What do you think of when you see the word disability? Most people think of someone in a wheelchair or at least a very noticeable physical deformity. My disabilities are hidden. I don’t have just one, but multiples.
Mine include acute asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), fibromyalgia, PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder), social anxiety, major depressive disorder and diabetes. I also have arthritis in my feet, knees and back.
The fibro causes daily pain, which I try to tolerate as best I can. I’m in pain every minute of every day, but very seldom does anyone hear me complain. Because of the COPD, asthma and arthritis, I’m unable to walk more than 15 minutes. Right now the PTSD and depression are controlled by drugs, but the triggers are still around and I fight them daily. I guess the social anxiety has been the hardest for others around me to learn to deal with. This disability makes me want to hide from the world. I’m comfortable being alone.
My computer is my social network. Facebook is my contact with friends, family and complete strangers that feel like family. I can laugh, joke, cry and complain. You will find out more about me here than you would from meeting me. If I’m mad, I vent and all my friends cheer me on. If I’m sad, I cry, and all my friends are there with me.
I’ve had people say that I need to get a job. Others say I need to just suck it up and adjust. Many have said that they don’t see anything wrong with me. Shut your mouth and listen. That small wheeze means I will be gasping for air soon because I got too close to someone with perfume/cologne on. Those flowers look and smell beautiful, but I can only look. Please don’t shove them in my face. Aerosol cans can be deadly for me. If you want to know what that air freshener smells like, warn me in advance or take it outside.
I move slowly. If you can’t wait, don’t shove, just say “excuse me” and I will move over. If I’m having a super bad day with pain or breathing and I use a motorized cart don’t give me your opinion. I will not do pain pills and when you can perform decently in my condition then you can voice your opinion.
Just because you can’t see the disability does not mean it does not exist.