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To People With Invisible Disabilities: I See You

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To People With Invisible Disabilities,

I see you.

I am disabled physically and have been since birth, so that’s all I’ve ever known and will know for the rest of my life. March 29th, 2005 will be forever ingrained in my mind, because that is the day my family’s life would change forever. Fast forward 13 years… the strongest woman I have ever known and will know, is disabled: my mom. To see her go through daily life with constant pain, only being able to do things for a certain amount of time is hard for me, because I knew who she was before. I can’t imagine what it must feel like for her or anyone else that deals with an invisible disability like fibromyalgia or lupus.

I think as a society, we only see one side of disability. I am guilty of this myself. We only see the physical aspect of a disability like a wheelchair, a cane or crutches. If we don’t see any of those things, we automatically assume they are able-bodied. But that may not be the case at all. We have no idea what that individual has accomplished that day, big or small. Something a perfectly healthy person takes for granted may be a big deal for someone with an invisible disability. So if they take an accessible parking space or use a scooter to go shopping in the store, don’t judge them for it.

We need to look at a person as just that and not put them down for not being “disabled enough.” Just because they have an invisible disability does not mean it doesn’t deserve the attention or awareness physical disabilities get. Why? Because disability and invisible disability are the same. Yes, they are different, but they are both disabilities that matter, no matter what. Once people realize that, I think invisible disabilities will be taken more seriously.


A woman who sees your invisible disabilities

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Getty image by Zhao Jian Kang.

Originally published: December 11, 2017
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