Invisible Disabilities


By June Dale

“What’s it like to live with invisible disabilities?”
“You look tired, didn’t you get enough sleep last night?”
“Haven’t you finished reading that yet? Come on, keep up! I haven’t got all day.”
“You can’t open the jar, here, give it to me.”

Some days are better than others. I can move about freely and with a minimum amount of pain, while others face anxiety or depression.

Standing for what I would consider a long period of time causes my leg to become numb, then painful, then the swelling begins. How I would love to go to an outdoor concert and stand with the crowd to enjoy the music. Spending time in big crowds causes some individuals an increase in anxiety. They would love to go to that party on Saturday night. Instead they will spend another Saturday night at home. People look at me as though everything is fine, when in fact I am in physical pain.

Then, of course, there is the medication. Too many for my liking, but that is what I need sometimes to get through the day. If I forget to take them at the right time, the repercussions are interesting. My face starts to hurt. My vision becomes blurry. My thought processes become foggy. I always have a dosage ready, stored in my bag or my desk drawer.

Some people “look” like the rest of the population. No one would ever know that the individual has a disability because it it’s invisible. The individual may have a hard time reading or performing simple calculations and tasks for daily living. Tasks such as typing or writing a document could be a painful and exhausting experience. It may be that the individual is straining to hear the conversation around them, or the voices are so loud it hurts to listen to others.

In this day and age of adaptive technology, many can function in a world where the majority can do daily tasks. However, some places do not have this technology and those who experience invisible disabilities struggle in their own way, day-to-day.

I once read a story about spoons. It is called the Spoon Theory. It resonated with me.
Today is a good day for me. My wish is that you have a good day as well.

June Dale is the Union of National Employees Human Rights Representative for the National Capital Region – Treasury Board.