bY: Erin Migdol
Though an illness may be called “invisible” because its symptoms aren’t obvious to an outside observer, there are often subtle signs you can see if you look closely enough. Some people may notice these signs and attribute them to a personality quirk or preference, not realizing how it relates to your illness. Morgan Freeman drew questions from fans about a subtle sign of his invisible illness at the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards on Sunday night.
Those who watched red carpet coverage or saw red carpet photos may have noticed that Morgan Freeman was wearing a single gold glove on his left hand. The actor was at the ceremony to accept his Lifetime Achievement Award, though he didn’t wear the glove while giving his speech.
Though some assumed his single glove was simply a fashion statement, the truth is Freeman often wears a compression glove on his left hand due to nerve damage from a car accident in 2008. The compression glove helps his blood flow since he can’t move his hand.
“I suffered nerve damage and it hasn’t gotten better. I can’t move it,” he told People magazine in 2015. “If you don’t move your hand, it will swell up. Do you know you move your hand about a million times a day?”
Freeman has also revealed that he lives with fibromyalgia pain in his left arm due to injuries from the same crash — he described it as “excruciating” in a 2012 interview with Esquire. In 2015 he told The Daily Beast he treats the pain with marijuana.
“I have fibromyalgia pain in this arm, and the only thing that offers any relief is marijuana,” Freeman said. “They’re talking about kids who have grand mal seizures, and they’ve discovered that marijuana eases that down to where these children can have a life. That right there, to me, says, ‘Legalize it across the board!’”
Compression-wear is a common recommendation for people living with a variety of chronic illnesses since it can increase blood flow, reduce swelling or edema, help prevent blood pooling and help keep joints and muscles in place. You can check out some of our community’s favorite compression items here.
Many people with invisible illnesses can point to a few signs visible signs of their illness. See what our Mighty community shared with us when we asked them to submit a photo of a visible aspect of their illness that often goes unseen.