People With 'Invisible' Disabilities Share The One Thing They Wish Other People Understood
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

One of the main issues disabled people face is the judgment and labels of the able-bodied world. Many people seem to believe that just because one's disability isn't obvious and on display, then that must mean people are faking it or are being lazy.

But we've come to realize that many disabilities are unseen by the naked eye. And that can cause an even greater struggle.

Redditor u/fairlycertainoctopus wanted to hear from those fighting silent battles by asking:

Redditors with "invisible" disabilities what's one thing you wish other people knew?

I have several close friends who struggle with crippling pain and illness. They face lupus, fibro, and Covid. And one of the reasons that causes most tears flow on a daily basis, is the rudeness and cruelty of the outside world. They've been labeled everything from frauds to lazy idiots. It's tragic.

I Exist

Seth Meyers Thank You GIF by Late Night with Seth Meyers Giphy

"That invisible doesn't mean it doesn't exist."

- Molgaard

"That you can pretend to have it doesn't mean I am pretending."

- obscureferences

The Looks

"Just because I don't "look disabled" or "act disabled" doesn't mean I'm not disabled. The way I explain it to people is that just because you don't look hungry, that doesn't mean you aren't hungry. Hunger looks different for everyone the same way disabilities affect everyone differently."

- ggdoesthings

I'm Not What You Think

"I lack executive functioning skills and that's not an excuse for why I can't remember or know how to do simple things yet appear to very intelligent and smart. When I make mistakes I'm not doing them on purpose and being corrected or taught how to do them will not make me do it right the next time."

"I'm not lazy, sometimes simple things just makes me want to rip out of my skin and scream at the moment so I'm not doing it now but will do it when I'm able to. My brain so to speak is a selfish brain and I can't always think past where I am even though I'm not a selfish person."

- super_sayanything

Sound Off

I once had a conversation with a receptionist at a clinic over the phone and they said "Um, that service is only for house bound people" I said I was housebound. She said "Um... can I ask why?" So I give her my diagnosis and she goes "Oh I'm so sorry, you don't sound disabled so, I didn't know."

- AcrossTheMilkySeas

"wish they had it too."

"That when people ask how I lost weight and I mention a somewhat rare and fairly painful GI disorder, it makes me see red if they "wish they had it too." Not being able to eat solid foods, hearing rumors I'm on heroin or cocaine, being so bony it hurts to sit on hard chairs and needing a pillow between my knees because they're so bony to sleep during flares, constant pain that doctors rarely take seriously unless it's hospital admission level bad... the quality of life sucks so the side of my waist stopped mattering years ago."

"Sadly I used to do hair and make up so I'm pretty good at covering up how bad I feel and even doctors would add "but you look great!" as some kind of consultation when my life was falling apart pre diagnosis/treatment. Yeah, almost lost my house and came close to bankruptcy, but my stomach (was) flat. I prefer secure housing and employment and if I want to be slim I want it the healthy way and not awful disease related malnutrition."

- booourns82

Why can't we just be kind? None of us know the struggle of another. We should lead with that perspective instead of judging. Just "shake it off" is not a remedy for anything by the way.

The Sister

"My older sister was born with her umbilical cord around her neck and it resulted in a brain injury due to lack of oxygen. Until she was 12 she couldn't grasp math as the portion of her brain that handled mathematics was cut off from the rest of her brain due to the damage. When she was 12 she took music lessons and for whatever reasons there may be, learning music taught her brain a new way to get to its math centers and she suddenly excelled at it."

- Drakmanka

Not a Lie

"I have Covid longhauler and I was at a healthy weight previously, now I'm underweight and struggling to keep from losing more due to lack of appetite and all the other GI issues that come with this. Every single one of my friends voiced jealousy over my (unhealthy) weight loss and said something like "oh I wish I got long Covid so I could drop these pounds." 😤Lucky for them I don't have the energy to get pissed and scream and yell nowadays but sometimes I wonder if I need to so they can grow as people."

- audiodust

Mobility Issues

"That yes, I can always be in pain and always am, even though I don't always show it. By the time it's obvious I'm in pain, it's really bad. That if I say I can't do something, I actually can't considering half the time I do stuff I shouldn't and pay for it. That I know my body best because I live in it."

"Trust me to know my own body. Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Yes I do have mobility issues, no that doesn't mean I can't walk/stand at all, though it is always painful so i'm very limited in how long I can. I'm not faking it. Mobility isn't necessarily all or nothing."

- Wickedjr89

Learning

"I'm a parent of a child with an "invisible" disability. I wish people would just grasp that autism isn't always like some character you saw on TV."

- Warlord_of_Mom

"My boyfriend is still fairly new to a lot of this, and I have Autism (was labelled Aspergers till they changed it), ADHD and anxiety issues. He's always surprised when the fact I'm on Disability pension comes up. And I just cannot manage to work out how to explain a lot of it."

- Vynlamor

Basic Truth

This Up Here GIF by Chord Overstreet Giphy

"I am the same person I was before I told you about it."

- KitGundy

"Yes! People can swing between treating you like a leper or ignoring your disability entirely, neither of which are helpful. Respectful curiosity and compassion is what is needed."

- Transcribbla

The next time someone tells you their health is not well, just show a little empathy. They have no obligation to prove themselves to anyone. Invisible disability is a very real life issue.

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