LIFESTYLE

People Share The One Thing They Wish Others Knew About Their Disability Or Illness

'Just because you can’t see it, or because I’m fine sometimes, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.'

08/05/2017 15:25 | Updated 08 May 2017

People living with disabilities or illnesses have shared the one thing they wish others knew about their conditions.

In a Reddit thread entitled ‘What do you wish others would know about your disability?’, people shared the misconceptions others often have about them, as well as hard truths detailing the struggles they typically face.

From opening up about the truly debilitating nature of mental illness to detailing the fluctuating nature of cystic fibrosis and its effects on quality of life, here’s what they had to say...

Sladic via Getty Images

On Cystic Fibrosis...

“Cystic fibrosis affects my entire body. My lungs often make everything hurt, and yeah I’m gross with a lot of mucus. I have weeks where my inhaler and treatments and oxygen is not enough to go outside, and I have weeks where I could be a star athlete. I can pass as normal, but I’m constantly exhausted and I’m really trying. Also please stop touching me or slapping my back when I cough.”

On Hearing Difficulties...

“I have a disorder where my hearing is okay (bit low but eh) but my brain can’t process the complex sounds properly all the time. So I cannot understand what people are saying sometimes. Which doesn’t mean scream at me because I misheard your order, it means repeat it once, or let me read your lips. It isn’t worth the agro.”

“I’m hard of hearing and people sometimes worry about me - ‘Can you do this? Can you hear that?’ - and while it’s nice to know that they are thinking about me, I want them to just treat me like anyone else. If I need you to do something for me or an accommodation for an activity don’t worry, I’ll let you know.”

On Chronic Fatigue...

“Chronic fatigue syndrome is so much more than just tiredness. I’ll have days where I’m relatively energetic, but I’m still totally incapacitated by brain fog, muscle pain, and/or flu-like symptoms.”

On Anxiety...

“Generalised anxiety disorder is not just being cute and shy. It’s crying alone in your room at night because you were too scared to ask your teacher for help, because you didn’t want them to think you were an idiot, and then thinking you’ll fail the test. It’s avoiding buying literally anything unless you can get it online or go to self check out, because the mere thought of interacting with a cashier frightens the piss out of you. It’s rocking back and forth in a panic attack because your SO (significant other) hasn’t messaged you in an hour, so something bad had to have happened and they’re either dead or they don’t love you anymore. It’s never telling anyone what you want, or even what you need, because you refuse to be a burden, because you don’t matter that much, because it’s never ‘that big of a deal’ and you can live without it. It’s in your head twenty four fucking seven, a little voice telling you all the ‘what if’s’ and all the worst case scenarios and never leaving you the hell alone. It’s fucking hell on earth and it has ruined my life.”

On Invisible Illness...

“Just because you can’t see it, or because I’m fine sometimes, doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Trust me, I’m not doing this for shits and giggles. Also, that the diagnosis process for an invisible illness can be long and hellish...If you know someone who’s trying to get a diagnosis: support them. Help them do research on possible specialists and/or causes, be there when they need to vent and/or cry after yet another six-month waiting list or fruitless appointment, and let them know they’re not crazy. Every bit of support makes a world of difference.”

On Bipolar Disorder...

“Bipolar disorder doesn’t mean I’m happy one minute, and mad/sad the next. It is a battle of highs and lows that I fight sometimes weekly. I will feel like I have no other option but to lay in bed and try to convince myself that I have reasons to live, then a few weeks later I can’t stop myself from spending rent money on a shopping spree. It is scary and difficult and I do the best I can depending on the day I’m having.”

On Chronic Migraines...

“I don’t know if chronic migraines count as a disability. But they’re so much more than headaches. I’ve spent months at a time in serious pain, partially unable to see and nauseous. I’ve been hospitalised twice and it jeopardised my high school graduation. No regular pain meds work, and I haven’t found any migraine specific rescue meds that work besides one that takes a week in the hospital on an IV.”

On Diabetes...

“My pet peeve is when I tell people I am diabetic [and] they automatically assume its Type 2 and that I must be just eating a tonne of sugar.”

On Depression...

“Depression is not equal to feeling sad. It’s a debilitating feeling, that sucks the will to eat shower work or study. It’s as if all will to live was deflated like a balloon. Suppose it’s not actually a disability, but it can surely disable.”

On Visual Impairment...

“You can be legally blind and not need a cane or a dog to get around. I’ve been legally blind since 2011, slowly losing my vision to a macular disorder without a name.

“To most people my blindness is invisible because I can walk around without help. But I can’t drive, I can’t read most instructions on packaging, or wording on signs and I can’t use a computer without special (awesome) magnification software. I also need a magnifier on my phone for reading small print and a magnification app to make the text on my phone larger. Eventually I may have to retire. But currently I have a good job that supplies me with the magnification software. Allowing me to have some freedom.”

On Obsessive Compulsive Disorder...

“OCD is a mental illness, not a personality quirk. More importantly, it doesn’t have an off switch.”

On Phobias...

“Phobias are real. I know it’s stupid to be afraid of drunk people. I know it’s irrational to cry when someone vomits. I know how much of a fool I must look like to other people when I get a panic attack over a puddle of puke. Really, I know that. But when something like that actually happens, all rationality goes out of the window and my brain gets into alarm mode. If I can’t run away, I’ll get a panic attack. Simple as that. Just because the danger isn’t real doesn’t mean my body’s response isn’t.”

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