Firstly I want to thank everybody who read my first post. The response I have had is incredible. I thought it would only reach 200 people or so, but it's raked up over 1,500 views! It means so much to me that so many of you took the time to read it, so thank you from the bottom of my heart. <3
Secondly, apologies for the lateness of my second post! It's been a crazy couple of months for a few different reasons - University is picking up the pace, and I've been working on some really exciting fundraising events coming up this year! Can't say much yet until everything is confirmed, but they're going to be huge events... So if you want to know a little more about them, feel free to contact me in the email address on this site, or on Facebook or Twitter. :) A little update about my health, as so many of you have been asking me - Things aren't improving, so I'm going to be fitted with an Internal Cardiac Defibrillator at some point over the next few months. I'm not too worried. In fact, all of you are the reason why I'm not worried. The amount of support from friends and kind words from complete strangers are what keep me so positive :)
To start my new post, I want to tell you about a frequent experience of mine. As I mentioned in the last post, I often have to use a wheelchair and crutches. Because I am so young, and don't appear to have anything wrong with me, people react in a number of different ways when they see me using them. One day, my Mum had taken me into town in my wheelchair, to do some shopping. We had to stop to get cash, so we waited in line at the ATM machine. Now I don't know if any of you have noticed, but some ATM's are built really far back into the wall. This posed a problem for me, as I couldn't reach the keypad! So, I did the only thing I could, and stood up. This sparked a number of different reactions from the people in the queue behind me. Some looked at me in utter confusion, others with a questioning look. One woman gasped in shock, as if to say 'Look, it's a miracle, she can walk!'
This leads me on to the focus of today's blog post - Invisible illness/conditions. This is such a broad term, I have actually found it difficult to work out how to approach this subject. When I say invisible illness/conditions, I mean anything from M.E, Depression, Autism, Bi Polar, Bulimia, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, and lots more than I am able to name. We live in such a judgemental society, often with people only believing in what they can physically see. You would be surprised at the amount of the people you see walking down the street who are actually living with an invisible illness or condition. You may think that living with something people can't see, as opposed to being visibly ill (paralysed, amputation, tumours etc) would be easier. But in actual fact, it's a blessing and a curse. Especially when it comes to wheelchair users. I've lost count of the amount of times I've been treated differently whilst using the chair. Sometimes positively (like being able to queue jump... Gotta take the perks, right?!) and other times, really negatively. Often, people will talk to me like I'm a child, as if there is something wrong with my brain. Some will address the person pushing the wheelchair, and ignore me altogether! And crutches is a whole other issue. People look for a cast, and ask me what's wrong with my leg. I understand that the reason why people ask the question is, a) because they care and b) because that's what is generally expected. But I hope that by reading this post, it may open some of your eyes to the world of possible explanations out there! Don't assume that because you see someone in a wheelchair, it's because they're paralysed. Or if someone's on crutches, it's because they've broken their leg. Because I can guarantee, there will be more to it than that. And for the love of God, if you're interested, please don't just stand and stare! We don't bite! I cannot speak for every wheelchair/crutch user, but personally I take it as a compliment when people come and ask me, and treat me as an equal.
I lastly want to give a shout out to all those living with an invisible illness or condition. It's incredibly tough, but I believe you can all get through it, just as I am. Just because nobody can see what you're going through, that doesn't mean you're alone. And if you ever need a shoulder to cry on, or someone to rant to, or someone to relate with, then I am here. Always.
Lots of love,
P.S. I promise I won't wait this long to update next time!