Does Someone You Love Have an Invisible Disability?
February 10, 2016•9 min
Right now, the person next to you may be suffering from an invisible disability... and you wouldn't even know it.We live in a time when 26.2 percent of American adults are struggling with mental illness, when one in 88 of our children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, when an estimated one in a hundred children have a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and when 4.4 percent of adults are living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. These numbers are not strangers. These numbers are our parents and children. They are our siblings and spouses. They are us.And yet, despite all the media coverage and the dozens of commercials for the next best drug; despite the piles of books next to our beds, or the list of websites bookmarked on our computers; despite all we know—too many of us still live in silence. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, we believe ourselves to be suffering alone. Our breezy Facebook statuses and cheery holiday letters betray us. We don’t mention the times we were too depressed or scared to get out of bed. We don’t post about the "F" in math or the disastrous parent-teacher conference. We don’t share pictures documenting our isolation. We don’t tell anyone how hard it really is. We hide the most vulnerable parts of ourselves, and in doing so, we cut ourselves off from each other.So, what’s the alternative?We can be honest. We can open the blinds on our fear and grief. We can invite each other in, even when things are messy and hard. We can stop pretending that we’re not lonely and confused. Because the minute I stop pretending, I am giving you permission to do the same. The minute you stop pretending, you are giving me permission to say, “me too.” When we come together, when we utter that first shaky “me too,” we realize that we’re not alone in our complicated, messy, imperfect lives.It’s the place where all healing begins.The stories in the insightful book, Easy to Love But Hard to Live With, are stories of resilience and courage. They are the stories of people who have offered themselves up for the opportunity to create connection and community. Each writer is holding out a hand and whispering a sacred and blessed “me too.”