So, I’m disabled. You wouldn’t think it to look at me, but I am. It’s a cruel joke that one of my conditions actually genetically predisposes me to look young and healthy, whilst internally I have the body of a seventy eight year old. (That’s a direct quote from a doctor.) Sometimes it’s nice to look normal. To slap on a smile and pretend to be just like everyone else. But mostly it’s hard, and exhausting. So very exhausting.
Imagine spending every day carrying a tonne of bricks on your back. They’re heavy. They grind you down. Your body creaks and aches from the weight of them. You never get to remove your load, not even to sleep, so even lying down the sharp edges jab into your already batters body. Sleep is impossible. Surely someone will help you? Nobody would let you struggle through life that way?? The problem is, your bricks are invisible. None but you can see them. So how can people help? They see you shuffling and stumbling from the weight, to them you’re just another young drunk. On busses and trains they hog seats, not knowing you’re ready to crumple. Your exhaustion, they say, can be cured with a little rest and some good sleep, a better mental attitude. As for your bricks? Well, surely they can’t exist. If people can’t see them, they can’t be there.
People soon stop attempting sympathy. Friends don’t call anymore. Whispers start about how all you seem to think about is the burden your bricks have on your life. Soon, your bricks have taken everything from you.
This is life with an invisible illness. Please, I implore you, if you know anyone with an invisible illness, help them carry their load. It means everything just to have a hand to hold on this hard journey.