Life With an Invisible Disability

I went to McDonald’s this afternoon in the name of my cheeseburger and fries cravings. Like the usual, I went to stand behind the counter for senior citizens and persons with disability since I have my disability card with me. Then a young pregnant woman came, seemingly in a rush, and she stood beside me. Our eyes met, and then I caught her looking at me from head to toe, like she was evaluating me if I was really standing in the right lane.

I get that stare… a lot. There was even an elderly woman who tapped my shoulder and said, “This is the senior citizen’s lane. You should not be here.” Her tone sounded like I was too stupid on missing the sign behind the register. Maybe it wasn’t her intention, but I felt like I needed to explain thoroughly why I was there. But then everytime I would show my PWD ID to those who are curious, my dreaded question would come up next.

“Myasthenia gravis? What is that?”

You see, despite living for more than three years with this condition, I still am not used to it. Especially these days (I’ve been symptom-free for a year now so hooray to that), that I look like a normal person, maybe except for my moon face because of immunosuppressant. But please keep in mind that normal is so overrated. And not all disabilities are visible.

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People who have visual impairments (the blind, the crossed-eyed) are considered disabled, and so are those who have 20/20 vision but the eye muscles become extremely weak that they experience double vision and drooping of eyelids.

People who have speech impairments (the mute) are considered disabled, and so are those who can speak clearly but after a few minutes, their words become a slur, because the tongue muscles are already tired and becoming weak it can no longer move properly.

People who are armless or legless are considered disabled, and so are those who have both pairs of arms and legs but their muscles are extremely weak they cannot sit on the toilet, climb the stairs, dress by themselves, comb their hairs and even bring the spoon to their mouths and eat.

We’re not always sleepy, or drunk, or lazy. It’s the nature of our condition. It is not a behavioral thing. It’s myasthenia gravis.

So please… stop judging us.

Do you know someone who has myasthenia gravis? Or do you live with this condition? I want to hear about it.

xoxo,

Beth G.

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