Wednesday, August 2, 2017

What we don't see

For good lieth not in pursuing,
Nor gaining of great nor of small;
But just in the doing—and doing
As we would be done by, is all.
~Alice Cary

A shout out today for being nice even when we are ignorant of a person's circumstances. This summer, my older daughter was diagnosed with a dysautonomic disorder which causes the blood to rush to her feet when she stands up. This makes her feel dizzy and makes her heart pound. Standing on her feet for long doesn't work well.

We went to a show the other day and, at the end, the performers were given a standing ovation. My daughter remained seated. Looking at her, you wouldn't know anything was wrong, and maybe it would make you annoyed that she wasn't getting up. Isn't it a nice idea, though, to give people the benefit of the doubt? Not to assume that we know everything that is going on with a person? I've said this before. (Don't worry, no one bothered her.)

She might get a temporary handicapped placard for the car, but she does worry how people will respond to seeing her get out. (She has two young friends with invisible illnesses who have gotten hassled when parking.) The people who would bother her would feel righteous about doing it -- what a weird world!

When you think about it, maybe there are more things that you can't see than those you can. I mean, you can see if someone has a service dog or is in a wheelchair, but you can't see migraines, lupus, diabetes, infertility, neurological diseases, digestive disorders, depression, heart conditions, allergies, anxiety, multiple sclerosis, Sjogren's, etc.

It can be hard to say the right thing since we don't know what is up with people. Years ago, a stranger told me that we needed to give my daughter a sibling, not realizing that I was utterly heartbroken about suffering a miscarriage the day before. We don't know, so the best we can do is try to be kind and try to let go as best we can when people say the wrong thing.

* But You Don't Look Sick? a blog with resources for people with invisible illnesses
* Self-care and chronic illness articles on The Mighty


Jeanne said...

There are days when I'm not visibly limping but use my handicapped placard to park close to something so that I can keep going as long as I need to that day. I've so far not been confronted, but if I ever am, my intention is to ask if the person isn't happy that I'm doing so well at that moment.

Margaret Simon said...

For some reason, this has really moved me today. I have a friend who is newly diagnosed with cancer. At this point she still looks fine, but inside she is grieving and trying to deal with her diagnosis. No matter what, practice kindness. There is a quote about everyone fighting a battle we know nothing about. Thanks for this post.

Pop said...

Each one of us has good days and bad days...and comments by others should not assume today is a good day. Neutral, nice comments are always welcome. If it's a good day, these comments really work; if it's a bad day, such comments at least don't hurt.

Robyn Hood Black said...

A thoughtful & kind post, Tabatha, like its writer. Thank you for sharing!