I have been smiling my whole life. Even during pain; I can hide it very well. I remember telling a friend’s years ago that I didn’t feel like having company because I wasn’t feeling too good that day.

I decided I wanted to go to the store to pick up a few things; well, lo and behold, she was at the store too. She accused me of lying about not feeling well and stormed off. This was a friend that didn’t understand my illness at all.

Learn What It Takes to Overcome Judgement & Show Support for Psoriasis Patients

What my friend didn’t see was the discomfort and pain I was in or the fact that I had to drag myself out of bed to be there, and the energy it took out of me. God, if she had only saw me a few minutes before, trying to get out of my vehicle or trying to find a close parking spot.

How to Apply for a Disability Parking Placard and Permit in Washington, DC and Maryland

If you live in Washington, DC, you may apply for a disability parking placard and permit through this government website. Maryland residents, go to this DMV website to apply for your placard.

In general, you qualify for a disability parking placard and permit, if you meet the following requirements:

  • You must have a longterm medical disability.
  • Your disability must be listed on the application.
  • You must have a medical professional certify your application.

Take a look at what this lyme disease patient has to say about living with an invisible illness. This young woman shares her experiences using a handicap placard:

Dealing With Judgement From Others Is Difficult

It’s so hard to explain an invisible illness to someone. How can I explain to you that I was tossing and turning all night because the pain was unbearable?

I have lost friends because they think I don’t want to be in their company. As I’ve got older, I am just worn out. I’m sad some days for no reason and fatigue the next. The brain fog is another whole story. I keep a lot in because I don’t want people to judge me.

People think I’m lazy because I work from home and don’t want to go out. I just wish people understood how much my illness affects me every single day. I used to be the life of the party; now I can’t even make it to the party.

Don’t Judge People With Handicapped Stickers on Their Cars

I have a handicapped sticker and feel guilty when I must use it. I know that someone is looking and giving me the evil eye. The sad reality is that my own husband doesn’t know when I’m in pain at times. I can be at my worst and still look good. If you want to read about my experiences with strength training, take a look at this article I wrote about strength training at 60+.

Just stop people— We are not faking it. If I’m in a handicap parking spot it’s because I don’t have the energy to walk long distances, or my joints are killing me today. I really have nothing to prove to anyone, but if you ever have to explain yourself to anyone, just be kind, a smile can go a long way.

While it is difficult to explain an invisible illness, you should be able to arm yourself with information and the right terms so you can inform someone else and help them understand.

If you want more information about what it’s been like for me to live with psoriasis, take a look at this unique interactive experience put together by Health Central to share my story.