Invisible Illness Awareness Week: Why Are You Questioning My Need for a Wheelchair?

Some Wheelchair Users Can Walk

In the blog post above, Beth Griffiths, 20 year old chronically ill beauty blogger, touches on the complexities of being a young, attractive person who uses a wheelchair- and has an invisible illness. She describes how often people question her use of handicapped parking spots even though she can walk. 

As a young person who is a part-time wheelchair user, this blog post really hit home. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve gotten confused looks from strangers and acquaintances alike when I go out in my wheelchair. It’s really quite frustrating.

One time, I was at Target in Springfield, OR on a particularly bad day. I had a lot of shopping to do and knew there was no way I could walk around the store without leaving in tears of pain. Luckily, I spotted one of Target’s electronic scooters nearby. As soon as I unplugged it from the wall, a Target employee walked up to me and said, “Do you really need this?”

“Yes, I have Lyme Disease,” I replied wearily. I really should have said something like  Just because I’m not 80 years old and hobbling, doesn’t mean I don’t need help walking. I’m sorry that my 19 year old face and healthy-looking body shatters your pre-conceived notions!

I’m really, really tired of having to defend myself and my the legitimacy of my illness. It sucks, but thanks to blogs like Beth’s, I know that I’m not the only one going through this.

Happy Invisible Illness Awareness Week

Best,

Sofia

 

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