Don't Judge Me
In the past, I have experienced discrimination when I have had use my handicapped-parking pass. I’ve had people judge me for using the motorized scooter inside the store because I “look fine”. I can't even begin to tell you just how many times I’ve been judged, just because you can’t tell that something is wrong with me easily.
Being judged by others with MS
However, being judged by others that are living with Multiple Sclerosis has to be the worst type of judgment I’ve ever received. I’m sorry that you have a more progressive type of MS. I wish that I could take your pain away and that I could help ease your daily struggles. I guess that’s why I write at all, to help those that can’t get the words out share with their loved ones the truth about MS.
Imagine being told over and over again, “You’re so lucky, I’ve been in a wheelchair for so long, you appear to be doing just fine against MS.” Or… “I don't think you are typical of MS'ers. I guess you can have MS without any real symptoms.” With that being said, I’m not trying to be rude to those who say these things, but I can tell you that they can be hurtful towards people like me that live with a chronic illness with mostly invisible symptoms.
I’m already judged enough
I’m already judged enough, being judged by those who live with the same illness or a similar illness, hurts.
It also makes me feel as if I have no reason to complain since I’m not in a wheelchair or where it is easy to notice something is wrong. As a community with MS, we need to support one another, always. We don’t need to be rude to each other, steal from each other or make each other feel like a bad person, because we aren’t as disabled as others.
I wasn’t always like this
Now let me also state that while I look “fine” now, I wasn’t always like this.
I had to go through physical, speech & occupational therapy shortly after being diagnosed. I had to learn how to walk again, talk again and use basic functions again. I don't compare my suffering to others that live with MS; I don’t want others to experience what I’ve been through. I'm hoping that we can ALL find a way to stop struggling; by doing what we can to find a cure.
While I have written an article in the past, “You Can’t Compare...”, that was directed to those that DO NOT have MS. I feel like we can’t compare our MS severity to each other in a way to downplay what the other person is going through. In the end, we’re all suffering in some way and it’s not just MS that we deal with.
The "Snowflake" disease
I call MS the “Snowflake” disease, because while we all have MS there are not two identical cases.
We have to come together to lean on one another. We shouldn't make someone feel bad because they aren’t as physically disabled as the other. At times it feels like others have made it an ‘I’m worse than you are’ type of competition, and that’s not a competition we should be competing in.
Also, when it comes to my writing… I’m writing from my heart y’all. My articles probably don’t come off perfect. Might have some errors here and there, and I’m sorry for that. I’m usually just trying to get all my thoughts out of my head and on to ‘paper’ before they are trapped in my head due to cog-fog, and I don’t want to risk the chance of them being trapped somewhere in my brain forever.
I wish none of us had to struggle with MS
Most of all, I wish none of us had to struggle with MS on a daily basis, if at all. The majority of us do struggle in some way on a daily basis. For those people that do not struggle with a symptom everyday, I’m happy for them. I wish that for all of us. Remember, you never know what OTHER things are going on in someone’s life. It’s easier to pass judgment before knowing the whole story. However, since I have been diagnosed with MS, I’ve tried to not judge as easily as I previously had.
Mental health symptoms
For instance, mental symptoms are very debilitating, like depression or fatigue. While you might have the capability to GET out of bed without aid, you don’t have the want or care to even attempt it. Or you are just that exhausted that moving doesn’t seem like it’s possible at that time. And it’s easier to stay in bed than deal with what awaits you outside of your safe haven.
We're all in the same battle
So my finishing statement is, let’s be a support system for one another. I know I still have to work on this. We’re all in the same battle, we work better together than against one another.
Does your employer provide workplace accommodations due to your MS?