Becoming Visible

The World of Invisible Illness

When you have invisible illnesses, it’s really in the name, no-one can tell you’re unwell from looking at you. The ‘invisible illness’ title covers a huge range of conditions both mental and physical, but i’ve mostly seen it used to describe non obvious physical conditions.

The topic of unseen or hidden conditions is a big one but a main issue from it is the whole ‘but you don’t look sick’ judgment. In a world where we tend to judge on first sight, it’s easy to presume a person who looks able bodied is just that. However, that isn’t always the case and a considerate mind goes a long way!

Choosing to Use a Mobility Aid

Having gone ten years looking physically well despite not being so, it felt quite a big decision to start using a mobility aid. I initially started using the stick whilst I was awaiting surgery and found it helped me a lot with the pain I was in. Since having surgery, i’ve continued to use the stick when out the house and find it helps with my balance and I feel generally less painful with it. I don’t know how much i’ll ‘need it, but i’m glad it’s there to help now.

At first I bought a cheap normal stick with a standard handle which was fine to start but began to really hurt my wrist when I used it for a long time. After being advised about different handle grips I bought this more comfortable one from a Disability center.

‘Sticking’ Out

Accepting a physical aid helped me felt like a bigger thing that in probably needed to! There have been pros and cons to not looking disabled. Some people are awkward around those obviously disabled, but i’ve also struggled to be believed to be unwel before. I also feel pretty self conscious using a stick but I suspect it’s more in my head than anyone actually looking at me! For me, it’s the best thing for my health and safety and i’m glad i’ve started using one.

More people hold doors for me and offer seats- for once there’s an obvious sign i’m not well! This is so helpful for me as I can’t stand for long as it’s a seizure trigger. There’s also the strange benefit that now on public transport there wouldn’t be the awkward asking for a seat and no one believing i’m disabled- though it’s sad a physical sign is needed for most people to believe me.

Do you use a mobility aid, how did you find it changed your life? I’d love to hear other’s experiences.

Ruthy xo


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