My Illness is NOT a Secret. But why should I explain it to you?

invisible me

This is a photo of me… photo-shopped to make me grey and invisible, as that is how I am feeling right at this moment.  My illness is invisible, however I am not, and this seemingly gives people the right to ridicule me in public, it’s not fair and I want it to end.  Not just for me but everyone who goes through embarrassment like I did today.

I will not use my walking stick just because it provokes your compassion, I will not do anything to the detriment of my own independence, just so you can see my illness and not take the piss out of me.

You wanna know what happened?

OK.

Today, no less than 3 hours ago, I was in the Ramsgate Waitrose store very close to my home (that I traveled to, 1 stop by bus), getting a few bits for dinner this week.  I was having a particularly good day, and went without my walking stick, I knew I would be able to hold onto a trolley in the store, and this is always more helpful than the stick is anyway!  I felt good to get out of the house and mingle in the community a little bit.  I start work again soon, and I’m trying to build my tolerance/strength up.

I haven’t been able to carry a shopping basket for several years due to serious pain building up quickly in my arms.  They are not an option for me so I chose a shallow trolley.

I went to the meat aisle and placed four items into the trolley and went to the checkout, there was a small queue.  I felt ok, calm and relaxed, when the man in front turned, chuckling to himself and said “That’s a bit lazy isn’t it?”.

I looked at him, smiling, bemused…

He went on “Bit lazy isn’t it, all that trolley for those few things?!!”.

I just smiled and shrugged my shoulders.  He didn’t say a word more as he turned and tended to the 3 items he had carried to the checkout.

Normally I would gob off.  Do the… “Actually I have a disability, I can’t hold baskets, it hurts me, holding onto the trolley helps me walk”…. But I didn’t say this, I stood in silence.

Those few chuckled words had reduced me.

Made me feel inadequate.  That man shat all over my good day.

See it was only a few words that normally I could laugh off, explain, educate the misinformed gentleman about my plight and that of thousands others like me.

But in that moment, I was broken, reduced to silence.

I came home and cried.

See my illness really is invisible whilst you can see me.  You see me, Lis, the lady in her mid 30’s, who looks younger, wears eyeliner and modern clothing.  She’s standing in the line, getting shopping for her boyfriend because hes been hard at work and taking care of her for months with little thanks and she wanted to do something nice for him on this sunny Monday afternoon.  He came home to her anger and tears.

Please think next time you see a lazy person, like…

A teen boy in the disabled seat on the bus

A man who gets a taxi just 5 minutes walk down the road

A woman with 2 items in her trolley…

Maybe next time you see a ‘lazy’ person… keep your thoughts invisible too.  Chronic illness, learning disabilities, mental illnesses are very visible when you live with them.

Love Lis x

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7 thoughts on “My Illness is NOT a Secret. But why should I explain it to you?

  1. I trust that I would never be so judgemental as to make such a comment, but it is good to be reminded how much damage can be done by such a silly remark. Your feelings and rationale come across well in this post. Thank you for the reminder. I really hope your next good day is not spoiled like this one but rather your next bad day be is transformed by someone’s kind and understanding remark.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What a lovely response, thank you! It was only recently I got annoyed myself with a young man taking up a disabled seat on the tube, when I had to mentally slap myself, that he could be suffering just as much as I was. After all we don’t have big flashing disabled headbands on do we?! I think as humans, judgement is something we do. But I hope that by spreading this message we can all be a little kinder to each other, a little more considerate.

      Like

  2. I hope you do not mind I reblogged this. I am the same way with you, I have to explain everything to people because I do not want to be judged like why I dont like taking the train and some days I am good enough to do that, why I cannot stand for ong periods one minute and the next you see me standing, why I am hot one minute cold the next, Why I cant use certain washing liquid as they make me turn red, I just realised its as a result of Mast Cells. I have received the side eye so many times that I get upset and want to crawl into a corner. My goddaughter was born a few days ago and I am yer to meet her and I cannot help but feel guilty. Its really sad but we are glad we have a place to vent. My illness is invisible but I am visible, I hear your not so rude comments , or one liner jokes thats why I stay away. I do not have the courage to defend all my actions but I am not asking for your pity, I am asking for you to respect me despite my difficulties.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you identify with this post. I think what is most frustrating is explaining over and over when we shouldn’t need to explain at all. Thank you for reblogging me 🙂 I’m sorry it’s taken a whilst to respond. I also hope you get to meet your goddaughter soon, I love babies 🙂 x

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  3. Reblogged this on FibroFlutters is a support group for people with Fibromyalgia in Sunderland that offers friendship, support & advice in NE UK. and commented:
    #‎invisibleillness‬ you are not alone, we all face the stigma of use the stick or not & get the stick or not!?!

    Sadly, it often, if not most always, seems to be a catch 22 😮

    I remember being in my 20’s and not liking having to use a stick sometimes because of the stares and comments I used to get in the town. I got to a point where I just felt safer at home so didn’t go out anymore!
    I feel the anguish in Lis’s post as I’m sure many of you will too 😮

    You should have seen me when I needed a wheelchair!

    Please read and share to help raise awareness of #invisibleillness
    Thankyou 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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