Handicap Placard Police… You Can’t Bring Me Down!

I know many of you suffer silently with your invisible illness… you work hard to feel good… to get through EVERY. SINGLE. DAY… you do it many days without complaining and without showing your pain… and then someone just tramples on that hard work and makes you realize just how invisible your illness really is.

That is exactly what happened to me today.

I have been working very hard to lose weight, mostly because I want to feel better, and it doesn’t hurt that I feel good in my clothes. I haven’t really felt the benefits of physically feeling better (yet). I feel “lighter”. I am down 30 pounds from a year ago and it’s nice to feel the accomplishment of losing weight. BUT! Don’t get it twisted, I still feel like shit a lot of days and I still have to work hard to get through the days. The pain is still there. I still overdo it so I can enjoy life and I still suffer for overdoing it for many days after.

Today was a hard day for me. I wasn’t feeling good so I parked in a handicap space. Yes, I park in the handicap spaces when I’m not feeling good. I can tell you with all honesty that I’d rather not have a handicap placard if it means I don’t have Fibromyalgia. Anyway, as my husband and I are walking into the store this older couple drives up next to us and this is how the conversation went… and trust me when I tell you that this is the cliff notes version (for those of you that don’t remember cliff notes… this is the summary):

People, “Are you both handicapped?!?”

My husband, “My wife is.”

Old rude lady, “Well you don’t look like you are. I have to use a wheelchair and you seem to be walking fine!” … At this point I’m a bit confused and dazed by the way these people are talking to us.

My husband (very politely), “Why don’t you pull over and I will move my car so you can park there and I’ll just come pick up my wife when we are done.”

Old rude lady, “No, it’s okay

My husband asked again if they wanted to park in our space and was very polite about it. Meanwhile these people were so mean and rude … and then they drove off talking about how they would park somewhere else and then the husband yells out the window, “You walk pretty goddamn good for someone who’s handicapped!“.

handicap

I can’t believe how perfect this image is for this post!!

Seriously? Yes, this is a true story. I was pretty stunned and embarrassed. I’m not sure why I was embarrassed… although if I’m honest with myself I know it’s because I look perfectly fine on the outside. I just walked in the grocery store… didn’t really shop and then we left. We were on the way to our niece’s birthday dinner and I was really trying not to let it get to me… but that was basically impossible… and of course a few minutes in the car and I’m in tears. Having an invisible illness forking sucks. I mean it big time forking sucks.

I already felt like absolute shit, but I’ve missed so many special occasions that I didn’t want to miss this one. I probably should have stayed home in the end… I had a hard time. The stress of what happened just made everything so much worse.

I’m glad I went, it’s nice to be around family. If I had come home I know it would have been so much worse for me. I would have started that damn spiral down, down, down. As I sit here at the end of the night, I don’t feel great, but I can tell you… I can’t be stopped.

I hope I never go back to the days when I was walking with a cane… when I was in a wheelchair… when I missed every special occasion that came around… when I would get halfway to the dinner table and be in so much pain, I would have to turn around and have my husband help me back to bed… when I literally stayed in bed for days and days… the days of being in tears… ALL. THE. TIME… fuck that. I’m not going back.

Those handicap placard police driving around in the parking lots, giving people like me shit when they don’t have a clue… well I wish them well and I hope that noone ever treats them the way they treated us tonight. I will say a prayer for them and move on.

People like that… they can’t bring me down. Yes, admittedly, I had a moment… well a pretty long moment that lasted for hours, but I’m over it now.

It’s not easy to share this kind of stuff, but I know that there are people out there who have had the same experience. Once again, unfortunately, you are not alone. I’m with you. Don’t hold on to it, don’t get angry, don’t feel sorry for yourself. Say a prayer for whoever disrespected you and move on. Let them be miserable. You continue on and find your better self.

And now? It’s time for bed. :)

Thank you for hanging out with me and I wish you all the best pain free days ever!

Stay cool.

Tamiko

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