Disabled Seating and Me
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Since suffering and being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), I tend to sit in the disabled seating area on trains and buses but why?

I wake up on a morning, after getting 2-5 hours sleep if I’m lucky, I lay there having to rest because I’m already exhausted. I slowly sit up, each and every joint screaming at me for doing so, I will myself to stand up, get dressed, make myself look presentable and ‘healthy’ and take my medication. I already want to go back to bed.

I slip my shoes on, and hide the pain, stiffness and tears with a smile and start slowly walking to either the train station or bus stop depending on where I am heading. I sit there and wait, trying to warm myself up, hoping that maybe my joints will stop hurting. The bus or train finally arrives and again I have to will myself to stand up because my joints have gone stiff from sitting from sitting but standing causes me serious pain. I get on the train or bus and sit in the disabled seating.

More people get on and then the looks and whispered remarks start, why? Because to them I just look like a normal healthy person, I’m probably just being lazy, there clearly isn’t anything wrong with me.

They couldn’t be more wrong. I sat there wanting to cry because of the pain, because of how these autoimmune diseases have changed my life because I’m no longer healthy or ‘normal’ but they can’t see that, so it can’t be real.

One of the most difficult aspects of living with these diseases is the people that don’t understand them or what they do to the people suffering.

They’re not the ones suffering, we are. They’re not the ones having to inject Methotrexate and/or take piles of medication, we are. They’re not the ones crying being closed doors because an illness has taken over their life, we are. They’re not the ones struggling to hold onto friendships because it’s difficult to get out and about, we are.

There is so much more to these autoimmune diseases that people don’t know about or don’t understand, so when you look at someone and they look perfectly healthy, don’t judge because you don’t know.

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