As of the 11th of August ITV launched a new on-air marketing campaign highlighting invisible disabilities in a bid to''help create culture change around disability perception and representation.'' As an invisibly disabled person this caught me by surprise, however it is a happy surprise indeed. One in five of us are disabled, and this new campaign featuring famous faces such as Katie Piper and Paul Cinha, powerfully highlights that just because you cannot see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.
My conditions of M.E/CFS, Fibromyalgia and Occipital Neuralgia are all classed as invisible disabilities as you cannot physically see the symptoms unless you know what you are looking for. If I am not using my wheelchair or mobility scooter, or have make-up on it would be difficult to spot the tell tale signs of my illnesses. My mobility aids act as a calling card for disability and aid me in travelling long distances that would be a walk of 5 minutes or more. Wearing make-up usually hides my pale face and dark circles, both of which are symptoms of M.E showing the extreme fatigue I feel.
The meaning behind ITV's creation of this as is immense for someone like me, it shows that people are listening, they want to know more and learn how to handle invisible disabilities, something that disabled people have been advocating for, for a long long time. The ad itself ends by encouraging audiences to find out more at itv.com/disability. The website hosts further information about invisible impairments and conditions, as well as tips from disabled people on what non-disabled people can do to be a good ally. Please, if you have the time to explore this, do! Being a good ally to an invisibly disabled person is easy and simple: be supportive, take time to listen and learn about their lifestyle, avoid stigmas and stereotypes and treat invisible disabilities as a part of life, a natural and normal thing.