Invisible illnesses and disabilities come in many different shapes, sizes and forms, while affecting many different types of people all over the world. You may not realize that you, the person sitting next you in class, your best friend or even a close family member may be suffering from one of these disabilities or illnesses.

According to the Invisible Disabilities Association, “To define invisible disability in simple terms is a physical, mental or neurological condition that limits a person’s movements, senses or activities that is invisible to the onlooker. Unfortunately, the very fact that these symptoms are invisible can lead to misunderstandings, false perceptions, and judgments.”

Many people correlate the word disability with the image of it being physical. They correlate the word with what they can see, like a person in a wheelchair or someone who uses a hearing aid. While it is true they are disabled in some way, they cannot walk or hear on their own. Many people do not take into account that there are so many more disabilities or illnesses that they cannot see. Most of them are hard to spot as well. Disabilities like chronic pain or some sort of sleeping disorder are some of the few that are hard to spot. Often times, the people that suffer from invisible disabilities are accused of faking it or imagining their disabilities. This often leads to people feeling like that are not heard and are just pushed aside.

There are many everyday normal looking people that suffer from varies mental disorders. Depression is a very grueling mental disorder. People with depression can feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, ashamed or restless. They may lose interest in activities that were once pleasurable, have problems concentrating, etc. Many people with depression can hide it and live with it for a long time without anyone expecting that they have it. Even the person themselves might not even realize they are depressed.

I for one, the writer of this story, is one of those many people that suffer from one of the invisible disabilities. My disability has taken over my life for practically all my life. It consumes every little thing, every decision I make. I have what they call Attention Deficit Disorder or A.D.D. The disorder’s symptoms are poor concentration, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. I have trouble remembering things I have been told. My brain does not give me the chance to think before I speak or decide what I am going to do in certain situations. I sometimes end up saying stupid things or hurting someone’s feelings with the things I say. The most trouble comes when I am trying to concentrate. It is hard to focus on everyday tasks and trying to focus in class is hard as well. There are hundreds even thousands of people all over the world that suffer from the same disorder. Many of which are not discovered because many people still believe that we are faking it and it is not a real disorder.

A person can look completely normal and live with a hidden physical disability or mental challenge and still be able to be active in their hobbies, work and active in sports. There is an issue that is related to this matter. Many people these days’ post on social media long posts, some even include pictures, about a normal-looking person parking in a handicapped parking spot. They say horrible things about the person just because they do not seem to be disabled or handicapped in any way. These instances are examples of people with invisible illnesses and disabilities. However, that does not mean every instance is like this, many people do fake being disabled or handicapped. Many times just to have advantages they normally do not get. This can lead to people with real illnesses and disabilities to get a bad reputation.

Just remember that there are many people in your life that could be affected by invisible illnesses and disabilities. Do not treat them differently. Do not tell them they are faking it. All people should be treated equally regardless of their illnesses or disabilities.