The Invisible Disability: Really Not As Cool As It Sounds

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    Nov 15, 2012
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Some disabilities seem fairly easy to spot, due to visible medical equipment like a wheelchair, a cane, or a hearing aid. These are things we generally associate with the elderly or with someone who's been in a terrible accident, but this is not always the case. There are a multitude of illnesses that can lead to what is known as an "invisible disability," meaning that although the sufferer may appear at first glance to be perfectly healthy, their condition has had a severe effect on their life and has caused them to drastically alter their day to day living. Such disabilities can occur at any point in a person's life, from birth to adulthood, and are often caused simply by family history and genetics, through no fault of the person suffering from it.

Some of the most common effects of these conditions are chronic pain and chronic fatigue. These illnesses vary widely, and can affect any part of the body, be it the digestive system, the back, or the joints, to name a few. Many people require prescription medications to treat their painful symptoms, while others turn to more unconventional treatments, ranging from medical cannabis to massage therapy, all with the same goal in mind: to be able to make it through the day without being in excruciating pain because of their illness. Likewise, many who live with an invisible disability require more sleep than the average person, both as a means of handling their daily pain and because their illness may severely reduce the amount of energy their body produces for them each day, causing them to become more quickly fatigued than a healthy person. Because of this, sufferers of chronic conditions often find that they have to ration their time and energy very carefully: they cannot go to the grocery store and do laundry on the same day, or cook dinner and shower on the same day. With far less energy to work with, they must decide which task is most important to them that day, often having to choose between things that most healthy people take for granted on a day to day basis.

Lastly, it is important to keep in mind that someone who is suffering from any sort of disability or chronic condition knows their own body better than anyone else can. Never assume that someone wants or needs assistance, and likewise never assume that you can tell how healthy someone is simply by looking at them. If someone you know informs you that they have a condition that causes them to approach daily life differently than you, always remember that this is a sign of trust from them, and you should respect whatever they ask of you in dealing with their illness. If they need to rest, they will, and if they need your help, they will ask for it. As with any illness, those who suffer from an invisible disability know better than anyone what they are capable of. 

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Rick Samson loves working out and playing sports. He currently writes articles on Interesting Articles.

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