This past week, the Official Facebook Page for Invisible Illness Week (yes, there is one, this year it’s Sept. 8-14) posted an image of a note that was left on the windshield of someone handicapped. The note read:
You are NOT disabled. I saw you and your daughter park here and walk into Macy’s. My sister is in a wheelchair, and you should be ashamed! Lazy is not a disability!
Of course, the person inside the car actually was disabled, and instead of taking offense to the note, she was actually more disheartened and even a bit embarrassed. You may be surprised at this response, but as someone who has been in this position many times myself, I completely understand.
Living with a disease like Rheumatoid Arthritis, or really any illness that isn’t one of the sexy, cause-du-jour, ailments that have readily apparent symptoms can be trying. People know you have a disease, but you are made to feel like you should be ashamed of yourself for “making such a big deal about it,” especially on the good days when you can actually go out in public without any outward signs of disease. The woman who wrote the note was obviously of this opinion, because I can list any number of diseases that might not show symptoms on a daily basis, and that’s without the benefit of the five minutes it takes to write a nasty note. Lazy may not be a disability, but it sure seems like stupidity is, and it’s extremely contagious.