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What You Don't Know About That 'Lazy' Teen Taking Up Disability Seating on the Bus

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You see me take a seat in the disability seating on the bus and on the train. You give me a disgusted look because you don’t see anything wrong with me.

You don’t see the exhaustion I am fighting to keep myself upright.

You don’t see the three layers of clothing under the winter jacket to try and keep me warm because while you may be OK in a light jacket and jeans in 60-degree weather my circulation is awful and I am freezing.

You don’t see the 32-ounce water bottle I keep with me to keep myself hydrated so I don’t pass out on my way to my doctors.

You don’t see the list of medications that rivals my grandparents’ that I have to keep with me at all times in case I pass out or have an episode.

You see a teenager sitting in a place set for someone you perceive as disabled when in fact I am disabled. You just can’t see it.

I drink a gallon or more of water a day, take 12 medications and have to eat triple the amount of salt that you do. I constantly monitor my heart and blood pressure so I can provide a record for all of the various doctors I see.

I’m not allowed to drive in case I pass out behind the wheel or I twitch and swerve into something. So I take the bus the train or get a ride. My family and friends keep a list of my medications with them or know where I keep mine.

I don’t get to go to work or school like a “normal” person. When I work I have to sit often or find a task I can sit and do. I have to keep water with me at all times and check my heart rate. I have to take breaks and hope if I’m lucky my boss will understand when I call out on a bad day.

When I was in high school I had to get rides across campus to get to my classes and use the elevator instead of taking the stairs. The nurse and I were friends as I was in the her room often. I regularly missed school to go to doctors or was sent home due to problems with my heart rate and blood pressure.

You don’t see these things. You see a teen sitting in the disabled spaces provided because she’s too lazy to walk further.

I have dysautonomia, but in your eyes there is nothing wrong with me because you can’t see it.

It is invisible, and unfortunately for me until more people listen and learn, I am stuck getting nasty looks for looking healthy, when in fact I am not at all. I am anything but.

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Thinkstock photo by Lorenzo Patoia

Originally published: December 8, 2016
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