Invisible Disability

Could you stop giving me rude glances? How dare you tell me to put my cell phone away. I seriously just got called one of those inconsiderate generation x-ers. Wow! How about you just stop?! Consider there is a legitimate reason that I have my cell phone out in a business meeting. Maybe I have a sick child or dying loved one. Maybe there’s an emergency. …BUT that’s not the case though.

You see last night, I had a hemiplegic migraine. Those words probably mean nothing to you. Those words changed my life. From time to time I have a type of migraine where one side of my body gets extremely weak. I basically look like I’ve had a stroke, but it will go away. It’s hard for me to function, but since I refuse to allow a disability to control my life, I’m here in a business meeting with you. I’m right- handed and the weakness has effected my right side. I literally do not have the ability to grasp a pen. Have you ever tried to write with your non-dominant hand? I have. It’s not easy, actually its almost impossible to read what I tried to write. So for me, it’s much easier to type notes using my phone. I can use my left hand to type on my phone much more easily than to write. I know you did not know any of this before you made your assumptions. That’s okay. I hate having to constantly justify what I am doing. I grew up with technology, and I’m grateful that since having this disability, technology has enabled me to continue to function. The alternative, miss work each time I have one of this migraines, is not an option for me. The weakness can last up to two weeks, that is a lot of missed work.  Not to mention, what would I do? Sit at home? No thank you. I would much rather be at work. Doing the job that I love, even if that means I have to deal with your rude glances, inconsiderate remarks, and hurtful stares. I will not let you or my disability keep me from my passion.

The next time you see someone who seems to be doing something rude or inconsiderate to you, ask yourself if there could possibly be another reason. I am sure the gentleman mentioned above who is much older than me (at least twice my age) never thought about why I had my cell phone out. He just assumed I was a young person without proper respect or training. I do not like having to explain the fact that I have a disability to everyone I meet. Look at me long enough or see me walk in a room and it’s probably more obvious than if I’m just sitting there. Hemiplegic migraines have changed my life. There’s no doubt about that. I take medication daily in an attempt to prevent them. I have become dependent on my husband to help care for our children when I am having one. Hemiplegic migraines changed my life, but I refuse to let them control my life.

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