Having an invisible disability (ID) and/or invisible chronic illness (ICI) means that many things change. Just because you can’t see the changes doesn’t mean they aren’t real.
I read the above sentence on Jamee’s Blog ‘A New Kind of Normal‘ (what a great blog name)and was astounded. I had never heard those terms before. I have both an ID & an ICI.
These situations have, over the years evoked interesting responses in the day-to-day unfolding of life. Because of course disabled people are either children or old people…right?
Parking my car in a disabled car space & before I even get out I often see frowns & disapproval on the faces (of generally older) bystanders.
My children would say things like you better limp mum. I’d think maybe if I clutch my chest.
Once, and yes only once, a woman stopped & spoke to me when I was about to load groceries into my car. ‘You are parked in a disability space’ she informed me.
‘Yes’ I replied, ‘I am disabled, are you going to help me with my groceries?’.
She sucked in air through thin lips and turned away.
I have a friend with a highly visible disability. (Is ‘it’ HVD?)
In one season she was restricted to her wheelchair. We went shopping, she drove (we live in different states & I was visiting) When she parked the car we sat talking until she finally asked
‘Are we going shopping?’
‘That’s why we are here isn’t it?’ I replied ‘but you seem reluctant to go…’
“I’m waiting for you to get my wheelchair out!’
You see I don’t see her disability. I don’t even think about it. Is that because I have known her since ‘before’, or is it because I have a disability?
Technically (even as I write that I have no idea what I mean..) she is more disabled than me, hmm whats does that mean? I guess it means I can do pretty much everything albeit slowly, where as there are some things she cannot do. That being said there is a strange dichotomy: she has far more energy than me.
Picture this: 3 women, all with various disabilities. One paraplegic, one with a gas cylinder & one with an ID (as per the above description)
Place them all in a shopping mall.
The 2 with the visible disabilities are visiting from out-of-state: 1 is dragging a little trolley thing with the required oxygen cylinder, she goes slow but keeps going. The other has 2 walking sticks to steady her progress, she is high energy and an enthusiastic shopper.
The other shopper (me) has no sticks, no cylinder but is slow & tires easily. Plus, I don’t like shopping.
Thus when the afore mentioned shoppers had gathered several packages guess who had to walk all the way back to the car to drop them off? And then walk all the way back, by which time a new collection of purchases was underway.
Appearances can be deceptive.
I might get me this T-shirt.
Melbourne based no pity city
do you live with an ID or an ICI
whats’ your best hint or funniest moment?