I have an invisible illness. It’s called Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome. The disease is commonly referred to as RSD/CRPS. I speak out about it a lot, so most of my social group knows what it is. However, you wouldn’t be able to tell by just looking at me. Hence, an invisible illness.
Read the Huffington Post article below for another woman’s experience battling ignorance on this topic:
I remember when my illness was at its worst. I was in and out of a wheelchair (I hated that thing, so I was desperate to walk). On the days I tried walking, people were always so surprised and very… vocal about it. I was going to class one day and had just parked my car when a guy in truck pulled over in front of me. He LITERALLY asked me, “How are you parking in a disabled spot if you’re walking? Are you faking it?” I was fuming. I calmly explained to him that I have a disease that causes me immense pain, but I still have the ability to use my legs. He obviously had never met anyone like this before, because he looked skeptical. “Trust me; I’m not faking it. I wish I was,” I told him.
It’s sad, but ignorance like this exists EVERYWHERE. It’s rampant. This phenomenon is further explained here.
It’s already hard for us. 73-year-old amputee Tom Hannah knows this struggle quite well.
For those of you who think you are doing a public service calling out the people who “look normal,” here’s a newsflash for you: you have absolutely no authority. For a fabulous explanation of this, check out this link.
Some people put notes like these on cars that park in disabled spaces that do not have a disabled license plate or placard. Contrary to what some people seem to think, disabled spaces are NOT waiting spaces. Just the other day, I was on campus and a guy had parked his Mercedes Benz sideways across THREE DISABLED SPACES. Nah uh. Get out. Disabled people exist. We need those spaces, often a lot more than you know. A few steps, for me, can change my whole day. Don’t make me wait because you’re too lazy to go elsewhere.
Many people whine about the fines associated with these incidents. Let me repeat myself: DISABLED SPACES ARE NOT WAITING SPACES. Period. We take them seriously, and so does the law. Furthermore, NO; It is not okay to park in these spaces for a few minutes because you were “just running inside to grab something.” It doesn’t matter. Your quick errand is not more important than my health.
For more on invisible illnesses, check out http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/about/