I Am Invisible No More: Part 1

My name is Effie Koliopoulos, I live with an
invisible disability and illness. I was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis and
autoimmune disease 15 years ago. While arthritis is the number one cause of
disability in the United States, there are still people living with this condition who show
no signs of being sick or disabled. That is because invisible disabilities and illnesses
are not black and white. There is a lot of gray matter that
isn’t understood well by society. I’m one of those people that doesn’t use a wheelchair or any assistive device in
fact growing up I was a healthy active kid until I started experiencing strange
symptoms that didn’t go away when I told my doctor at the time about the fatigue
night sweats random joint and muscle aches I was told it was just growing
pains of being a teenager and nothing to worry about
that I would outgrow it but I didn’t and many people out there with stories like
mine didn’t either instead we grow into it and have to come
to terms with our new life many people suffer in silence for years because they
are not taken seriously then we start doing research on Google or other
sources to try finding answers in order to be heard and validated society and
mass media doesn’t make this inner turmoil any easier if someone doesn’t
fit the mold of what a sick and disabled person is supposed to look or act like
they are questioned and harassed I had this happen to me 10 years ago when a
stranger called the cops a complained that I was misusing my disabled parking
placard at the train station sometimes the people closest to us don’t
even understand what we are going through illness doesn’t just affect one
person it impacts everyone around them from their family children friends
co-workers and loved ones or some their number-one supporters are those closest
to them assumptions create a barrier between people who are living with any
illness or disability in the outside world
because of this feelings of grief depression anxiety fear and social
isolation can start occurring there is more to illness than pain and
inability to walk there can be medical debt side-effects
or medications constant doctor appointments being told to prove your
illness or disability the unpredictability of feeling good one
moment to horrible the next mental and emotional pain strain relationships not
being able to work full-time or at all and having your faith tested the stigma behind you are too young to
be sick is what drives us lack of awareness invisible disability and
illness doesn’t discriminate anyone at any age can find themselves in this
situation nobody should have to live in fear of being approached in public
called fake a liar or reporter fraud excuse me that placard isn’t mine 9 out
of 10 people would challenge someone who doesn’t look disabled because they think
they are doing the right thing that disabled man really needs a spot it’s
people like you who fake it who are causing problems people don’t need to wear signs that
illustrate what they are going through in order to be treated with kindness but
what if we could read what was going on in the lives of those around us what are
we still care to question them or do we stop and think before reacting
either way the reality is everyone is going through something whether we see
it or not thank you for watching please help raise
awareness for invisible disabilities and Commerce’s by sharing these videos I
want to thank lusco video all my Kickstarter backers who helped make this
video come to life and especially global healthy living foundation crystal bought
a fur ester a balton Kimmie and rheumatism anak along with everyone else
who took the time to share their photo and opinions in a video be sure to watch
more of the I’m invisible no more videos subscribe to the channel and make sure
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