Invisible Disability

I’ve been having a lovely time at the Greenbelt Festival – well within my limits anyway!  I have spent a limited amount of time on site (yes we are staying in a hotel – for all the same reasons :-)), and when there I have found a quiet corner to sit and listen, or to try to chat with people.

What is has reminded me of, is all the problems of having an invisible disability, ie one where when people see you they think, and often say,

Well you look well!

Because yes I probably do look ok – if you don’t notice me coughing; or that I don’t move far, and when I do it’s very slowly; and that I don’t hang around for long because I can’t concentrate and I certainly can’t talk for very long; and when I look bored, I’m not, I’m just struggling to follow or stay awake.  But just because someone looks ok, doesn’t mean they aren’t carrying illness or disability within them and struggling.  And you don’t always want to have to spend your life having to explain this to people, or it becomes what defines you.

But when I try to explain I can’t climb stairs, or park my car a long way away and walk – I’m not being lazy, or awkward. And just because you see me on a day when I’ve got my “presenting front” on doesn’t mean I’m coping, just that I’ve got practiced at looking like I am – and you don’t see the price I pay when I get back home…

Just because you can’t see a disability it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Don’t assume that what you see in someone is the reality of their lives – please. v

~ by pamjw on August 27, 2012.

3 Responses to “Invisible Disability”

  1. I agree. One of the reasons we are in Shetland, is because of my increasing cholesterol levels, and and bordering diabetes II. I know I have to loose weight…. no news there, but hoofing around the site, and not able to choose what I eat properly did not endear me to going.
    Like a lot of caring professionals I do not look after myself. I work stressful shifts, eat irregularly and do not take regular exercise. But it is ‘invisible’.
    I remember last year a woman trailing a shopping trolley behind her and attached to this and her a tube and nasal cannula. My sympathy arose, and immediately gave up my seat. But if you are ‘invisible’ then you are ‘not entitled’.
    BTW having really great weather in Shetland, had the hottest day of the year yesterday.
    I promise to come next year, and we can sit and drink tea together and put the Methodist world to right…. 😉
    We visited David’s Dad’s first ministry placement yesterday…. out in the middle of nowhere….

    • Thanks Lorraine. Delighted to hear you’ve got Such good weather 😉 we’re up to calves in mud… Will look forward to that chat – take care of yourself

  2. […] of people, who through no fault of theirs, do not understand your limitations, because they are not visible.  For example, being at Greenbelt with lots of exciting people to meet and talk to is not so much […]

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