“What they don’t see they can’t comprehend” – Dr Lauchengco
The glaring looks, the “up and down” looks, the tuts, the muttering and the “trying to be quiet” nasty comments. I’ve had them all, and more, and each time they hurt, but yet the keep coming, like bloody buses.
I don’t go out of my way to interact with strangers for the fear of the dreaded “what’s wrong with your leg” question (look past the limp people!!) or the puppy dog eyes and pitty face, but yet those people seem to find me. Like a magnet, i attract them all.
But through the constant chronic pain, left leg limp, and most days looking like the walking dead, I’m me, I’m Katrina. Same person I’ve always been, only now I have a few added bits, or should I say bits that are no longer there seeing as my disc and facet joint have been chopped at!
While I am classed as having an invisible illness (ie you can’t really see what’s wrong with me), it still doesn’t stop people questioning my every move, tutting at me when they see me get out of the car in a disabled space (yes people i have a disabled badge!), and all because I’ve nothing obviously wrong with me. If I had a cast on, or i was in a wheelchair, would they stop glaring at me? You bet they would!
So why does it appear to be socially acceptable to treat people any different just because they haven’t got something obviously wrong. Why should you feel ashamed and also have to feel like you need to justify your illness to everyone? Yes i park in disabled spaces, but i have a reason, why do I need to justify them to a complete stranger.
I don’t mind people asking about me and what’s wrong to an extent, but believe me, you ain’t gonna get my whole life story, why should you, you’re a stranger to me. Why would I engage in a deep and meaningful conversation with you about my health. Yes it’s nice of people to care enough to ask, but do they care, or is it just being nosey? Will what I say really make a difference to that persons day or life? Hardly.
Anyway, back to the point im trying to make. Next time you’re out, don’t judge a person by what you can’t see, there’s probably something going on with that person that you have no clue about. Look beyond that person and try to understand what they might be going through that day. That person might be having the worst day of pain and struggling to walk or even function, so do they really need your judgmental looks and comments on top? Think about it. Your actions do carry consequences, especially when they are negative.
The best thing I’ve heard lately, and I think describes anyone with an illness to a T – “Walk a mile in that persons shoes and then maybe you’ll begin to understand how strong that person is”.
See beyond the illness/condition that person might have. See the person within.