A Hidden Disability is still a Disability
Brain injury is something we don’t see. For me I feel it everyday but to others my disabilities aren’t noticeable.
Walking wounded, whilst a horrible term, is exactly what I am.
"Walking wounded, whilst a horrible term, is exactly what I am."
At a recent formal event I approached the mobility and easy access entrance. I was met inquisitively by the doorman ‘who are you with?’, as he looked at the old white haired women nearby.
I replied factually, ‘no one. I’m on my own’.
The doorman replied ‘I’m struggling to understand why you are here? This is the mobility entrance.’
I curtly retorted ‘Yes it is. I have mobility issues’. I felt happy as I appeared perfectly able to him but at the same time humiliated.
After my response he instantly become less suspicious and hostile.
Moments after I realised I’ve lost the clear tell tale signs confirming my injuries. But that doesn’t mean I can tackle steps without a handrail easily. I’m still not a 100% confident in my movements so I benefit from the easy access.
Whilst I don’t cover my right eye, I still suffer double vision and you can see the limited movement in my right eye at certain angles. I’m getting more aware of which angles and head tilts work best for me. It is another injury less prominent.
I’ve got no intention of carrying my disabled parking permit like an evidential necklace. I’m so fed up of feeling like I need prove how injured I am and evidencing my disabled status even just to ensure I get access to a step free environment. Its not a privilege.
I’m not here trying to get sympathy. I just want an entrance that I can walk through without having a discussion to why I am there.
Anyway, who would even take the mobility entrance, if they didn’t need to anyway? You can’t judge a book by its cover, no matter how well dressed it is.
"You can’t judge a book by its cover, no matter how well dressed it is."
This was the first time this had so blatantly happened to me. Sadly, I expect it won’t be the last. I was shocked and disappointed but this must happen all the time for those with unseen disabilities and injuries.
During Covid times I was exempt from wearing a mask. Masks made my visual issues so much worse which in turn affected my balance. This ‘exempt’ status almost acted like an all encompassing term that I benefit from a bit more support.
Now that mandatory masks have disappeared the ‘exemptions’, invisible and unseen disabilities don’t just disappear, there is no vaccination program.
I won’t lie, secretly I thought my extensive rehab and physio efforts must be paying off as I don’t look and come across so injured and weak. That doesn’t make it better though, as I am aware both the physical and emotional injuries are forever.
Walked Alfie, our Yorkie, on my own to meet my occupational therapist for coffee in a nearby park. This was the first time I had walked Alfie on my own in public. He is only very little and not strong but I was worried he would get under my feet and cause me to trip but he didn’t.
The Louis Thorold Foundation is a charity registered in England and Wales with the aim of preventing all deaths of children on Britain's roads. For more information about our campaigns or to make a donation visit www.louisthorold.com.