Is it me or have people become more judgemental about illness and disability? When I was young, I was always taught that people are all different and some have disabilities or illness, but to treat those people with the same respect.
It seems there has been a lot of headway made in making invisible illnesses more accepted lately, like the new blue badge scheme but it doesn’t seem to change people’s opinions.
I don’t work, I used to work but with my CFS/Fibromyalgia it isn’t possible right now. When people ask and I explain this, they nod and appear to be understanding but then comes the comments;
“You’re young, you should be out working”
“You don’t look ill or disabled”
“You could at least work part time”
It’s these comments that get me down because people seem to think I choose not to work. I don’t choose to live with a limited income, struggling to afford anything for myself, I don’t choose to lie in bed at home, in pain and wishing I could just go out and work like a normal person my age. Some days, all I manage to do is have a bath and then I can’t physically do any more so how am I going to go out and work everyday?
If that’s not bad enough, applying for benefits is the most shameful and embarrassing process I’ve ever been through. When I get assessed, it’s unfairly because physically I look fine. I have to justify my illness, to then be told I got dressed for the assessment so am able enough to work! It’s the pettiest and most depressing system. I don’t choose to go through that, I have no choice because I cannot manage to work but I need to eat.
Older people judge how much medication I take and say I shouldn’t be taking that much medication at my age; like because I’m 25, I can’t suffer with a long term illness. I bought a fold up walking stick this week so I can have some extra support when I go out and have to walk longer distances than the usual. But I am so nervous about using it because I’m afraid people will stare, I’m afraid people will judge me. It shouldn’t be that way. I shouldn’t be embarrassed to do what I need to do to manage my illness.
It seems that people can be a lot meaner now, and that cruel words and comments are muttered too often. Deep down I know I shouldn’t be ashamed of myself or my illness but when I constantly hear judgemental comments and receive judgemental looks, it’s hard to remember that.