Don’t Judge A Book By The Cover

Photo by: Brooke Cagle @

The despicable way people are treated who have an invisible illness has become a common occurrence lately and something that really gets on my nerves. It isn’t something that I really thought about until I was diagnosed with an invisible chronic illness called Fibromyalgia.  This atrocious behavior occurs on a daily basis to, not only me, but many others.

The second I park in that handicap parking space, with a parking pass I am judged, and so are others, by the way I look when I step out of the vehicle. It ranges from being stared at, to the annoyed shake of a head to show their dissatisfaction at you. Sometimes people use even bolder and more hostile approaches of leaving nasty notes on your car. I will never forget where a man came up to me, my mother, and my little sister and started yelling and berating us for daring to use a handicap parking space since we “obviously” weren’t elderly and handicapped. That particular hostile encounter had him so outraged and volatile that we weren’t sure if he was going to get physical.

A lot of people think that if you can’t see anything wrong with someone or they don’t look “old enough”, they must not be using a valid pass or are taking advantage of the system in some way.  They don’t think about the fact that the person they are judging may not have a cane or some physical issue that can be seen by the naked eye. However, there are many symptoms that can be invisible such as fatigue, vision impairments, and debilitating pain among many other invisible factors that are limiting this person from doing simple things that people take advantage of every day.

Every day those with a chronic invisible illness are judged for being tardy, cancelling plans, and not doing the things that they used to just because they physically look fine. An invisible illness can range from arthritis, headaches, Migraines, Fibromyalgia and Myofascial pain syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, mental illness and many others .

So the next time you stop to judge someone maybe think twice and give them the benefit of the doubt that maybe there is something going on that you can’t see but that is affecting them so drastically that it has literally changed the way they have to live their life.


Learn more about Fibromyalgia 

Photo by: Brooke Cagle @

Author: Crystal Gard

I’m a 30 year old Canadian with 3 adorable cats! I’m an avid reader, scrapbooker, blogger, crafter including jewelery making , mixed media art, and watercolour art, among many others and of course cat lover!


40 thoughts on “Don’t Judge A Book By The Cover

  1. I’m sorry that you are having to deal with this. I know that I’ve been guilty from time to time of this (watching people that park in handicapped spots) and I need to not worry about it. I can’t imagine the feeling that you go through. I will try to do a better job about it in the future!

  2. Girl, I completely know how you feel here. I have been living with Lupus for years and I don’t know how many times I have been told “…but you look fine.” If only they knew. I have definitely heard “you aren’t old enough to be that sick” as well lol.
    We live in a society these days where everyone is so quick to judge anyway, and so slow to step back and think. It is a sad truth for those of us living with an invisible illness. I really wish that people would take the time to be mindful and step back to think that there may be something going on that they weren’t aware of. Unfortunately, it’s so popular these days to be harsh. We definitely need a little more kindness in the world.

  3. wow very valid point. Most people think handicap parking is for the physically injured or the old people. But as you said you never really know what is going on in someones life. Very powerful post.

  4. I’m sorry that you are going through so much in your life. My little sister has charge syndrom and has a handy cap sticker and people look at her and judge her all of the time. It’s so hard.

  5. I don’t know why people can’t just be kind to each other. It’s not a competition… I’ve shared the same experience with my Myasthenia Gravis (a form of MS) but I mostly just shrug it off. People just don’t get it that not every disability comes with a bright red tag to point it out.

  6. As a sufferer of CPTSD, I get this myself. People don’t understand why I’m “so negative” or “don’t want to do anything,” and why sometimes I just CAN’T “look on the bright side.” Invisible illness is a jerk.

  7. Elizabeth O. says:

    I agree with this post so much. People just judge too quickly without even trying to understand why others act a certain way.

  8. I’m so sorry you’ve been judged. I have a dear friend who has hearing problems and he, too, gets judged so many times whenever we’re parking in the mall, or queuing in banks.

    People has this tendency of looking at the negative side rather than be forgiving for the things that they couldn’t see or understand.

  9. Robin Rue says:

    This is one of the biggest things that bothers me. You never know what someone might be dealing with even if you can not physically see it.

  10. Having an invisible illness can be so hard. Not only do many people not know about it if you are a private person like myself. Or they know little to know actual facts about it. I fell like everyone is always giving me ways to be “cured”.

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