. I think it was just great to read a book from someone who really understands what it's like. There wasn't much advice, it was more a book of support. Joy has done a wonderful job. I have highlighted passages throughout the book to read again in rough times. I really appreciate this book.

  • Victoria
    2019-04-14 14:23

    This was interesting enough and very short, barely 125 pages (+ additional resources). I got vastly more out of Joy's memoir-like chapters than I did Dr. Overman's, but that's to be expected in terms of what I was looking for, and YMMV.I love the title, which is really what sold me on this book. 2/3 memoir, 1/6 overview of chronic illness from a medical perspective, 1/6 rant against how the American insurance and medical systems deal with chronic illness. Nothing too concrete to offer, but Joy does have a friendly approach to combining Western and holistic medicine.

  • Tina
    2019-04-01 07:58

    This is a useful book for people at almost any stage of coping with chronic illness. It is light, has some good ideas, and the partnership with the two writers, one with chronic illness, one a physician, works well. Does not espouse one type of modality or mindset over another - a relief - and is respectful of the reader.

  • Cherie Kephart
    2019-04-01 08:11

    As someone who suffers from a chronic illness, I found solace and comfort from this book. I understand this message and I know so many others do as well. Selak dares to reach out into the world, speak her truth, and give others, like me, hope and a sense that we are not alone.

  • Claire Boynton
    2019-04-04 14:28

    This book was interesting because it compared the experiences of a patient with her doctor. It covered the impact of chronic illness both from a medical / scientific and an emotional / social perspective and I found this really useful.

  • Miken
    2019-03-26 07:18

    I would recommend this not just to people with both invisible and rare chronic illnesses, but also to people who have a close family member/friend with chronic illness. Even though my problems are visible many things were very relatable.

  • E
    2019-04-24 07:26

    The author's not preachy about it but the book opens with a prayer and makes frequent reference to spirituality. Not my thing. Also, even if it was tongue in cheek, her advice to "avoid any medicine that will make you fat" was unnecessary at best.

  • Michele
    2019-04-24 12:23

    Encouraging, and practical. The book was co-written by a doctor and his patient. The doctor was empathetic. I felt like the patient could have been me in so many ways. The book provides hope.

  • Tara
    2019-04-21 13:58

    Brilliant book. It reflected how I was feeling and what I believed when I was dealing with my chronic illness. I would recommend this book to anyone.

  • PWRL
    2019-03-26 06:16


  • Bre
    2019-03-31 07:24

    this book resonates with my own struggles. I recommended this on a chronic pain sufferers Facebook page as well. This should be mandatory reading at the point of diagnosis!

  • Betty
    2019-04-20 07:05

    Excellent book from a patient's viewpoint on dealing with a chronic illness without any outward appearances. I deal with this issue in dealing with chronic lyme disease.

  • Mij Woodward
    2019-04-12 10:09

    Scanned the book. Some helpul sections by the physician co-author.

  • Amy
    2019-04-17 11:58

    Really helpful.