'Invisible disability' - not exactly what it says on the tin
Katy from Invisible i is a youtube creator who has Asperger's Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. She posts videos about her lifestyle and experiences whilst learning to live with diversities and disabilities. Today she talks to us about invisible disabilities.
I've had Fibromyalgia for around 12 years (diagnosed nearly 3 years ago). Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that affects my life in different ways every day. Despite this, Fibromyalgia is one of a group of 'invisible disabilities' otherwise known as 'that group of disabilities that confuses people'.
I am still baffled as to why people don't understand or accept invisible disability. I can only assume that when I tell people I'm disabled they're looking for wheelchairs and bruises and bandages (oh my!). No wonder people assume that my disability is invisible! You wouldn't go to the desert to look for fish so why look for seemingly 'invisible' disability in ways which are plainly visible. But I guess we live in a society where seeing is believing so I want to help others to see my invisible disability. I'm sorry to say, but it doesn't involve wicked sorcery or black magic. It's actually rather simple. Yes, my symptoms may be invisible but my life isn't and it only takes observing one day to see the effect that my disability has.
I certainly don't feel invisible when I park up
and place my blue badge on the dashboard of my car. I get looks from people as
if I've forgotten to put clothes on! They are visibly horrified by the twenty-one
year old taking up a disabled space and look me up and down for any sign of disability.
A blue badge is clearly not enough of a noticeable cue that I'm allowed to park
in a disabled spot. Perhaps showing them the prescription of tablets I am about
to pick up would be a better explanation.
It starts with the obvious gap in the office and extra workload for my co-workers when I've called in sick. Again. Like everyone else, they can't see my Fibromyalgia but my absence is far from invisible to them. The guilt of disappointing my boss is all too familiar and I could never handle this. Before I resigned, work not only had a constant battering on my physical health but took a toll on my mental health too - even if I hadn't stepped foot in the office.
I pull myself out of bed and hear every bone crack, creak and complain. My cloak of invisibility is of no use when people can hear me coming from a mile away! I give myself a telling off because I know I should've been doing my Physiotherapy exercises but it often feels so hopeless. But today I get up, I go downstairs and I motivate myself to stand in my living room and perform these exercises as I was taught. I start doing some gentle squats right in the only space in the room that's big enough and it just so happens to be right front of the window. 'At least I'll entertain the neighbours with this one' I think to myself.
I wish I was invisible when I'm sat in the kitchen watching my mum cook dinner for me. The impact of others caring for me is never too small to see. I sink into the world of social media as a method of escape. I see a selfie from my friends who have met up for drinks. I should be in this photo but instead, I'm invisible. My invisible disability is not all of who I am so why is it making all of me invisible? I know I had texted them that I didn't mind them going without me but I did. I worry that eventually my friends will stop inviting me out because they know what the answer will be. Then I go to bed with nothing but the hope that I can get up and make breakfast for myself in the morning.
I think it's time for people to see invisible disability in a new light (or to simply see it at all!). An 'invisible disability' is a disability that is not immediately apparent and not one that isn't apparent at all. Looking at me may not give you all the answers you need but perhaps if you were to look a little closer, you would see that my invisible disability is not so invisible after all.
Tell us your experience on invisible disability, have you struggled because people don't recognise your impairment. You can also find Katy on facebook.
Katy Gough (invisible i)
Other Social Media
Twitter : www.twitter.com/invisible_i
Instagram : www.instagram/invisible_katy