“You look alright. You look good today.” Inside you might feel like you will die today because you feel so ill. There are many forms of disability. If you were to ask anyone about disability most people would say that people with disabilities have wheelchairs. These disabilities are obvious and noticeable, that is, a WHEELCHAIR is noticeable not the person. Many disabilities are invisible because they exist without the person having a wheelchair. There is a multitude of illnesses that are disabling and have a devastating physical impact causing pain, exhaustion and restricting mobility.
Many disabilities are ignored because:
a) there is no cure
b) only a small percentage of the population are affected
c) it is not contagious
If these conditions apply there is less government research funding available. When it is available it is more likely to be directed into psychological research even if previous research has scientifically proven evidence that there is no psychological component. Money is often wasted in this way.
Things that are unhelpful:
It is not helpful to expect a person with an invisible disability to prove that they have a disability. It is not helpful to be told to “pull up your bootstraps”. It is not helpful to be told that you have no choice about choosing your own medical practitioner to determine your diagnosis to qualify for disability entitlements and assistance. It is unhelpful and disrespectful for a medical practitioner or allied medical professional to tell you that your condition is psychological and to ask you about your childhood when there is ample physiological evidence supporting your disability. Would you like examples of illnesses that have been ignored? Look up Lyme Disease and Myalgic Encephalitus just to name a couple. These are very real debilitating illnesses that anyone can acquire and there is no cure. Next time you are in the shopping centre carpark look at the disability sticker in the front window of the car in the disabled parking bay, not the person, before you think about yelling at them. If you care always avoid using a car space set aside for people with a disability to make it easier for them to be independent.
Written by Carmen Verne