What Not To Say To Someone With An Invisible Physical Disability

What Not To Say To Someone With An Invisible Physical Disability

The struggle is real.
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Those with invisible physical disabilities are widely thought of as lazy, moody, or incompetent, due to not having any visible sign of illness, as in a cane, walker, etc. However, we know that this is not the case. It is believed that at least 10% of the United States population has some sort of invisible disability, however this spectrum covers both neurological disabilities and physical disabilities. For the sake of this article, I will mainly focus on those of us who have invisible physical challenges, like myself.

In my own situation, I have a very rare invisible disability called Myotonia Congenita. There are two main types to this disease: Thompsons and Beckers. My symptoms include muscle tension and stiffness in most voluntary muscles, slower reflexes, rapid and abnormal muscle growth, and muscle aches. For example, when I stand up from sitting for varying periods of time, my muscles contract and don't relax immediately, which means I can't begin walking until my muscles have relaxed. This can cause me to do multiple things: lose my balance and fall back into my seat, face plant into the floor, or pause and stand in one spot until I feel like I can move my legs again. Because of this, I have a D Pass (disability parking pass) for school and also a regular disability window hanger for my car.

Because I look like a very healthy person who works out constantly (and I don't), I have been given angry looks when I park in a disabled spot. I have had to explain to people that, when they push me, I can't catch myself like an average person. I have had grown adults get angry with me because I have to walk slower. I've even had people grunting, groaning, and making comments behind me on stairs because I walk incredibly slow up them and I can't do anything about it. I know others with my condition carry around a cane despite not needing it, only because if there's no visible sign of ailment on our bodies and they have had enough encounters with angry people who don't understand our disease is invisible.

Here are a few things I really wish people would stop staying to those of us with invisible physical disabilities.

1. "But you don't look disabled."

I mean, that's the point of having an invisible disability. Unless I point it out to you, it's not obvious.

Instead maybe say, "Can you explain your disability more?" or "What sorts of symptoms/problems do you have?" Asking more questions leads to a better discussion.

2. "I don't even think of you having a disability."

This is part of the problem. Since our disabilities are not incredibly noticeable, it's easy to overlook them. Although this one does irk me, it's slightly more tolerable, since I do understand that you probably don't notice that I purposefully pause to look at my phone or fix my clothing when I stand up because, if I don't, I'll collapse. Or when you take off at a run, that I'm falling behind because my body won't let me spontaneously run at any given moment. Use this sentence with caution.

3. "How did that happen?"


Most invisible disabilities have been cause and effect. In my case, I was born with Myotonia Congenita ("congenital" means "from birth"), which was passed to me by my father who has one of the smallest cases of MC that I know of.

Instead of flat out asking what the cause and effect is, ask if there was anything that caused it by saying, "Was there something that happened to you to cause your disability?"

4. "Have you tried medication or surgery?"

I've heard this many times. Please do not say this to anyone because maybe we have tried medication and it hasn't helped or maybe we don't want to or maybe there is no medication to help us.

Instead say, "Are there any medications or surgeries that can help you?"

5. "But you're so young!"

Nope. Don't even start with this one.

6. (For those who can't relax their muscles) "Just relax."

I broke my leg as a kid and the only doctor on call was this horrible man who kept getting angry at me because I couldn't relax my leg enough for him when he was putting my cast on. No, I can't just relax. That's not how it works.

Instead ask, "Is there any way you can try to relax a little more?"

7. "You just wan't attention," or "You're just imagining things."

Just get out now.

8. "Are you always this lazy?"

For some of us, physical activity of any sort can wear us out and put us on the couch for a day or two, sometimes more. It's not laziness, it's our body's exhaustion. Sadly, though, there are a few who do use their disability as a way to just be lazy. However, I still would never say this to anyone because you don't know how they are feeling that day.

Instead ask, "Are you feeling OK today?" or "Is your body OK to do (blank) today?"

9. "Why do you need a handicap sticker?" or "You move fine, so you shouldn't have a handicap sticker. You're cheating." (This is said AFTER you have told them your disability.)

I'm pretty sure my doctor wouldn't have given me the write-up to have one if I didn't need it in some way.

All in all, if you don't understand the person's disability, just ask them to explain more about it.


Cover Image Credit: Google

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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Wearing Sneakers To The Gym Just Isn't Going To Cut It These Days

Going to the gym is more than just working out its about having the right gadgets and outfits to go with it.

rtufaro
rtufaro
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I am an advocate of making sure you sweat once a day, I love going to the gym. I blast my music, feel my muscles fatiuging, and sweat it out. As I have been going to the gym more I have noticed that people's outfits to the gym are more than just your average t-shirt and leggings people wear multicolored and matching attire and are geared up with their Apple airpods and watches.

I personally go with an old T-shirt and throw on my freshly washed leggings and my running shoes and I am ready to go, but I see how dressing in the full work out attire has a positive impact on your gym session. Feeling fully motivated in your new matching gym getup is important as you will want to work out harder and push yourself being that you are fully in the right gear. As I progress in attending the gym I want to get an Apple watch and track my data.

It is important to move your body for at least once an hour a day and by going to the gym you are ensuring this movement. Eating right also puts you on track and if you are working out and eating right you will surely soon see your hard work. NoIt doesn't matter what you wear to the gym as long as you are there your making progress. It is important however to stay motivated because in order to get anything out of the gym you have to participate and in doing so wearing a cute gym out fit will only make this better.

rtufaro
rtufaro

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