Visible Prejudice To Invisible Disabilities

Some disabilities are visible straight away. It may be that someone has a wheelchair or a walking stick. At other times, a long-term condition or disability doesn’t come with visual queues. Around 74% of people living with a disability don’t use anything like this. Instead, their struggles are invisible.


Invisible illnesses bring a whole new set of challenges and discriminations. Some people are simply unwilling to accept a disability they can’t see.

If you’re dealing with visible discriminations to your invisible disability, you’re not alone. This is something sufferers across the country have to deal with every day and something that I've recently experienced.

Workplace Misunderstandings

Workplace misunderstandings are some of the most serious. When you have a wheelchair, an employer can see your need for special access or a particular desk. But, the needs of those with invisible disabilities are often ignored. What's worse is that many such individuals face discrimination for the time taken off work. This isn’t treatment you need to accept. Any worker has rights to health and safety. Your disability means your employer must also set aside things like parking spaces. If they don’t, you’re well within your rights to take legal action for neglect in this area.

Sadly, that isn’t where the work-based discrimination ends. Many people with invisible disabilities are unable to work. This can cause issues for obvious reasons. To others, it looks as though you’re able. They don’t see the struggles you face each day and may judge you as a result. Even the companies who should look out for you can often jump on the discrimination bandwagon. Companies can sometimes offer financial support for long-term disabilities but may try to argue that you’re able to work. In this case, don’t hesitate to seek a disability lawyer who can set the record straight. No matter what happens, remember that you have the legal high ground here. Never let ignorance push you into accepting work you’re physically unable to complete.

The ‘it’s all in the mind’ argument

Even outside of work issues, invisible illness falls foul to many horrible labels. Most common amongst them is the idea that it’s ‘all in the mind.’ If someone sees you straight after you’ve taken your pain management, for instance, they’ll assume you function that well all the time.
They didn’t see how much of a struggle it was for you to get out of bed that morning. As a result, they may make the false assumption that you can work past your pain if you ‘set your mind to it.’ This is a damaging belief which can do real harm in the long-term. The only thing you can do here is to educate people. Be honest and speak about your struggles. Hopefully, hearing your story will teach them that suffering is about more than what they can see.


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