Monday, June 11, 2018

Living with invisible disabilities

So many people have disabilities that no one else knows about, and that is something that can be very frustrating. When you are around other people, take a look around and notice what you see, and you will probably not notice the disabilities that people have. I know that some disabilities are easy to see and those are the ones that most people understand, and they are talked about.

An invisible disability can be something that occurred to an individual, or it is something that they have dealt with all of their lives. Some examples of invisible disabilities are:
  • brain injuries,
  • chronic pain
  • arthritis
  • mental illness
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • migraines
  • fibromyalgia
  • and there are many more

For a lot of people, these are issues that cannot be seen by others and therefore something that cannot be dealt with easily. I was recently talking to someone about being able to hold a handrailing on some stairs and the comment was “everyone can do that” my reply was “not everyone can do that all the time, and I am one of those individuals”. Sure, I look like I have normal hand strength, but that is something that I no longer have. I have issues with both of my wrists like a lot of other people do and I no longer have the strength some days to do the simple things that a lot of people take for granted. After a very long conversation with this individual, they finally understood that I can’t always do what you say everyone can do.

When I mention some of the simple things that I cannot do all the time it shows that I may look like everyone else, but there are times that I cannot function like everyone else and here are some examples:
  • Opening a bottle of water or pop – now this is something that I admit can vary from day to day and that is what makes it hard. Sure, there are days when I can get that bottle opened without any issues, and then there are the days that trying to twist that top off can be a challenge.
  • Picking up a glass – this sounds simple enough, but again there are days when I have to be extremely careful how I pick it up because my hands just don’t work the way that they normally do.
  • Lifting up something – there are days when I can lift my laptop without any issues, and then there are the days that it feels like I am lifting a ton of weight. It is nice that I don’t have to move my computer around very often as it means that the lifting of it is limited, and then I do need to carry a laptop with me, I normally have a smaller and lighter one that I can use.
  • Typing on the computer – there are days when the simple task of sitting and working on the computer can be a challenge because the fingers just don’t want to work. This can be extremely frustrating when you are trying to get something done, especially when there is a deadline, and you can’t get the words down you need to get down. Most days I can type without any issues, but on the days that I have problems, I just simply true on the speech recognition problem on the computer and let it do the typing for me.

Now before anyone says that I must have done something to cause this problem, it isn’t true. I am an individual that has very small wrists, so the tunnels that the nerves go through are extremely small. I have been told by various doctors that sure maybe some of the problems is due to what I like doing, but the biggest issue isn’t the repetitive action, it is just how my wrists are. When I am doing things that require some lifting, I wear braces to ensure that I don’t cause more damage to the wrists, but again it is just an aid for me.

I am writing this as it is something that I have had to deal with for quite a number of years. Yes, I look like there is nothing wrong with me and I can do the jobs like everyone else, but there are days when the simple tasks don’t seem to be so simple for me. I am just one person that has this issue, but I also know that I am not alone with this issue. Of course, it is invisible, so it isn’t something that people see so not something that is easy to talk about. When someone says everyone can do a specific task and I know that there are days that I can't, I make sure that I start the conversation to ensure that they understand that making that statement isn’t true and until you know everyone’s issue or situation, you cannot use the blanket statements.

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