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Think piece #2: hidden disabilities

Today you saw me park my car in a disabled bay and walk over to catch my train to work.

Today you shouted and swore at me through your own car window.

Today you didn’t understand that not all disabilities are visible.

Today you didn’t see the pain in my legs when I got out of my car, the drop in my blood pressure as I stood up, the determination it took to engage my wasting muscles.

Today you didn’t see the blinding pain in my head, the fight of my heart to beat, the shaking of my hands as I clutch my coffee cup.

Today you didn’t see the nausea I feel, the fatigue I battle, the pain in my eyes as I read the timetables.

Today you didn’t see me collapse from exhaustion, sleep during the day, struggle to read by the afternoon.

Today you didn’t see my brother carry my bag, my boyfriend pick me up off the floor, my mum help me wash my hair.

Today you didn’t see me fight the anxiety I experience at the thought of leaving the house by myself, the allergic reactions I face daily, or cry at the station as you left.

Today I ask you, who is the lucky one here? Is it me, the girl who can hide her disability from those too ignorant to understand? Or is it you, with a visible disability and the confidence to abuse those who have to fight to be believed?

Today I ask you, are we both lucky that we are able to leave our respective houses, begin to access our community and continue to contribute to society?

Tomorrow I ask you, let’s not judge what we don’t understand, let’s not compete with each other to be the more deserving, and let’s build a community where those less able than us can live in safety.