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Yes, I Really Do Need That Disabled Parking Space

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“You don’t look sick…” This is a common thing spoken by many people. In particular, those who have something smart to say when you park in a disabled parking bay even though you have the blue badge on the front of the car. It can’t be missed. “You’re not supposed to use someone else’s badge” is another thing often heard.

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I am usually too stunned or upset by the outburst of a stranger that I tend not to say anything. But my question would be: “What does sick look like? What do I need to do to make my need of the disabled bay seem more realistic to everyone?”

I get up every day and I use whatever energy I have to get dressed. On my particularly bad days I try harder to do something with my hair (or what I have left as it’s been shaved off as I couldn’t keep up with it) and maybe even apply a bit of makeup. I do this in the hopes of feeling normal, for myself. I don’t do this so I look OK to everyone else. It is nice to hear people say “you look great,” even though I feel like I’m on my death bed. As my mother always says, “The mask works.” My effort of some nice clean clothes, makeup and maybe a nice hairdo is a mask to shield the world from what I should really look like. I don’t want to have to explain to everyone what is wrong with me because I don’t look the best today. I would rather be told I look great and leave it at that. People who look good are never questioned.

But you know, I do need that parking bay even though I look great. Believe me, I don’t feel as well as I look – ever. I have the badge and that is my face on the back of it. It was signed by my doctor who felt I needed it and it was awarded to me because I required it. It helps me more than you will ever know to park in that space when I really need it.

It is nice to hear I look great when I don’t feel that way. But it hurts to be shouted at when I’ve parked my car in a certain spot because you don’t feel I look like I need it. Didn’t anybody ever tell you not to judge a book by its cover?

Photo via st_lux on Getty Images

Originally published: December 28, 2017
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