Happy Friday, have a great weekend!

Hidden Disabilities

If you can’t see it then it must not be real. I find this to be true of how people perceive individuals with hidden disabilities.  This is far from the case.  Much like a person with a disability would like to be seen as a whole and not their disability, sometimes people with hidden disabilities wish theirs showed.  This sounds so strange to say.  Wishing that theirs’ could be a visible manifestation of a disability?  How could someone possibly prefer that to looking like what society deems as normal?

Growing up with unseen disabilities I often wished that people could see what was hidden in my brain.  I even thought at times I would rather have a disfigurement, because credence was not given to my needs for accommodations.  Society bases their treatment on others appearance quickly. Things that come simple to others like spelling are taken for granted. It is often perceived as a sign of ignorance, carelessness, and poor education.

Imagine being afraid to you use your extensive vocabulary because you fear being judged.  I see it daily in social media attacks on people with poor spelling.  I have been on the receiving end of this as well.  For me this is such shameful fault.  It is shameful because of how society has reprimanded others for the same faults.  How my statistics graduate school professor took off 5 points for spelling on a math paper that spell check missed and had nothing to do with my ability to do the math.   I was going through Vocational Rehabilitation at that time too and using special accommodations at school as well.   Or the mental health agency that didn’t have any concern for my panic attacks even though that was the how they made their money.

For those with visible disabilities it can be misconstrued that they aren’t as capable as others.  For someone with a hidden disability society expects them to behave, learn, and have the same tolerances that those without disabilities have.  Each disability comes with its own set of challenges.  Society is always judging and always has expectations.  Leading us to explain our disabilities, often sounding as if we are making excuses for why we aren’t capable.  We need to remember just how debilitating the unseen can be.  How diabetes, mental illness, learning disabilities, heart conditions, and seizure disorders among others can effect how we interact with the world.  We aren’t less capable.  We aren’t making excuses.  We are simply explaining facts.  Looking for collaboration and patience on how to cope with them and be successful.

Why is it so easy for society to dismiss the unseen?

-Cooper W.