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 @ https://unsplash.com
Author: Crystal Gard
I’m a 29 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!