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To Sam

Living with a disability that no one understands

hi sam,

i have a disability that isnt visable to people and recently i have had a really bad time with it. i have tried to go out and have fun with friends but i just cant keep up to them. i find that because i try i end up in extreme pain causing me to have to spend a couple of days in bed afterwards. no one understands how this even though i explain all the time. my boyfriend doesnt think he can stay with me as my problems are quite severe and he doenst want it to affect him in anyway. i really feel sad that i could loose everything that makes me happy and if i loose this my life wont be worth living anymore.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Whether a disability is seen or not, everyone has the right to be treated the same, with care and respect. Friends, family and partners should all love you for who you are and it can be hard if someone you care about doesn’t appreciate that.

Living with a disability is different for everyone. Two people who have the same kind of disability might lead two very different lives and face their own problems and challenges. We're all different, and we cope with things in different ways. You may also find that you go through good and bad periods with your disability - with times where it can feel extra difficult to go about your day-to-day life.

One of the hardest things about having a disability that people can't see is having to explain it a lot. We all have things that go wrong with our body, but for most people this is just from time to time when they’re sick or unwell. Having a permanent disability means having to explain lots of times why you may not be able to do something or need extra help, and this can feel like you don't have any privacy. Explaining an invisible disability can be extra hard as you may find people forget about it and have to be reminded, which makes it feel as though they are not taking you seriously.

One way to deal with this might be to spend some time with each of your friends individually. Often people can appreciate things more when it's one on one. In a larger group they might get distracted, but if you are alone with a friend then you can start to explain and show them what your disability is like, and what support you need.

There is more to you than just a disability. There will be lots of things about you that make you special and although your partner means a lot to you, it’s important to love yourself first. Your partner doesn’t make you the person you are – you do. If this relationship doesn’t work out, you’ll still have all the amazing things about yourself and you deserve someone who appreciates the whole of you.

Childline has more advice about friendships and relationships, and how to have difficult conversations with the people you love.

You might also be able to get some extra support and help from the government - find out more about what you may be entitled to on the UK Government website.

I hope this helps, thanks for sharing this with me – if you’d like to talk more, Childline counsellors are there for you on the phone or online 24/h a day.


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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