Today I spent a few hours out the house, & it made me think once again how disabled/chronically ill people are desperate for ableds to think beyond what they see when we leave the house.
I have severe Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, which means I function at 5-10% of a healthy person. As a result I am unable to go out much. When I do go out, I’m feeling as close to MY version of ‘best’ as possible, & that is the only time the world sees me – the rest of the time I am bedbound with excruciating symptoms.
For example, this is easy to see:
What a lovely happy time out! And of course, parts of it were lovely, & super fun…but at NO POINT was I symptom/pain free. Throughout the entire time I was having seizures, struggling with the environment, in pain etc.
Here I am having to lay on the ground to try reduce dysautonomia symptoms & enable me to breathe:
Next we have a video, & I’ll explain it below –
In the first clip, I am having a complex partial seizure.
Although we don’t know for sure my seizures aren’t epileptic, I don’t think they are (been waiting on the NHS for 2yrs to get them tested, & then tested again after an abnormal 20min EEG). However they 100% ARE physiologic, which refers to seizures triggered by physical things going wrong inside my body.
This is thanks to my ME & orthostatic intolerance. The easiest example is my heart rate; my heart rate increases by 80+bpm when I stand, & by 20-30bpm when I sit. These fluctuations trigger seizures, syncope (passing out) or blackouts.
On the train home today I had a cluster of seizures, resulting in literally a 30+ min blank I can’t remember, & about 15mins of constant seizures. When I have a lot of seizures in quick succession, I lose myself & get an amusing shocked expression – I was totally out of it here, I stumbled right after Lyle stopped recording “i don’t know how to human” 😅
Earlier in the day I also had a seizure on the steep ramp that goes below the platforms of our local train station, & apparently I started to fall out of my chair. My partner had to hold me up whilst also keeping hold of my chair & stopping it from rolling down the ramp 😂
In the clips of my partner talking, he’s explaining how something as simple as taking off a slip-on boot is extremely difficult. I didn’t have the strength/energy to pull my leg away to help slide it off as I was in a crash, but if he tried to wiggle the shoe off, my ankle partially dislocated. I couldn’t verbalize what happened/what I needed, so I was just yelling “no no don’t, DON’T, give give!” 🙄😌
Finally we have clips of Finley alerting repeatedly, the evening after a few hours out the house. He was constantly letting me know I very much wasn’t okay!
These are the parts abled people (especially friends/family members) don’t think of when they see you out & about, or see photos online. They assume we’re magically better, that because we “don’t look sick” in the photos, we’re symptom-free…it’s simply not true. It also needs to be understood that the world only sees us when we’re at our best (which is still extremely disabled/unwell!).
The number of times disabled people are told we’re “lucky” we “get to” rest/stay home so much (I had an online [ex] friend tell me this literally a week ago), or that they “wish they could spend all day in bed too” is truly disgusting.