Jessica Mary Logan

@jessicamarywright | contributor
I have 3 main invisible illnesses and disabilities (IBD, CFS and Mental health) along with some others. I aim to raise awareness of invisible illnesses and disabilities to hopefully one day stop discrimination. I run a number of projects through www.makingtheinvisiblevisible.org.uk

What Real Disability Inclusion Looks Like in Fashion Marketing

Some brands are lying about their inclusion when in fact they are exploiting us for their own greed. Brands are NOT inclusive if they are just throwing freebies at you but not posting your bodies on their main social media pages.They are gaining sales and followers from your advertisement and that’s why they do it. It’s evident they are afraid to show our “real” bodies. Brands are NOT inclusive if you have to have a minimum number of followers to be featured on their site or social media. This again creates more sales to benefit them. Having real people is what should matter to them. Brands are NOT inclusive if they just focus on one disability, for example, only using those in wheelchairs or those with stomas.They should be doing their research and use their following to gather more representation. Brands are NOT inclusive if they don’t think about the vulnerability of others. They should be supportive rather than seeing someone as just a number. More needs to be done by these brands who have the power to create change by paving the way and breaking the mold. True representation is needed to help those struggling with body confidence and to break down beauty standards for our future generations. One perfect body does NOT exist, because we are all perfect in our own unique way.

How Chronic Illness and Grief Are Connected

I remember attending my first counseling session after my stoma surgery and being told they couldn’t provide the right form of counseling via the NHS because I needed a form of grief counseling. I never considered I was experiencing a form of grief. I had always linked that to losing a loved one, but if you really think about it, it makes perfect sense. At the time I had lost the health I once had and parts of my body I thought we had to live with (my colon had been removed due to acute severe ulcerative colitis). And I’m still grieving today. I regularly feel guilty for not being able to do the things I used to (even simple tasks around the house) and this makes me feel like a burden to those around me. People have always taken health for granted until it’s gone and it’s not in our control to change. Grieving is something that becomes regular for someone living with a chronic illness/disability. As much as we try not to think about life in the past, it’s only natural to do this. Especially when you’ve lost so much freedom. I also try my hardest not to compare my life to others because everyone’s journey is different. It’s one of the reasons I don’t scroll posts on social media because as much as I try, it’s impossible not to. I love that people are living a better life after their surgeries/challenges they’ve faced, but it makes me question why my outcome was different. Why my story can’t have a positive ending. For me personally, I’ve always been extremely ambitious, which is probably why I now run Making the Invisible Visible and take part in pageants. It gives me a sense of purpose to give back to others. I miss working and find it hard seeing others moan about going to work when I don’t have that privilege anymore. I regularly feel trapped in my own home. I lost everything I had worked hard for. At the age of 19 my banking career began. I moved into a rented house with my ex-partner and knew my two part-time jobs wouldn’t be enough to cover our bills. So I decided to start my full-time career early whilst completing the final seven months of my college course. It was time and energy consuming but I didn’t want to give up. After finishing my full-time course all with distinctions, I started to focus on career progression and took on whatever overtime was available to save for a house deposit. I worked a whole month straight at one point (I don’t know how). It all paid off, and at the age of 22 (three years later), I became a manager in my department and bought my first home (achieving two of my dreams in life). My old relationship fell apart for a bunch of reasons, but he definitely struggled to accept my success. I’m now with the love of my life who has stood by my side through the toughest challenges in my life. Just before my 25th birthday, my health started to take a turn for the worst and I was fighting for my life a few months later. We were in the process of buying our forever family home and planning our wedding day. I had to sign our solicitor paperwork from my hospital bed as we were about to lose the house. But we achieved those dreams of ours. We moved in a month after my second emergency surgery and our wedding went ahead the following year. My third most invasive surgery was even held off for this. One dream we’ve had to accept may not ever happen is our plans for children. It’s possible my surgeries could have impacted my fertility. I’ve had friends offer to be surrogates and talk about adoption, but that’s not even our biggest hurdle right now. Realistically we are unable to try for children. I can’t get out of bed most days or when I can, I struggle to do basic stuff.My husband and mom have become my carers. So I have to accept that I wouldn’t be able to raise a child whilst my husband provides for us. Our children would be neglected (not intentionally), which hurts to say but it’s true. I held onto hope that I’d return to better health after my recovery, but we’re coming up to five years and in all honestly it’s hard to stay hopeful because you have to be realistic too. You have to come to terms with your life being different to what it once was/everything you envisioned it would be. You have to accept that this is out of your control and no matter how much you try, it won’t change the outcome. You have to learn that working harder can actually have a further impact on your health which really isn’t worth it. Some of us also have to comes to terms with drastic changes to our bodies whilst society doesn’t deem us as beautiful. You have to fight past feeling alone or unworthy due to the lack of representation in media. I would like to say this grief ends but I’m unsure if it does (come back to me in the future on this one). What I do know is that this grief is perfectly normal.

13 Misconceptions About Having an Ostomy

There are a large number of misconceptions around ostomies. I want to help educate those who don’t live with one and/or may need one in the future.I had one between 2017-2018 and it was a new and challenging experience.So hopefully this can help some people. 1. “An ostomy is only for old people.” This is incorrect. I had my ostomy at the age of 25 and have met numerous people of all ages with them, including children. 2. “An ostomy bag smells.” Unless a bag is faulty or the person’s had a leak, you can only smell an ostomy bag when it’s being emptied or changed. The bags are designed to contain the odor, so it’s just like someone nipping to the loo to have a “normal” poo. 3. “Ostomy bags always leak.” I was never warned about bag leaks when having my stoma so I was mortified when the first one happened. Making sure you empty regularly and eating the right foods for your stomach can help this, as can ensuring you find the right products for you. There are a large number of brands that make different ostomy bags and also products to help keep them attached. For many people, finding the right product prevents leaks from happening. 4. “An ostomy is just for poo.” There are actually three forms of ostomies. Two are for feces (ileostomy and colostomy) and one is for urine (urostomy). They are made from different body parts, and depend on your condition, what you’ve had removed (if anything) and why you need it. 5. “You can’t live a normal life with an ostomy.” Many people live a full life after ostomy surgery. It can prevent issues they had prior to their surgery and enable them to have a higher quality of life. I’ve met people who ice skate, have skydived and a number of other activities. 6. “You can’t wear normal clothes with an ostomy.” I wore the same clothes I had prior to my ostomy surgery. Your stoma is usually sited personally to you. However, there are lots of standard clothing items out there that can work for your ostomy bag and they disguise it well so you can’t tell someone has one. 7. “Your sex life is impacted with an ostomy.” After surgery, you should take things easy, but people go on to have normal sex lives after. It can be hard for people to accept the changes to their bodies, but with support, many can get through this. There are certain types of lingerie or support belts that can disguise the bag for those feeling uncomfortable, and many people pin it out of the way so it doesn’t flap. 8. “People have a choice to go down the route of ostomy surgery.” For some people, it is life or death so they have no choice. I received my diagnosis and was told in the same week I’d need emergency stoma surgery. Not everyone has the time to process it and decide it’s the best option for them. 9. “Ostomy surgery is only performed on cancer patients.” Ostomies are done for a large number of reasons such as birth defects, IBD, endometriosis, chronic constipation and many other reasons. 10. “Ostomies are not permanent.” For many people, an ostomy is a permanent procedure. It’s all subject to the reason it happened, what’s been removed and a number of other factors.Some people do have the choice for a reversal, but they find ostomy life is best for them and that’s completely fine. It doesn’t have to be reversed. 11. “You can’t eat the things you love.” When first having surgery, you need to be careful with certain foods and determine what your body accepts. You are told to avoid foods that can cause blockages such as mushrooms and sweetcorn. You must also chew your food. Some people find they only have to restrict a small number of foods. Everyone is different, though. It’s important to test things gradually and listen to your body. 12. “You can’t drink alcohol.” Everyone is different. Having my colon removed didn’t cause it to have a different effect on me but for others, it can. Alcohol can act as a natural laxative, so it’s important to manage your hydration and watch your output. 13. “Surgery makes you become infertile.” This is something I asked my surgeons. It puts you at higher risk of infertility, but they’ve seen many people go on to have children without complications. You can also have a normal pregnancy with an ostomy bag. It’s important that we educate others on what could be hidden underneath a “normal” appearance. By addressing myths about living with an ostomy, we can help end stigma and misunderstandings.

Reasons Why It's Not OK to Ask Someone When They Are Having a Baby

It’s not OK to ask, “when are you going to have a child?” This simple question has such an impact on too many people for numerous reasons including that it can be extremely heartbreaking. You don’t know what someone else has gone through or is going through. It can also be frustrating. There is no set plan in life for people to follow. This is their choice and you shouldn’t question it. I understand sometimes it’s general chitchat but if that’s the case rephrase the question to something like, “Do you plan to have …” Be aware you may be put into an uncomfortable situation as their story behind it could be very upsetting. And they don’t have to answer it. This topic is sensitive to many people and is also a very personal question, so I would find something else to chitchat about. There are so many different stories as to why people don’t have children or more. These situations relate to men and women. They could be the 1 in every 6 couples that have trouble conceiving, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Every time they try, they will see that negative pregnancy test and break down. IVF could have been refused, unsuccessful or too expensive. They could have experienced miscarriage after miscarriage. With their chances of having their first child / more children crumbling away. They could be a victim of domestic or sexual abuse. Maybe physical contact is still traumatic. Maybe they had to have an abortion in the past because of this. Many people who are sexually abused blame themselves. They could have health issues impacting their fertility, their capability to raise a child or it could be too dangerous for them to get pregnant. Not having a child or more could be a decision they have to make or maybe they never had the choice. Some woman may have even had a hysterectomy or had chemotherapy. They could have experienced a traumatic birth and be too scared to go through it again. They could also be suffering with PTSD or postnatal depression. They could have lost a child and not want to go through the heart break of raising another or it could have been a stillbirth, which the CDC reports affects 1 in 160 pregnancies. They could feel guilt, that they are replacing the one they lost. They may not be ready for children. Whether they don’t feel the relationship is ready for that next step, they are working on their career, they don’t feel mentally ready for the commitment or they don’t feel financially ready. That is OK. There is no set timeframe to have a child. So don’t push them. I’m pretty sure they already know fertility reduces with age so you don’t need to tell them time is ticking. Did you know that according to the CDC, more women are giving birth in their 40s? They may not want children, or more children, and that’s OK too. Not everyone has to have children and you don’t have to have more than one. It doesn’t make them any less of a person and an only child doesn’t have a bad upbringing. Let them have as many children as they want whether that’s none, one or seven. It’s their business. Some may not enjoy sex, which we all know is needed to make babies. It can be too painful or their sex drives could be low. Whether it’s a health issue, medication or just in general. Did you know that sex doesn’t interest some people and that is OK. Again it’s their choice. It may seem different to you, but it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. The list goes on …. There are many reasons why you should never ask this question and hopefully I’ve highlighted some important ones for you to think about. You’d be quite surprised how often loved ones ask these questions despite knowing your personal circumstances. For myself and my husband, we get … When will you be having babies? Who will have one first (him or his sister)? Why aren’t you trying? Why don’t you try other routes? At the age of 28 I never thought I’d be in my current situation and I find it heartbreaking. I feel like I’ve let myself, my husband and my parents down. I always wanted children by the age of 23 but I wasn’t in the right relationship at first and I had only just got with Dale (my husband) at that time. I accepted it wasn’t the right timeline for me and set another goal to have my first child at 26. I already had the career and a house of our own so we were financially ready, however I knew Dale wasn’t mentally ready and our relationship was new so it wasn’t right to make that big step then.Having children is a big commitment, no matter how ready you feel you are. We were planning to try for children after we got married (I’d be 25 and Dale would be 29) but the year before, my health started deteriorating. I was in the hospital close to death and in the space of a year had four major bowel operations. Along with my gynecological problems this makes my fertility questionable. I wonder if I will ever be able to conceive. So why don’t I try? Did you know there’s other routes? I’ve always said I’d adopt if I couldn’t conceive but my health has continued to deteriorate. I am unable to get out of bed most days so it would be impossible for me to raise a child. I also had to give up my career so financially we wouldn’t be able to manage. I find this extremely hard to accept … knowing I may never have children is soul destroying. It’s one thing I’ve always dreamed of and I was ready to achieve. But right now it’s not our time. You shouldn’t need justification on someone’s personal life. It’s also not OK to ask when someone is getting engaged, married, moving out, changing jobs etc. These are all personal goals and that is none of our business. Support them on whatever route they choose. It’s their journey not yours. Follow this journey on Making the Invisible Visible.

Reasons Why It's Not OK to Ask Someone When They Are Having a Baby

It’s not OK to ask, “when are you going to have a child?” This simple question has such an impact on too many people for numerous reasons including that it can be extremely heartbreaking. You don’t know what someone else has gone through or is going through. It can also be frustrating. There is no set plan in life for people to follow. This is their choice and you shouldn’t question it. I understand sometimes it’s general chitchat but if that’s the case rephrase the question to something like, “Do you plan to have …” Be aware you may be put into an uncomfortable situation as their story behind it could be very upsetting. And they don’t have to answer it. This topic is sensitive to many people and is also a very personal question, so I would find something else to chitchat about. There are so many different stories as to why people don’t have children or more. These situations relate to men and women. They could be the 1 in every 6 couples that have trouble conceiving, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Every time they try, they will see that negative pregnancy test and break down. IVF could have been refused, unsuccessful or too expensive. They could have experienced miscarriage after miscarriage. With their chances of having their first child / more children crumbling away. They could be a victim of domestic or sexual abuse. Maybe physical contact is still traumatic. Maybe they had to have an abortion in the past because of this. Many people who are sexually abused blame themselves. They could have health issues impacting their fertility, their capability to raise a child or it could be too dangerous for them to get pregnant. Not having a child or more could be a decision they have to make or maybe they never had the choice. Some woman may have even had a hysterectomy or had chemotherapy. They could have experienced a traumatic birth and be too scared to go through it again. They could also be suffering with PTSD or postnatal depression. They could have lost a child and not want to go through the heart break of raising another or it could have been a stillbirth, which the CDC reports affects 1 in 160 pregnancies. They could feel guilt, that they are replacing the one they lost. They may not be ready for children. Whether they don’t feel the relationship is ready for that next step, they are working on their career, they don’t feel mentally ready for the commitment or they don’t feel financially ready. That is OK. There is no set timeframe to have a child. So don’t push them. I’m pretty sure they already know fertility reduces with age so you don’t need to tell them time is ticking. Did you know that according to the CDC, more women are giving birth in their 40s? They may not want children, or more children, and that’s OK too. Not everyone has to have children and you don’t have to have more than one. It doesn’t make them any less of a person and an only child doesn’t have a bad upbringing. Let them have as many children as they want whether that’s none, one or seven. It’s their business. Some may not enjoy sex, which we all know is needed to make babies. It can be too painful or their sex drives could be low. Whether it’s a health issue, medication or just in general. Did you know that sex doesn’t interest some people and that is OK. Again it’s their choice. It may seem different to you, but it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. The list goes on …. There are many reasons why you should never ask this question and hopefully I’ve highlighted some important ones for you to think about. You’d be quite surprised how often loved ones ask these questions despite knowing your personal circumstances. For myself and my husband, we get … When will you be having babies? Who will have one first (him or his sister)? Why aren’t you trying? Why don’t you try other routes? At the age of 28 I never thought I’d be in my current situation and I find it heartbreaking. I feel like I’ve let myself, my husband and my parents down. I always wanted children by the age of 23 but I wasn’t in the right relationship at first and I had only just got with Dale (my husband) at that time. I accepted it wasn’t the right timeline for me and set another goal to have my first child at 26. I already had the career and a house of our own so we were financially ready, however I knew Dale wasn’t mentally ready and our relationship was new so it wasn’t right to make that big step then.Having children is a big commitment, no matter how ready you feel you are. We were planning to try for children after we got married (I’d be 25 and Dale would be 29) but the year before, my health started deteriorating. I was in the hospital close to death and in the space of a year had four major bowel operations. Along with my gynecological problems this makes my fertility questionable. I wonder if I will ever be able to conceive. So why don’t I try? Did you know there’s other routes? I’ve always said I’d adopt if I couldn’t conceive but my health has continued to deteriorate. I am unable to get out of bed most days so it would be impossible for me to raise a child. I also had to give up my career so financially we wouldn’t be able to manage. I find this extremely hard to accept … knowing I may never have children is soul destroying. It’s one thing I’ve always dreamed of and I was ready to achieve. But right now it’s not our time. You shouldn’t need justification on someone’s personal life. It’s also not OK to ask when someone is getting engaged, married, moving out, changing jobs etc. These are all personal goals and that is none of our business. Support them on whatever route they choose. It’s their journey not yours. Follow this journey on Making the Invisible Visible.

Reasons Why It's Not OK to Ask Someone When They Are Having a Baby

It’s not OK to ask, “when are you going to have a child?” This simple question has such an impact on too many people for numerous reasons including that it can be extremely heartbreaking. You don’t know what someone else has gone through or is going through. It can also be frustrating. There is no set plan in life for people to follow. This is their choice and you shouldn’t question it. I understand sometimes it’s general chitchat but if that’s the case rephrase the question to something like, “Do you plan to have …” Be aware you may be put into an uncomfortable situation as their story behind it could be very upsetting. And they don’t have to answer it. This topic is sensitive to many people and is also a very personal question, so I would find something else to chitchat about. There are so many different stories as to why people don’t have children or more. These situations relate to men and women. They could be the 1 in every 6 couples that have trouble conceiving, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Every time they try, they will see that negative pregnancy test and break down. IVF could have been refused, unsuccessful or too expensive. They could have experienced miscarriage after miscarriage. With their chances of having their first child / more children crumbling away. They could be a victim of domestic or sexual abuse. Maybe physical contact is still traumatic. Maybe they had to have an abortion in the past because of this. Many people who are sexually abused blame themselves. They could have health issues impacting their fertility, their capability to raise a child or it could be too dangerous for them to get pregnant. Not having a child or more could be a decision they have to make or maybe they never had the choice. Some woman may have even had a hysterectomy or had chemotherapy. They could have experienced a traumatic birth and be too scared to go through it again. They could also be suffering with PTSD or postnatal depression. They could have lost a child and not want to go through the heart break of raising another or it could have been a stillbirth, which the CDC reports affects 1 in 160 pregnancies. They could feel guilt, that they are replacing the one they lost. They may not be ready for children. Whether they don’t feel the relationship is ready for that next step, they are working on their career, they don’t feel mentally ready for the commitment or they don’t feel financially ready. That is OK. There is no set timeframe to have a child. So don’t push them. I’m pretty sure they already know fertility reduces with age so you don’t need to tell them time is ticking. Did you know that according to the CDC, more women are giving birth in their 40s? They may not want children, or more children, and that’s OK too. Not everyone has to have children and you don’t have to have more than one. It doesn’t make them any less of a person and an only child doesn’t have a bad upbringing. Let them have as many children as they want whether that’s none, one or seven. It’s their business. Some may not enjoy sex, which we all know is needed to make babies. It can be too painful or their sex drives could be low. Whether it’s a health issue, medication or just in general. Did you know that sex doesn’t interest some people and that is OK. Again it’s their choice. It may seem different to you, but it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. The list goes on …. There are many reasons why you should never ask this question and hopefully I’ve highlighted some important ones for you to think about. You’d be quite surprised how often loved ones ask these questions despite knowing your personal circumstances. For myself and my husband, we get … When will you be having babies? Who will have one first (him or his sister)? Why aren’t you trying? Why don’t you try other routes? At the age of 28 I never thought I’d be in my current situation and I find it heartbreaking. I feel like I’ve let myself, my husband and my parents down. I always wanted children by the age of 23 but I wasn’t in the right relationship at first and I had only just got with Dale (my husband) at that time. I accepted it wasn’t the right timeline for me and set another goal to have my first child at 26. I already had the career and a house of our own so we were financially ready, however I knew Dale wasn’t mentally ready and our relationship was new so it wasn’t right to make that big step then.Having children is a big commitment, no matter how ready you feel you are. We were planning to try for children after we got married (I’d be 25 and Dale would be 29) but the year before, my health started deteriorating. I was in the hospital close to death and in the space of a year had four major bowel operations. Along with my gynecological problems this makes my fertility questionable. I wonder if I will ever be able to conceive. So why don’t I try? Did you know there’s other routes? I’ve always said I’d adopt if I couldn’t conceive but my health has continued to deteriorate. I am unable to get out of bed most days so it would be impossible for me to raise a child. I also had to give up my career so financially we wouldn’t be able to manage. I find this extremely hard to accept … knowing I may never have children is soul destroying. It’s one thing I’ve always dreamed of and I was ready to achieve. But right now it’s not our time. You shouldn’t need justification on someone’s personal life. It’s also not OK to ask when someone is getting engaged, married, moving out, changing jobs etc. These are all personal goals and that is none of our business. Support them on whatever route they choose. It’s their journey not yours. Follow this journey on Making the Invisible Visible.

Why Being Questioned About Our Invisible Disabilities Is So Harmful

It often feels like no one believes you have an invisible illness, or they doubt the severity of it because they can’t see it. Here are some of the things we hear: “You don’t look sick.” “Clearly, you’re faking it.” “You were fine yesterday, so why are you canceling today?” “You’re too young to be that ill.” “It’s all in your head.” “But you’re smiling, so you can’t be in pain.” “Surely your medication will treat it.” “At least it’s not cancer.” “Change your diet and you’ll be fine.” “I feel like that too.” “Why don’t you exercise or do yoga?” “Focus on changing your mindset.” “You are just lazy.” “Stop attention-seeking.” “Just forget what happened.” “It would help if you lost/gained weight.” “That can’t be right as _____ has it and they are fine.” “The list goes on and on.” Living with an illness/disability is physically and mentally challenging. It can take things away from you and make you feel worthless. Those with an invisible illness or disability seem to get forgotten about, especially in the media, even with their inclusivity campaigns. Where are the stoma bags? Feeding tubes? Insulin ports? We get discriminated against when using disabled toilets or parking when we have the right to use them, so awareness is extremely important. Many people struggle to go out in public because of this. Just because we use no visible aids does not mean we aren’t struggling inside. You don’t have to fully understand our conditions, but at least try. Provide us with support instead of tearing us down. We can feel so alone, which is why our own acceptance is important, but it’s hard to do that if the world around us is judging. Sometimes living a normal life can be difficult and the support we are provided is limited. PIP/ESA assessors (U.K. disability support) don’t fully understand our hidden fight, which can be really frustrating because they assume we are fit and healthy. I’m sure most of our insides would tell a different story. My PIP was refused on my reassessment because I was smiling and opened a curtain so I was physically and mentally fine in their eyes. That wasn’t the case, though — I was having a good day. I’ve also become a pro at hiding my pain, like many others. Thank goodness I won my appeal, because we are not eligible for a council tax reduction, universal credit and support with our mortgage despite my husband being on minimum wage. People with invisible disabilities don’t choose to have this life! It was given to us and we do our best. You cannot change the cards you are dealt, just the way you play the hand. Please be kind.

Why Being Questioned About Our Invisible Disabilities Is So Harmful

It often feels like no one believes you have an invisible illness, or they doubt the severity of it because they can’t see it. Here are some of the things we hear: “You don’t look sick.” “Clearly, you’re faking it.” “You were fine yesterday, so why are you canceling today?” “You’re too young to be that ill.” “It’s all in your head.” “But you’re smiling, so you can’t be in pain.” “Surely your medication will treat it.” “At least it’s not cancer.” “Change your diet and you’ll be fine.” “I feel like that too.” “Why don’t you exercise or do yoga?” “Focus on changing your mindset.” “You are just lazy.” “Stop attention-seeking.” “Just forget what happened.” “It would help if you lost/gained weight.” “That can’t be right as _____ has it and they are fine.” “The list goes on and on.” Living with an illness/disability is physically and mentally challenging. It can take things away from you and make you feel worthless. Those with an invisible illness or disability seem to get forgotten about, especially in the media, even with their inclusivity campaigns. Where are the stoma bags? Feeding tubes? Insulin ports? We get discriminated against when using disabled toilets or parking when we have the right to use them, so awareness is extremely important. Many people struggle to go out in public because of this. Just because we use no visible aids does not mean we aren’t struggling inside. You don’t have to fully understand our conditions, but at least try. Provide us with support instead of tearing us down. We can feel so alone, which is why our own acceptance is important, but it’s hard to do that if the world around us is judging. Sometimes living a normal life can be difficult and the support we are provided is limited. PIP/ESA assessors (U.K. disability support) don’t fully understand our hidden fight, which can be really frustrating because they assume we are fit and healthy. I’m sure most of our insides would tell a different story. My PIP was refused on my reassessment because I was smiling and opened a curtain so I was physically and mentally fine in their eyes. That wasn’t the case, though — I was having a good day. I’ve also become a pro at hiding my pain, like many others. Thank goodness I won my appeal, because we are not eligible for a council tax reduction, universal credit and support with our mortgage despite my husband being on minimum wage. People with invisible disabilities don’t choose to have this life! It was given to us and we do our best. You cannot change the cards you are dealt, just the way you play the hand. Please be kind.

Why Being Questioned About Our Invisible Disabilities Is So Harmful

It often feels like no one believes you have an invisible illness, or they doubt the severity of it because they can’t see it. Here are some of the things we hear: “You don’t look sick.” “Clearly, you’re faking it.” “You were fine yesterday, so why are you canceling today?” “You’re too young to be that ill.” “It’s all in your head.” “But you’re smiling, so you can’t be in pain.” “Surely your medication will treat it.” “At least it’s not cancer.” “Change your diet and you’ll be fine.” “I feel like that too.” “Why don’t you exercise or do yoga?” “Focus on changing your mindset.” “You are just lazy.” “Stop attention-seeking.” “Just forget what happened.” “It would help if you lost/gained weight.” “That can’t be right as _____ has it and they are fine.” “The list goes on and on.” Living with an illness/disability is physically and mentally challenging. It can take things away from you and make you feel worthless. Those with an invisible illness or disability seem to get forgotten about, especially in the media, even with their inclusivity campaigns. Where are the stoma bags? Feeding tubes? Insulin ports? We get discriminated against when using disabled toilets or parking when we have the right to use them, so awareness is extremely important. Many people struggle to go out in public because of this. Just because we use no visible aids does not mean we aren’t struggling inside. You don’t have to fully understand our conditions, but at least try. Provide us with support instead of tearing us down. We can feel so alone, which is why our own acceptance is important, but it’s hard to do that if the world around us is judging. Sometimes living a normal life can be difficult and the support we are provided is limited. PIP/ESA assessors (U.K. disability support) don’t fully understand our hidden fight, which can be really frustrating because they assume we are fit and healthy. I’m sure most of our insides would tell a different story. My PIP was refused on my reassessment because I was smiling and opened a curtain so I was physically and mentally fine in their eyes. That wasn’t the case, though — I was having a good day. I’ve also become a pro at hiding my pain, like many others. Thank goodness I won my appeal, because we are not eligible for a council tax reduction, universal credit and support with our mortgage despite my husband being on minimum wage. People with invisible disabilities don’t choose to have this life! It was given to us and we do our best. You cannot change the cards you are dealt, just the way you play the hand. Please be kind.

Why Being Questioned About Our Invisible Disabilities Is So Harmful

It often feels like no one believes you have an invisible illness, or they doubt the severity of it because they can’t see it. Here are some of the things we hear: “You don’t look sick.” “Clearly, you’re faking it.” “You were fine yesterday, so why are you canceling today?” “You’re too young to be that ill.” “It’s all in your head.” “But you’re smiling, so you can’t be in pain.” “Surely your medication will treat it.” “At least it’s not cancer.” “Change your diet and you’ll be fine.” “I feel like that too.” “Why don’t you exercise or do yoga?” “Focus on changing your mindset.” “You are just lazy.” “Stop attention-seeking.” “Just forget what happened.” “It would help if you lost/gained weight.” “That can’t be right as _____ has it and they are fine.” “The list goes on and on.” Living with an illness/disability is physically and mentally challenging. It can take things away from you and make you feel worthless. Those with an invisible illness or disability seem to get forgotten about, especially in the media, even with their inclusivity campaigns. Where are the stoma bags? Feeding tubes? Insulin ports? We get discriminated against when using disabled toilets or parking when we have the right to use them, so awareness is extremely important. Many people struggle to go out in public because of this. Just because we use no visible aids does not mean we aren’t struggling inside. You don’t have to fully understand our conditions, but at least try. Provide us with support instead of tearing us down. We can feel so alone, which is why our own acceptance is important, but it’s hard to do that if the world around us is judging. Sometimes living a normal life can be difficult and the support we are provided is limited. PIP/ESA assessors (U.K. disability support) don’t fully understand our hidden fight, which can be really frustrating because they assume we are fit and healthy. I’m sure most of our insides would tell a different story. My PIP was refused on my reassessment because I was smiling and opened a curtain so I was physically and mentally fine in their eyes. That wasn’t the case, though — I was having a good day. I’ve also become a pro at hiding my pain, like many others. Thank goodness I won my appeal, because we are not eligible for a council tax reduction, universal credit and support with our mortgage despite my husband being on minimum wage. People with invisible disabilities don’t choose to have this life! It was given to us and we do our best. You cannot change the cards you are dealt, just the way you play the hand. Please be kind.