I suffer from a number of Invisible Disabilities including Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, being hard of hearing and havingÂ musculoskeletal disorders. On a good day people would never know, but there are times when some help is needed.
I’m very conscious of my disabilities and don’t like to let it show it. Probably stems from the stigma around mental health and people with disabilities and also my own feelings of not letting my disabilities affect my life. Everyone else can do it/things so why cant I. I’m sometimes my hardest critic. I don’t like to complain that i’m in pain, or saying I don’t feeling right, because that’s all I’ve ever known, just assumed that’s how everyone is. however through my counselling I’m starting to come to terms with things and starting toÂ see things in a different light.
I Have seen that Transport for London is rolling out a campaign so people with hidden disabilities can wear a badge which says “Please offer me a Seat” BBC news ArticleÂ I think this is a really good and useful idea. The only down side is that its only for London. I Sometimes struggle to stand for long periods and when travelling on public transport it isn’t always a smooth ride, as you are jostled about (no matter how good the driver), for me this can be very comfortable as my body moves one way or the other, the pressure on my knees and my muscles increases and decreases something I cant prepare for it and can cause more pain. I don’t like to attract attention and wouldn’t have the confidence to ask someone for a seat, even if they are sat in a ‘priority seat’ or a disabled seat. Cause like me they might have invisible disabilities themselves. So a badge would be a good idea. When I have had to rely on crutches to get about people have been more than willing to help me and offer seats, but i don’t always require crutches and being a 34 year old man people wouldn’t think that i’d be disabled.
With more awareness of invisible disabilities and illnesses the Metro News website did a great article of “Why are people with an invisible illnesses so scared to ask for a seat on publicÂ transport?” link to article here
So I’ve decided to take a very small step and order myself one of these:
16mm Round, Disabled Lapel Pin Badge
Invisible Disabilities are hidden, and not something to be proud of or to show off. But people wont know how to treat you if they are not aware. So a small disabled badge on my clothes, might not change anything, but some observant people might see it and may offer me a seat or help. Cant hurt to try?
Truthfully, I am ashamed that i’m disabled and that i’m a different to everyone else. But with counselling I’m realizing “Its OK to be Me” and I have to accept that I am disabled and shouldn’t be ashamed of it or ashamed of asking for help. I don’t think it’ll make a huge difference but even any small difference has to be worth it?