When your friends don’t believe your disability actually exists

My last friendship did not end well because one of my friends did not understand my migraines and she thought they could be easily treated through medication.  Instead of asking me for more information about my disability she assumed Hydrocephalus wasn’t a thing and called me psycho and accused me of making up a disability that did not exist. Hydrocephalus is a when there is too much cerebrospinal in the brain and although headache medication may help with preventing headaches and making them less severe it is not the most common treatment. The most common treatment for Hydrocephalus is to insert a tube called a shunt to help remove excess fluid in the brain and relieve pressure.

Hydrocephalus not only affects about eighty-percent of people with Spina Bifida but according to the Hydrocephalus Association over 100,000 in the United States live with Hydrocephalus so you don’t have to have Spina Bifida to be affected by it. Sometimes when your disability is invisible it can be difficult to explain to your friends because your disability may not be as obvious as many others and can be difficult to explain but telling someone it does not exist is hurtful. Disabled people often times are accused of either faking their disability or making one up so if you are struggling with getting your friends to believe that your disability is legitimate here are a few things you can do that may help convince your friends that your disability is real.

Explain- Before you even think about cutting all ties with your friends because of a hurtful thing they said regarding your disability why not try to educate them about it.  Sometimes when your friends say hurtful things like your psycho and your disability doesn’t exist it is because they are uneducated about your disability and they legitimately have never heard of it before. Explaining to your friends that what they said was hurtful and giving them a little bit more information about your disability may help bring you closer and give your friend a better understanding of your disability and help to avoid rude comments like that in the future. There are no guarantees this will have any effect on your friend or really do anything at all but all you can do is try!

Google it-  Telling your friends to google your disability may sound rude and it is if your friend legitimately wants to know more about your disability. If they are mocking it, calling you psycho and saying it doesn’t really exist then telling them to google is not anymore rude than any of the hurtful accusations that they are making towards your disability. You want to do your best to try to educate people on your disability but some people you just can’t get through no matter how hard you try and telling them to google your disability will give them the reassurance that you are not making it up if they were to decide to do some research.  Wasting your time trying to educate someone who doesn’t care to learn always goes in an endless circle and is a complete waste of time because you will most likely make little to no progress!

Cut all ties- Sometimes no matter how hard you try you will not be able to get through to your friends and you may be forced to cut all ties with them. For me, that was the case because no matter how many times I tried to explain my condition to her she would not listen because she was so convinced it could be treated through medication. Geez, I had thought of that but unfortunately, it’s not that simple!  You can do your best to try to educate your friends about your disability but if they don’t express an interest in wanting to learn more than it may be time to find friends that are supportive of your disability.

If you don’t live with migraines or have never experienced one you may never fully understand the pain and anxiety a migraine will bring. No one is asking you to fully understand our condition but we are asking you try to understand and you do that by simply believing us when we tell you about your disability and not questioning it. Migraines are very debilitating and even though someone may not look like they are in pain that does not mean they aren’t in pain because there are a lot of disabilities where you don’t look disabled. Whether you have migraines from Hydrocephalus or another migraine disorder it can be very frustrating because your pain will be unpredictable but hanging around people who don’t support it will not make living with migraines any easier. Migraines are a neurological disorder and if your friends can’t accept that they may not be your friends. If you have any questions about what to do when your friends don’t believe your disability exist please leave them in the comments below!

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4 comments

  1. I have Hydrocephalus but also am taking a migraine medication to help prevent headaches and even though my medication does help it does not get rid of them completely. Treating migraines or any type of headache can be tricky when you have Hydrocephalus because sometimes they just don’t know what causes them.

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  2. I have a friend that has a shunt to help with her Hydrocephalus.

    I suffer migraines, but not from Hydrocephalus.I don’t think a doctor has ever figured out what caused mine. If they did, nobody decided to share the information with me.

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  3. Yes unfortunately, that friendship had already been falling apart for a while and as much as I was hurt by her accusations I was not surprised by them because I knew it was time to move on.

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