Ode to Invisible Disabilities


You tell me, Wow, you don’t look sick,” when makeup’s on my face
As I venture out courageously concealing my back brace

You tell me,”Hey. you don’t look sick,” when I try to look carefree
but there’s a crippling pain within that you will never see

You tell me, “Great, you don’t look sick!” and congratulate my stance
but you don’t know how long it took to don this shirt and pants

You tell me, “But you don’t look sick,” and I should feel my power
but don’t you know that it was hard to just get in the shower

And when you say, “You don’t look sick,” I often don’t reply
but when you say these hurtful words I often want to cry

I try so hard to fit in with the world of able-bodies
but I can’t go out running or do Yoga or Pilates

For when I do the pain is such that I can’t even stand
and then you wonder why you haven’t seen me lately, “Damn!”

I can’t get out of bed sometimes to simply brush my teeth
and must rely on other folks to bring me food to eat

So when you say, “You don’t look sick,” please take a bit more care
To think about the feelings of which you are unaware

For when you say,”You don’t look sick,” you disrespect my strife
my smile does not reflect the pain that I have in my life

And when you say, “You don’t look sick,” I ask you to look deep
and recognize that looks deceive and pain can be discreet

At times I’m wheelchair-bound and I know you can’t understand
but when you see me in my rig, just gently take my hand

Try asking how I’m doing -I will say, “The best I can,”

…and that’s enough.

(C) Copyright -Stacey M. Patterson. All rights reserved.

7 thoughts on “Ode to Invisible Disabilities

    1. Mo says:

      Yes. I alternate between anger and understanding when I hear such comments as, “YOU have a disability? ? No- But you look so normal!” Lol! Thanks for yor comments!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Elihu says:

    Great piece!

    My spouse suffers from PTSD and was medically retired for it. People say this sort of thing often. I have to remind them that PTSD is as violent of an injury as being hit by a bus. The damage to the brain is real and proven yet it is invisible to the eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

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