How does it feel to have an invisible disability? To many, I live a perfect life. I have a wonderful family, a supportive boyfriend, and my caring pets. However, underneath all of that, my disability is a major part of my identity, and I feel like it deeply explains me and my life. No one can see what is “wrong” with me* – they only see the parts of me that are considered “normal” in our world. However, I want to share the other part of me – part of me that our world often ignores.
*I say this not to characterize my disability as though it is something that is wrong with me, but because I want to point out how others perceive my disability in an ableist manner once they are aware of it.
My name is Jasmine Carmona and I am a recently graduated senior from Chicago Bulls College Prep. I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease at 4 years old. Graves’ Disease is a thyroid condition that affects a person’s hormones and can cause many other health issues. My thyroid was removed shortly after my diagnosis. To this day, there is still no understanding of how I got this condition. After the surgery, I continued to push forward even during the struggles I had afterwards –I remembered even being bullied due to my appearance that is associated with Graves’ Disease (dark circles, bulging eyes, lightweight). Through all of it, I found myself surrounded by my supportive family. However, my life changed again when I began to suffer from intense pain in my jaw.