what invisible illnesses taught me about humanity

invisibleillnesses

My home is filled with invisible disorders and health issues. Autism, depression, mood disorder, PTSD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Attachment Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder. I guess some could argue that many of these aren’t invisible, yet most don’t realize what happens inside our home, which might be a good thing. I call them “invisible” because no one can SEE anything different from the outside. The only distinction they do see is negative behaviors, stimming (and if they don’t know what that is, they just think it’s odd), and that our family doesn’t work like everyone else’s, and they could chalk it up to bad parenting.

All of the issues my family deals with has made me see the human race differently. First I was forced to look at life with an altered perspective, and now I must look at others in an unconventional way. Maybe you who are reading this have already come to this place in your life, or maybe you’ve always been vigilant to not judge others. Even though I thought myself one of you, I was not, and I believe I still have a long way to go.

As I live day to day with these “invisible” disorders and sicknesses, I move through the universe in contrast to how the rest of society does. Because my life has been drastically changed, and I don’t feel that anyone notices what’s going on, or that I am being judged when our family doesn’t function “normally,”  I tend to look at other people with new eyes. When I see a child screaming (I don’t mean crying, but screaming mad, defiant) in the grocery store, I no longer immediately think that a parent won’t take care of their out of control child. I wonder if said child has Autism, and can’t handle shopping. When I see a child in public and she is talking back to her mom, not listening, being inconsiderate, I wonder if she has attachment issues.

My point is that you never know what’s happening with someone else. We never know if that mother or father suffers from depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or some other ailment. We never know if a child has experienced trauma or has Autism. Sure, there are parents who let their children get away with hell, but the fact is that we never know what their life situation is. Do they have enough money to buy what they’re shopping for? Do this mom and her husband agree on how to raise their children, or are they divided on every front? Children know this and will act out because of it.

Yes, I was prudish before my life took a drastic turn. My new life has taught me many things. It has given me a new perspective that I am so thankful for. I wish others could consider this viewpoint before making assumptions. People have stared at us, people have commented, people have avoided, people have failed to help, but then we are human and that’s what we do unless we decide to change our interpretation of life.

Do you feel you are judged? Do you feel others see the “invisibles” in your life? Do you feel like you are fighting a battle alone? Is there a way to change other’s perspectives of your family, yourself?

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