By Katherine Bouton in Psychology Today.
My hidden disability is hearing loss, but the psychological, emotional, and professional ramifications I experience are true for anyone with a hidden disability.
Most hidden disabilities are considered in some way shameful or devaluing. Hearing loss is seen as a sign of aging and is often associated with mental retardation. Asperger’s as a form of mental illness. Mental illness as something to be feared. Eating disorders as personal weakness. Epilepsy as a frighteningly uncontrollable disorder (it’s not). Depression as a sign of unreliability. PTSD as a condition that means people can’t work in a stressful work environment.
For that reason, many many people with these conditions keep them a secret. Lynne Soroya wrote a very good column about this: “Disability, Discrimination and Disclosure: Being ‘Out’ in the Workplace.” I also wrote about this in an article for the Times Sunday Business section: “Quandary of Hidden Disabilities: Conceal or Reveal.”
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