By Chanel White in The Mighty.
As a young woman battling serious illness with multiple hidden medical devices, I have found there is a high rate of unnecessary and hurtful comments by those who assume I am not sick. This encounter seems to be a reoccurring experience for many patients battling hidden or invisible disabilities. After surveying a small population of chronically ill individuals on Instagram, it seems there are five specific stigmas patients desperately wanted dispelled.
1. Wheelchairs are only for people with paralysis. There is a large stigma surrounding wheelchairs and their uses. Many people believe these mobility aids are for patients who are unable to not use them. This is in fact only one use of a wheelchair, and a very narrowed view of its capacity to bring mobility to individuals. Wheelchairs are mobility aids, meaning anyone needing assistance with mobility can benefit from it. Whether it be severe fatigue, muscle weakness, joint pain or a connective tissue disorder that makes the body unstable, many individuals require the use of mobility aids. These patients might not look ill and may even be able to walk; however, that doesn’t mean they can walk for long distances, walk without causing extreme pain, or walk without damaging their bodies. These patients may use wheelchairs while out shopping, on a vacation with family, or while attending a long event. On good days you may see these individuals without the aided mobility of their chair but, that doesn’t mean tomorrow they wont need it.
To read the rest of this article, click on the link below: