Hello world! This one is for YOU!! No matter what we do or how hard we try to change things there will always be some level of judgement in the world. Especially in this time where it seems like everyone is shaming others for something. That being said most of us do our best to keep that judgement to ourselves, and don't stare people down. We have the kindness not to make comments when we think someone shouldn't be using a wheelchair, or parking in a handicapped spot or even just wearing a mask out in public. Sadly, there are those people who can’t seem to keep their thoughts and judgments to them self. This letter is for those who can’t keep their comments to themselves or feel the need to stare others down.
You just saw me getting out of my car in the handicapped space. You don’t think I notice, but I do. I know what you are thinking when you see me get out of the car. You look me up and down and probably zthink, "There's nothing wrong with her why would she park there!" And some will even glare or make comments. By looking at me all you see is what looks like a healthy lady in her thirties who's only issue is that she is overweight! However, you CAN'T see my Illnesses! They are INVISIBLE!! Meaning you may not be able to tell I have anything wrong by seeing me or even talking with me, unless I'm wearing a mask, wearing sunglasses inside or using a cane or wheelchair to get around. Otherwise there is no physical manifestation you will see!
You don't know that getting out of bed is hard. Or that getting dressed and ready is exhausting. You don’t know that it could take several hours just to get to point of walking out the door. Simply because to take multiple breaks are needed when I put myself together fully! By the time I finally make it to wherever I am going, whether it be a restaurant or a place to shop, I have no energy or spoons left AT ALL! You can't see that it's hard to breath, and my heart is beating way faster than it should. You can't see the HORRIBLE migraine I am suffering from. Or know that the lights in the store or from the sun are making my head hurt that much worse. Or that the urge to vomit from said headache gets stronger with every step and movement!! But yet you continue to whisper and make comments and stare me down.
You would know by looking at me that my pain was 8 out of 10 before I even got out of bed. And even after taking my prescribed dose of medication am still at a 7. You can't see that every step is agony and with every step pain is radiating from my hip to my toes. You can't see the pain that is in my back and pulsating with every movement. Yet you still continue to stare and judge me.
You also don't understand the use of pain medications. You don't understand that many of us would rather do anything than take pain meds. And NO most of us are not addicts and should not be treated like we are. If 99% of you were in our shoes you couldn't do half of what I do with the level of pain I deal with. Simply because I have gotten used to the pain, and I know that I can't stay home in bed just because I hurt. If that was the case I would never leave the house!!
I love when you see my mask and you turn around and go the other way because you are fearful for CATCHING WHAT I HAVE. Well, in this case the JOKES ON YOU!! The situation is actually the opposite. I wear this mask to prevent CATCHING what YOU have! You don't know and can't see it, but my immune system is to busy fighting off my body to worry about fighting off any germs I come in contact with. What you may think is a just a small cold for you, could potentially put me in the hospital or even kill me! So I have to protect myself from you and the rest of world!
The general public will never understand invisible illnesses. Most will forever think that if there is no outward sign of illness, or pain (like a cast on a leg or a person on oxygen) that you are fine..... and JUST LAZY! Which couldn't be further from the truth. That has been the thought process for many many years and it will be hard to change. In general, the public doesn't understand any illness that they can't see. And we understand that. What is hard to justify and understand is the need to make hateful and judgemental statements. How does that help in any situation?!?
Here is something for you to think about, approximately 10% of Americans have a medical condition that could be defined as an invisible disability. And 96% of people with chronic medical issues, live with a condition which is INVISIBLE!! Most of those people don't use a cane or assistive device that would show they are ill. Perhaps after reading this someone will think before they judge! Hopefully, they will hold their tongue before making a rude and hateful comment. I know that's wishful thinking, but I would hope that seeing this Information would make them think. If this reaches just ONE person who will change their thoughts about people using handicap spots or a wheelchair than I've done my job!!