30 People With Non-Obvious Illnesses Share The Reasons People Get Mad At Them
We could all stand to be a bit kinder to others in our daily lives. Just because you don’t see someone suffering in an obvious way doesn’t mean that they aren’t in pain. And though it’s natural to make quick judgments about others, we should also strive to get to know people’s stories, who they are, and what problems they might be dealing with. Life, and people in general, can be far more complicated than they first appear.
For instance, you might hear someone call a person ‘lazy’ or ‘distracted’ because they have difficulty accomplishing even ‘easy’ tasks. However, if you dig a bit deeper, you might realize that this particular person may have a medical condition that’s not obvious to everyone around them. A condition that makes it incredibly difficult to do even ‘simple’ things.
Internet users opened up about their non-obvious medical conditions that their friends, family, and coworkers often stigmatize, in a very open and honest r/AskReddit thread. Read on to see just how difficult their day-to-day life can be, whether we’re talking about ADHD, arthritis, or a number of diseases. If you have a medical condition that you feel is widely misunderstood or misinterpreted, Pandas, feel free to shed some light on it in the comments, so everyone can come away from this having learned something more.
I've had people become very offended when I get very upset at seemingly normal things, like rapid movements in my direction or being yelled at. I'm not being an emotional cry baby, I literally have PTSD you f**k
I have Crohn's disease. The fatigue and the joint pain can be debilitating. I have been accused by family members of being lazy because somedays I can't get motivated and do even the smallest of chores. Most people don't realize that with Crohns and Colitis the symptoms aren't just intestinal. The inflammation can effect your entire body. It breaks my heart because I really just want to be normal and capable.
I have ADHD
I tell people; Imagine brains are like browsers. A normal person can have several tabs open at once, switching between them as needed.
An ADHD brain has just 2 tabs. Whatever you're doing right at this moment, and a tab just for daydreams that you can't close that plays audio in the background.
Give a normal person a task: "Do your laundry at some point today" and they'll pop it in a new tab and get to it when they're closing tabs later.
Give an ADHD brain the same task, and their one functional tab becomes "remember to do laundry" until a new task pops up, at which point it gets overwritten.
It really sucks as a kid because it's functionally identical to forgetting, and if you've ever had parents, you know "I forgot" is not an acceptable answer.
What seems incredibly simple for one individual might be extremely hard for another. There’s a bit of an understanding and empathy gap here. People can find it hard to put themselves in someone else’s shoes concerning tasks and activities that come naturally to them. However, we can start to understand what patients might be feeling by considering what we, ourselves, find difficult, and applying it to other areas in life.
Something else to take into account is the amount of chronic pain and discomfort some folks might be dealing with every single day. We have to think back to the times that we’ve had to function while in pain if we don’t ‘get’ how others might have trouble doing seemingly ‘easy’ tasks. Have you ever had to work or go to school with a toothache, broken arm, or severely upset stomach? Now imagine having to get things done with that (only possibly even worse).
Then there are the psychological factors to consider. People with ADD, ADHD, Asperger’s, autism, extreme sensory sensitivity, and other disorders provided the internet with a window into their lives in the r/AskReddit thread. The best way forward is to be as kind as you can to everyone you meet, no matter if they’re fit as a fiddle or have to deal with lots of obvious and not-so-obvious medical problems.
According to psychotherapist Silva Neves, people have two different, constantly-competing instincts within themselves. One for kindness. The other—for survival. Our brains are hardwired to reward us when we’re acting in a social and altruistic way, he told Bored Panda a while back. A the same time, we’re also prone to selfishness because it’s directly linked to our desire to survive.
Migraines. To the point of pitch black room, no noise, no aromas or odors, ice cold and ice packs on my head. Can’t see because of all the flashing lights and dark spots in my vision. I hate going somewhere and someone is wearing some cloying sweet perfume because I will get nauseous and flashes start and I could be down for days. Longest migraine was 7 days; had to have i.v. therapy and shots in the butt for the pain.
Celiac disease. People joke about gluten free being a fad diet for basic bi**hes, and then get really irritated with me when I request that when dining out together we go somewhere safe for me to eat. I’m so sorry but PLEASE don’t veto this restaurant just because it doesn’t quite hit your craving. It is literally the only safe place where I can eat something on the menu.
Arthritis in my hands knees and spine and Bipolar 1. Other stuff too. People (my wife's dad most recently), think it's seriously okay to make fun of the noises I make when I have to stand up. I refuse to take opiates. Standing hurts. A lot. He will literally talk s**t to my wife when I'm out of the room about how I'm just a Pu***. That it's just laziness.
I'm also a large guy. 5'11 280lbs fairly muscular (pretty solid dad bod) they get mad or tease me because I won't do things like carry shingles up onto my roof, and that I paid a neighbor to do it. Arthritis is degenerative and painful. Just because I look this way doesn't mean I can lift and carry.
The bipolar? I have psychotic features. Hallucinations (audio/visual). The minute people hear the word "psychotic" attached to anything they run away screaming. I've lost close friends, relationships, jobs (I have a hard time finding and keeping one. Another thing that gains ridicule), and have family that won't let their kids around me because of a diagnostic term.
I've never hurt anyone. My visual hallucinations are usually dogs and rats that I pet idly if I'm not focusing and distressed. My audio hallucinations are literally audible music, or mostly kind voices encouraging me to do better. I'm not suddenly going to be a serial killer. This has been a thing since I was a child. The ONLY person I've hurt outside of a fair fight (I was a bar hopper for a little while in my youth) is MYSELF.
People tend to worry that by helping someone out, by being kind to them, it can somehow backfire on them. However, there are benefits to kindness, too. Altruism can make us feel good physically, it gives us a sense of purpose, and it can raise our own self-esteem.
“It [kindness] is also good for others, obviously. So kindness is actually something that we, humans, are naturally driven to be. “The sense of kindness is in competition with our survival mode, so, as human beings, we tend to live in contradiction, between kindness (opening our arms) and protection (closing our arms).”
Meanwhile, the Action for Happiness team previously explained to Bored Panda that altruism is closely linked to our own happiness. When we’re kind to others, when we act in a selfless way, the reward center in our brains gets activated.
“Small daily actions one at a time can help us to make altruism a lifetime habit. You could start out small by deciding you are going to smile at everyone you meet or pay three people a compliment today,” the AfH team shared how someone can start becoming kinder to others in their daily lives. You might decide that you want to volunteer for a good cause, help an elderly neighbor, or give money to charity.
I literally have a memory problem, and when I say that everyone acts like I'm joking. Until we are mid sentence and I have no idea what we are talking about. Sometimes people get mad. I can't control it. It's annoying to me too, not just you!
I have autism and a few diagnosed mental illnesses that I go therapy for. I have a very hard time blocking noise out due to my autism and I hated as a kid when I would complain about another student bothering me in class and the teacher would respond with, “just ignore them” I LITERALLY CAN'T???? Now as a high schooler, I can just put my headphones on and my teachers don’t mind, since I get my work done in a timely manner (most of the time lol).
This is the only thing I can think of right now, but I might add to it.
my depression often cripples me from being able to enjoy or simple tasks. but im just lazy. thats what people say and im starting to kinda believe it. sometimes i cant even will myself to get up
“All of these actions help others and boost your own happiness and if we are happier, research shows we are even more likely to help others,” Action for Happiness said. According to them, if you’re not used to being altruistic and kind, it’s fine to fake it until you make it.
“Maybe at first, you start out doing things to help others only to get attention and praise, but you will find that doing things for others helps you feel good and when you see people’s responses. Once you see the difference you can make in the world and to your own happiness and altruism can grow naturally.”
I have POTS. If I stand up my pulse spikes to 140 bpm and stays that way till I lay down. This often leads to migraines and fainting just from being up for too long. I spend almost all my time in bed, so I can't do most things. Luckily my wife is understanding and we find ways to make it work, but other family members like my parents don't accept my problems and would constantly try to push me to the point of falling down.
I have diagnosed agoraphobia. Most people think that means I don't want to go outside. That couldn't be further from the truth. I can't stand huge spaces with crowds. I was diagnosed before mass shootings were a thing. It's way worse now. Now I cancel plans a lot and it's because of my mental health but people think it's just because I "don't feel like it".
I'm autistic, of the "would be Asperger if that was still it's own diagnosis in my country, but it's not" variety.
I only have a few sensory issues, but I get flack for them all the time.
I'm mostly vegetarian because I can't tolerate meat unless it meets certain criteria. Ground beef is usually fine, as is heavily processed meat that doesn't resemble meat much (like chicken nuggets or most lunch meat). But like, a chicken breast or pork chop? Absolutely not. I've been harassed about this for over three decades now. "Just eat it, it wont hurt you" and "you're just being weird" and "don't be difficult, everyone eats this."
Also, sensory overload. I usually have a high tolerance and it's hard to push me into a meltdown (it's more like a shutdown for me), but when I get there, I legitimatelt cannot function unless I can remove myself to a quiet dark room to "reset." I've never needed to do this in school or work (I'm an RN) but in my personal life I've been called "dramatic" or "difficult" for sometimes needing 5-10 minutes alone to get my sensory needle out of the red.
Mind, I grew up in the dark ages of the 80s and 90s and because I'm female and of "above average" intelligence, was repeatedly told as a child and teenager I could not be autistic. I was diagnosed in my 30s. But, the "you can get over this if you just tried" thing has not stopped since getting my official diagnosis. If anything, it's gotten worse because "yeah but you're not on the 'bad' end of the spectrum so what's the problem?"
Hold down a job. I've got a triple threat of medical conditions, epilepsy, diabetes and aspergers. My parents see me only at my physical appearance, my dad has even stated that it's because I'm part of a generation that wants instant gratification and all the millennial stereotypes. My mom thinks I'm just playing a Sad sob story as an excuse not to work hard. But the thing is, I try my damned best to do what I do. I mean I can't earn over a certain amount or my social security stops, so i take the roll of house husband and do all the chores. Cook, clean, grocery shop, ect. But my parents think it's me being lazy. And I'll be the first to admit I've never been good at holding a job. Between the depression from being torn away from my hometown and friends without even being allowed to get phone numbers to say good bye, and the epilepsy that made it near impossible for me to get my driver's license, I decided being a homemaker would be my best course of action. But of course, nothing will ever be good enough for them. They hold every mistake I make over my head. And it sucks. I can't even afford a service animal to help me with my epilepsy/seizures
I have quite severe endometriosis which is causing a lot of flow on inflammation issues and a whole lot of pain.
It's hard to get people to understand what it even is beyond 'period pain' let alone how it affects me. This is affecting more than just my uterus, and it is every single day. My fam is good, work is not.
I had acute leukemia as an adult and had 2.5 years of intensive chemotherapy. I have now been done with chemo 5 years, but I still struggle so much with fatigue. I can only handle like one errand a day or a couple of household chores. I look pretty healthy now and a lot of people just don’t get how much damage the chemo did to my body.
Household chores that involve my arms over my head or a lot of force.
I have a connective tissue disorder that makes me hypermobile. It *literally* means it's harder for me to do something like fold laundry. But it's invisible and I can handle it most of the time (Thanks to a ton of physical therapy!) so people just pretend I'm being lazy.
Waking up in the morning. I have a complex medical history that includes Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder and I've tried every recommended treatment but it's going against my natural state and I don't want to have to take more meds on top of the ones I have already.
I can work remotely at night and I get decent quality sleep during the day (when it's quiet, that's another story) but my family are convinced this is a sign of depression or laziness. If I force myself to be awake during the day I am clumsy, I drop things all the time and I struggle to form sentences. At night I can multitask, complete 3 hours work in 1 hour and my memory is sharp. There is no reason for me to try and fit daylight hours except to fit into what they think is normal.
Combo disorder depression and anxiety mixed around with brain trauma. I forget things constantly and have a hard time doing what others see as simple daily tasks. Anxiety is rough, but it's the absolute worst when it comes to operating a vehicle. Due to my inability to drive safely without the risk of harming others, I choose to not drive. Because I could kill someone. Obviously. The people around me don't understand it at all and I get told I need to grow up or simply not care if I kill a person because driving is just soooo important.
I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I hurt someone. I cannot put a luxury above the lives of others.
it’s not as serious but I’ve had chronic bladder and kidney infections since I was 15 which basically meant constant rounds of antibiotics but also I got up in class 3-4 times an hour to go pee. My teachers were MAD and accused me of just using my phone or wanting to ditch class, when in reality I was just in a lot of pain.
Just go to the ME/CFS sub. I was diagnosed at 23 and am thankfully recovered, but it's the worst illness, and people don't believe you're sick.
Long Covid has finally given people some understanding.
It's not 'tiredness.' It's your limbs feeling like lead - just crossing a room feels like you're walking through molasses. Vertigo that makes you feel like you're going to pass out when you stand up. Sore, achy, painful muscles and joints - neck, shoulders, back, legs. No appetite. Brain fog. Headache. And all of this combined with the worst, most deadening exhaustion you can imagine.
It's essentially the worst flu imaginable, every day. I was basically bedbound.
Besides the flat-out contempt I received from some doctors, there was my family's insistence that it was a 'nervous breakdown,' or that 'if I had no choice but to recover then I would,' or that it was a 'lack of motivation.'
I was told that I needed to go to X event, and I could 'rest' or 'you can sit down when you get there.' Not realizing that even just getting there and having to socialize - even just sitting up - would cause me days of severe pain and exhaustion.
And not understanding that I couldn't be courteous - I couldn't bring this in from the kitchen, help make food or set the table, etc.
When I was fired from my job I was told it was 'great I had time to travel or pursue a hobby' - no, I was too sick to get out of bed.
It's an awful, life-limiting illness and disgusting that its very existence is still disbelieved. In studies, sufferers have been shown to have less quality of life than late-stage AIDS and cancer patients, but it gets less funding than hayfever.
I have psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia. Just recently diagnosed but have been dealing with the pain and fatigue for years. I get a ton of judgement because my husband is “mr. mom” and takes on a ton of the parenting duties for our toddler, especially when we are out of the home. He doesn’t care - a) he’s an equal parent by choice, and b) it’s an agreement we’ve made, that with all of the energy it takes me to even get us out of the house and socialize…he primarily manages the parenting once we get there…but people see a dad being primary parent and the judgements are plain as day on their faces. My own mom used to make sideways comments implying that I was lazy, poor Bob (not his name hahah), but now I finally have a diagnosis and that’s stopped.
Well people don't necessarily get mad at me for it (well they probably do but don't show it) but having a stutter when I speak can sometimes make saying even the simplest of words/sentences can be very difficult at times for me, and it's even worse when I'm speaking to people who I don't really know too well
Asthma; the amount of times I get told something along the lines of "well my friend's cousin has asthma and they don't have that trigger so you should be fine".
I have really well controlled asthma but I avoid my triggers which is one of the reasons I have it well controlled and asthma is not a one fit all ailment.
Social anxiety. My mom complains that I never call, but I am actually scared of talking to people (yup, including family) and accidentally saying something stupid, or rude, or embarrassing, and therefore irreversibly ruining my reputation forever and becoming hated, despised or just a laughingstock for the rest of my life.
Worst thing is that, ironically, I actually enjoy talking to people
My wife completely broke her shoulder many years ago, detached tendon and everything. The surgery team said she was incredibly lucky to get mostly full range of motion back and she can now lift about 5 pounds or a little more if she's using "dinosaur arms." The other one ended up going kaput soon thereafter because it's a degenerative disorder and, to some extent, it's a compensatory injury.
Otherwise, she looks incredibly healthy. As a result, we keep encountering people who think she should be lifting things. At work, she was approved for a standing desk and they asked her to assemble it herself. It's ridiculous. When we go traveling or shopping, a lot of people end up giving her looks because I'm feminine and smaller than her and I end up carrying everything because she can't. I am happy to do it, but I know it bothers her.
I just wish people were more cognizant of hidden disabilities.
Dyspraxia! Most people think I'm taking the p**s when some basic motor tasks are difficult for me. Or they assume I'm stupid. Not the case, no matter how hard I try, my brain just can't always process certain things. DIY is a big one. I wish I could do it and do it well but it is very sloppy and rough even with time, practice and effort.
I was late learning to swim, late riding a bike without stabilisers and have an awkward posture and gait. It could be quite embarrassing. It's not as bad these days, I'll be 30 next year so I've had time to either adapt things to the way I do them or figure things out. I used to "get stuck" in the loft if I had to go up there. Climbing up the ladder was fine, down, difficult for me.
Some people assumed autism, which is not the case for me, though it's in my family.
I have chondropathy since my mid-20s, so running, jumping, using stairs, standing in uneven grounds or kneeling has been quite painful since then.
I don't have enough fingers to count the amount of times I've been denied the use of an elevator or received death stares when sitting on a full bus because... I'm young and thin so... I'm obviously lying or something?
I have Borderline Personality Disorder--first I have to make them understand BPD is not bipolar disorder. And I have to constantly prove to them that I am a decent person. They don't believe me when I tell them that therapists have bailed out on me after my diagnosis even though they helped me through my OCD and I don't understand why except they believe that people, especially women with BPD are 'crazy bi**hes' (ableist term istg).
And there are literal subreddits and blogs demonising people with BPD--a mental illness doesn't make a person act bad, that is ableist to suggest so, a person's choices make a person act bad. You cannot s**t someone for being hypoempathetic but you can s**t on someone who chooses to be unempathetic. But I have a hard time making my friends and family understand that. They still routinely use psychopath and narcissist to describe someone doing something bad.
People have it easier when it comes to recognising red flags but since I have such a black and white mentality--it is very difficult--I see red flags when there aren't any and miss red flags entirely and people act like I am stupid but I just cannot--judge. I am trying to figure things out though--it will just take me more effort than most of those who don't have what I have.
They don't understand how--I struggle to have a grip on reality but it doesn't mean I have multiple personalities or trying to spite them--I genuinely cannot and then their reaction just strengthens the dissociation.
And after the Amber Heard case and the psychologist suggesting she has BPD and HPD--it just---worsened people's perception of these mental illnesses--I don't know why people attach mental illnesses to bad behaviour--how will that help anyone heal?
Also the understanding of BPD is so obviously on the pov of people who don't have BPD and have to 'deal with' BPD so the condition is very misunderstood hence the stigma. Thanks to it, everyone thinks it means I am clingy and have abandonment issues and I just--I can't. BPD is beyond that and I personally think the worst thing is the dissociation, the broken memories, the paranoid ideation, the loss of identity, the f****n pain and what not.
However, I am getting better. I catch myself and recognise my differences and find ways to navigate the world while respecting it. It helps me accept and heal. I wish I could find a therapist though...
I have erythromelalgia which causes severe pain in my lower leg and feet. This along with several other underlying issues in my feet make it extremely painful to walk some days. I get a lot of “just wear better shoes” or “use an insert” because people just assume it’s something I can just make go away. I’ve tried literally everything and it hurts no matter what I do or wear. My only option is pain management with medication.
I also live with very “high functioning” depression and low grade anxiety. And I get a lot of “you’re not depressed! You’re so outgoing and active” What people fail to realize is, when I’m off the clock, I’m completely exhausted from being “switched on” all day long.
I have a serious back condition caused by a prolapsed disk damaging the nerves in my lower back. I often ask co workers to lift things for me, I get especially weird looks for light items that are close to the floor. This is made worse by the fact that I'm a 6'3 250lb well built man
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