There are thousands of chronic illnesses and even more people who have chronic illnesses. It’s hard for most people to believe, but yes, young people have various chronic illnesses too. I cannot tell you how many times I have told somebody I have a chronic illness and the response I got back was, “But you’re so young.”
I developed a chronic illness at the age of 14. I was barely navigating life as a teenager and a freshman in high school, then a chronic illness was thrown on top.
Complex regional pain syndrome is an invisible illness so most people would never know you’re battling one. Being a young person with an invisible illness makes this situation even more difficult.
I haven’t had many visible accommodations such as a wheelchair or walker. My most visible accommodations have always been casts, boots, crutches and braces from various injuries I have had over the years that are exacerbated by my CRPS.
I have a disability parking pass I can use at school when I need it. The constant looks I get and smart remarks I have heard often range from, “Why is she parked in a disability spot? She looks fine,” to “She’s too young – she probably is using her grandparents’ tag.”