Accepting the Inconvenient: Why We Shouldn’t Have to Explain Our Disabilities to Neurotypical People

We need to talk about invisible disabilities. Or rather, we need to talk about them more. Too many invisible disabilities are overlooked entirely as “quirky” or “lazy” or “weirdo.”

People with invisible disabilities are often accused of faking their condition and must fight to have their challenges acknowledged. Some women reported being told that they “can’t be disabled, they’re too pretty or attractive,” which is not only a spectacularly bullshit response, it’s also showing how neurotypical people see disabled people.

Seems like we have a stereotype situation, here. First we had fat = ugly, now disabled = ugly? I’m disabled, and fat, and I’m looking damn good, thank you very much.

We need to raise awareness and educate neurotypical people about the fact that not all disabilities are visible. Actually, no, we don’t. Abled people should educate themselves about it.

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we exist and we don’t owe anyone an explanation for our behaviours

People with invisible disabilities are often misunderstood and judged by neurotypical people. We are required to explain ourselves when we really shouldn’t have to.

This is unfair and it needs to change.

So, let’s start talking about invisible disabilities more. Let’s raise awareness and let abled people know that we are here, we aren’t going away, and we deserve to be accepted just the way we are.

Being neurodivergent isn’t being quirky or an airhead. We are talking about actual disabilities, and they impact everything about our lives.

Colorful image showing two women's faces with eyes closed, their heads full of names of disabilities (anxiety, depression, adhd, deafness, chronic pain, etc) to show an artistic view of the internal struggle we deal with daily.
A constant internal struggle

If this image looks super chaotic to you, welcome to my brain ♥ (don’t touch anything and good luck having fun in this mess!)

Some of us can’t pick up social cues at all, others get sensory overload which can look like mood swings, some of us need step-by-step explanations for tasks, and others look like they “act strangely” in public for various reasons.

But riddle me this: in a world where we are painted as awkwardness incarnate, the most clueless of people who can’t understand double meanings and “hints”… Why is it that neurotypicals need a page-long explanation about our disabilities to even BEGIN to consider we might be disabled? Why do we need to JUSTIFY our behaviours?

If they’re so good at picking up social cues, why can’t they just figure us out on their own?

Eccentricity.

What separates a disabled person from a very eccentric, quirky person?

Very little, that’s what.

In fact, they can sometimes overlap. Whether we’re talking about extravagant and colorful clothing, odd mannerisms or the need for a stimulating subject/conversation, a neurotypical person would want to know if you’re disabled or “just a weirdo.”

Well, my personal opinion is that they’re not entitled to that information.

And that is why we don’t get the tools and assistance that we need on a daily basis, and why we get looked at weirdly when we casually explain our symptoms as part of our lives, and why sometimes, people treat us differently(but not necessarily the right kind of differently!) when they know of our disabilities.

Neurotypical people are not ready to accept everyone without an explanation, no questions asked. They’re not ready to accept the fact that some of us have actual, daily drawbacks and disorders, and some other people are just eccentric, and some people are a little bit of both! AND IT SHOULDN’T MATTER.

They absolutely need to know which is which.

Why is kind of funny to me, considering they’re supposed to be so much more socially apt and most capable of adjusting to all kinds of situations.

Awfully odd then, that we, the neurodivergent, have to go through all the lengths to mask our differences and “act neurotypical” so that they aren’t flustered.

Am I the only one seeing the irony here??

Image from Planet Divergent which has a ton of helpful articles.

Access Denied

Here’s to the neurotypical: no, you’re not entitled to my mental health history.

That’s nobody’s business but my own.

If you want to learn more about invisible disabilities, here are some resources:

  • Check this ADHD Informational post. Many ADHD traits overlap with Autism, so keep that in mind.
  • Get some info about how children can actually have depression. It’s important to know these things, and this article tells you what to look for and what steps to take afterwards.
  • Take a long, hard look at this Chronic Pain Reality post. It’s way more common than you think.
  • Anxious Children. It starts early, and it is for LIFE. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is difficult to deal with, and knowing more about the subject can only help.
  • We all know that Learning Disabilities exist, although some decide not to BELIEVE in them, which is ridiculous. But how much do you know about the subject?

And feel free to look around my blog, which is chock-full of blog posts aimed at invisibly disabled people such as myself, as well as an informational section that can help both neurodivergent people who recently figured out they were neurodivergent, and neurotypical people who want to know more.

I’m not blaming neurotypicals but…

No, okay, I low-key am. Where’s the empathy? Where’s the inclusivity? And when the f*ck did we end up in tiny little boxes that don’t fit any of us? Why can’t we all just exist and be chill about it?

Some of them neurotypicals can be all up in my business all day and I just NEED to say: What the f*ck? I HAVEN’T LEFT MY APARTMENT IN WEEKS tell me exactly how am I bothering you? And how much free time do you have? Jeez.

(yes, this is highly targeted to specific people, however I’d like to make everyone aware that this is just not okay)

/Rantover

We need to talk about invisible disabilities because too often, they are OVERLOOKED and forgotten about. And then, IF our disabilities are being taken into consideration, it’s often badly handled due to a lack of information.

I’m all about spreading awareness about invisible disabilities. I’m right here making an entire blog about it!

But the truth is, we can’t teach neurotypical people about our situations, our needs, and how to empathize and help with our disabilities if they keep to their belief that they are entitled to an explanation. To me, it’s just as rude as asking someone in a wheelchair “why are you in a wheelchair?”

Neurodivergence is much more common than we think. It’s time to learn to be inclusive, not exclusive. Have the accessibility options ready for anyone who will need it, not ask and judge if the person actually needs it.

On a good day, you ask me if I’m disabled and I’ll trauma-dump and info-dump all of the things for hours, no worries. You might even get pretty overwhelmed by just how much info I can provide triggered by one (1) question. But I shouldn’t be expected, not required, to explain myself and share my medical history.

SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST WEIRD Y’ALL. GET OVER IT.

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