Battle of the Unseen Battle of the Unseen. Blog Post
Battle of the Unseen

Invisible disabilities  that are chronic illnesses such as renal failure, diabetes, sleep disorders, brain trauma, chronic severe degenerative disc disease, mental illnesses, chronic fatigue, other psychiatric disabilities, and Chronic Myofacial Pain Syndrome to just name a few of the more relevant ones are unseen to others, thus the title “invisible disabilities.”  Invisible disabilities are often the ones that are most misunderstood due to the fact the burdens or effects of the illness are unseen or un-believed by others.  Three to twenty-six million Americans suffer from a condition known as Fibromyalgia.  This hidden condition is known as the most common cause of muscular skeletal pain in America. This is a devastating disease and patients are often labeled, mistreated, judged, and discriminated against throughout the entire gamut of what should be a supportive network. They are not alone. Ninety-six percent of people suffering chronic medical conditions live with an illness that is invisible. (Disabled World, 2012)
It is interesting whether the hardships faced are actually truly meant to cause intentional hardship or not. Humans have such a propensity to judge everyone and everything. It is our very primitive nature of sorting that creates this behavior. Red, yellow, black, blue, or left, up, down, right, we sort constantly. This is bitter; this is sweet.  Individuals see only what is in their own reality to be able too. Some do not understand the battle for accommodation has already been made and won in the Supreme Court. The simplest issue should not have to become a battle due to an invalid perspective.
An example recently was a trip to a mental health mini-conference to be attended by mental health patients/clients and professionals alike at a theme park in CT. This attendance was sponsored by the local “social & multipurpose” rehabs in that they were providing transportation for their clients who were disabled, substance abuse, or mental, and dual-diagnoses clients. The word about wheelchairs not being allowed went out the end of May. When asked about this the club management stated it did not pertain to individuals who had no issues last year and there was no problem this year an accommodation would be made. Less than a week before the trip calls were made to tell individuals using wheelchairs they “could not bring them on the trip” and it was suggested that the wheelchair users “use walkers.”
The kids these days say “Really?” The adults also from time to time say the same. It is infinitely our own responsibility to provide for ourselves what is to be our own. This is a federally funded agency though. It gives room for pause does it not? The only job for this agency is to aid the disabled and help the ones that can heal on that path; while making those who cannot heal have enriched experiences. This is one example of many encountered every moment of everyday by individuals worldwide.  It is not only disabled with unseen disabilities, but also manifest to those with clear and evident injury. Consider another group that is struggling.
Disabled American Veterans and injured soldiers what kind of issues will or do they face? Many of these soldiers face unseen as well as seen disabilities. It is often hard to find work and work is therapeutic (staying busy sometimes helps.) Re-connecting with family after returning from deployment is not easy even for those who are not disabled. The joy can be mixed with many other emotions as well as short-lived. Humans are not robots programmed to shelve the negative and continue on indefinitely. This is important as the past war has been a ten-plus year war with multiple deployments of the same soldiers over and over. There must come some priority care to help release the pressure within. The use of a Chaplin, Therapist, Doctor/Psychiatrist, or Alternative Therapy Program can become a helpful tool in managing the various issues. Self-help books, therapies, and mental relaxation techniques are almost imperative to survival. Service animals with open access can also be a lifeline to coping in social or personal realms.
The “teachable moment” of this article is to create a reality for those who would judge what is often unseen, extremely debilitating, and isolating. Those who would rather take a chance on promoting discrimination to cut costs- extra time or trouble an accommodation would lawfully entail should realize that by doing the amicable thing it: sets a positive example, creates jobs, and opens the door for more individuals to use the resource. The infrastructure of day-to-day life is what one makes it – indeed this is true. Accessibility starts with understanding where we need to be: this is the first step to a life of self-sustainability.

1.    Disabled World (2012) Invisible Disabilities Information: What are Invisible Disabilities?”>Invisible Disabilities Information</a> – Information on invisible disabilities including a list of hidden disabilities with physical and mental impairments.
2.    Disabled World (2011) U.S. Veteran Facts and Statistics: Veteran’s Day 2011”>Veteran Statistics for Veterans Day 2011</a> – Latest U.S. Veteran facts and statistics from the Census Bureau for Veterans Day 2011.



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