There are few things more beautiful or fun than the Fall season in Buffalo, NY. Chrisp air, the return of football, pumpkins, apple picking, the smell of hot cider, boots, and hoodies. It's by-far my favorite season. Except, it's also one of the most painful times of the year for me.
Anytime the weather pattern enters a phase of extreme change my body falls apart at the seams. Living with chronic pain is a lot like feeling as though you have the aches and pains of the flu every single day of your life. Some days are worse than others but pain-free days are a fantasy.
After years of unexplained pain, extreme fatigue and just overall crumminess I was diagnosed with hypermobility of my joints, Fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue which goes hand-in-hand with Fibromyalgia. I was 20 years old.
There is no cure for the disease, and there's still a larger percentage of the population that doesn't believe in the validity of the condition. Some just think those who suffer from chronic pain are "babies" or hypochondriacs.
Just because outwardly someone may look healthy and happy does not mean they are not suffering from an illness or disability. We all know looks can be deceiving, we see it in our everyday lives all the time. What differs from person to person is their ability to cope and how they choose to respond to the diagnosis. It is not a death sentence. It does not mean you have to stop living your life and become a bedridden hermit who relies on state support. It took several failed medication attempts, trial, and error exploration of vitamins and supplements coupled with daily exercise as well as massage therapy and sheer determination to find a treatment regimen that worked for me.
The whole point of this post to hopefully raise awareness and help those who don't understand, understand that physical appearance is not a tell all to the trials and tribulations that an individual may be experiencing. So before you judge the person who parked in the handicap spot, but looks perfectly healthy, remember this post and remember that not all alignments are physical.
I hope this post will also help to prove that not all those who suffer from an "invisible" illness are looking for an easy excuse to mooch off the system. I received my diagnosis eight years ago and have been out on disability twice. Once, after a bad car accident that caused an immense flare in pain and again after childbirth when hormones raged causing a flare in pain. Both times I was back to work in less than three months.
Life is a journey, and none of our paths are the same. We should be slower to judge and quicker to share compassion.