When most people see me, I look “normal”…whatever that is supposed to mean. 🙂
But I’m not. I’ve been dealing with multiple sclerosis (MS) since 1976. I’ve been very blessed in that most of the time it doesn’t really stop me from doing what I want to do–but at the same time, it has also been a challenge.
There are many of us who deal with invisible disabilities, and it’s difficult. Many of us have handicap parking permits or license plates, but we also often get dirty looks when we get out of our cars looking “normal.” Some have even been left nasty notes by individuals who think they are protecting the rights of those who are “really” handicapped.
I look good…but sometimes I am so tired it’s difficult to put one foot in front of the other. Severe fatigue–more than just being exhausted–is a fairly common MS symptom, and it often means that if I want (or need) to go the store by myself, I have to park as close as possible.
Yes, sometimes I wear a brace shoe to keep my foot from dragging. Sometimes I use a cane, walker, wheelchair, or electric mobility cart. (And yes, I have all of those devices at home and use them, depending on the symptoms.)
I have to take a nap every day. It’s not a choice; it’s an issue of my health. I’ve been blessed at work because my supervisor and my coworkers have some understanding of my needs and are willing to let me have the time I need–whether it’s 45 minutes or 1-1/2 hours. Believe me, I do enough work to make up for the sleeping time–often at home at night or on weekends!
I’m blessed with a family and with friends who (mostly) understand that sometimes I just don’t have enough energy to do what I’d really like to do.
I’m glad I look “normal”…glad I look “good.” But I wish that sometimes folks would reserve their judgment as to whether I “deserve” what are sometimes seen as “perks” for those who are handicapped…but who “look so good!”
Looks are often deceiving.