The look on the woman’s face alone made me want to read her article.

Authored by Kirstie Edwards, the article was as heartbreaking as the look on her face. She recalled parking in an accessible space while picking her young children up from school. Another woman, only five feet away, put an orange pylon next to her drivers’ side door and then verbally assaulted her.

“There’s f*ck all wrong with you.”

This is part of the daily struggle people with chronic and invisible illnesses face. Not being believed. Rushed by doctors, doubted by family, abandoned by friends. Had all of those things happened to Kirstie? I do not know, but the pain in her eyes conveys a story that words cannot. The picture made me cry.

I then remembered the dirty looks on the subway I received when pleading to sit down at the front of the car because my legs and feet were burning.

I remember the passenger in my car who took it upon herself to decide I should not be parking in a disabled parking spot because those spots were for people like her mother, walking with a cane.

And the other passenger who directed me to park elsewhere because she was too embarrassed to be seen with someone displaying a disabled placard on the rear view mirror.

I also remember the 8-hour layover in Toronto’s Pearson International airport days after 9/11. Asleep, traumatized, and in a wheelchair propped up with a pillow, I was barely conscious. My traveling companion was embarrassed to be seen with me. People would wander by and angrily say “What’s wrong with HER? Why does she get to sit in a wheelchair?”

Many of us have profile pictures that show us at our best. My profile picture in my section “About” is unrealistic. My sister, who is a makeup artist and stylist washed my hair, made sure I had a nice hairstyle. Then she carefully applied her very expensive makeup to my face.

I can no longer do these simple things every day. I do not look like that every day. Maybe a few days a year. I often look at my own profile picture and wonder for a nanosecond what’s wrong with me.

But then I remember having these pictures taken before, during, and after my commencement ceremony upon completion of my BScN in 2007.

BEFORE:

20170321_163918.jpg

DURING: MY FEET WERE BLEEDING FROM STANDING TOO LONG

20170321_164130[625].jpg

AFTER: I DID NOT WORK AGAIN FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR

20170321_164409

After having worked only two years as an RN, I burned out completely. I’m still trying to get my license back.

It’s 2017.

I urge others to speak out about their experiences.  You can’t ignore an army of voices.  Because the words of our enemies aren’t as awful as the silence of our friends.  ~ movie “Audrie & Daisy”

 

Advertisements