An accident at work changed the trajectory of Kimberley’s life. Although her health issues may seem invisible to others, the pain she feels is very real. Here she shares a situation she encountered with someone she used to consider a friend and how the hurtful words that person said affected her.

An Injury That Changed Everything

I suffered a work-related injury one night as I was waiting tables as a server. I injured the disc in my lower back that required spinal fusion, which is no easy surgery to recover from. My whole life changed. My dreams of starting law school had been crushed. [At the time], I had to find a new normal and I was barely coping emotionally.

[Now] I take pain medication on a daily basis, but that doesn’t render me pain-free. Some days I lay on our tile floor hoping [the cold tile] will help ease my pain.

“Must Be Nice to Get Social Security Disability for Nothing”

[Once] I had a friend over to my home who was talking about how difficult finding a job was for her. I sympathized with her, explaining that finding a job is sometimes tough and feels overwhelming. Without mentioning my comment, she looked at me and told me it must be nice to get social security disability for nothing, because I didn’t look like I had any health issues. I hesitated for a brief moment, but finally told her to get out [of my house].

I sat on the floor and cried. I kept thinking, “Are you kidding?” [It was hurtful for] my so-called friend to say it was “nice” to get money from Social Security for nothing.

I realize nobody can see the scar on my belly from my spinal fusion surgery. Nobody realized the months I spent recovering. Nobody realized my life was not going to be what I dreamed it was to be. It was a comment that hit me deep in my soul and to this day, it’s something I can’t forget.

“Just Be Compassionate to Others”

When we see others out in the world, we have no idea what it took for them to actually walk out of the house. Do they suffer from depression, severe pain or any other ailments that aren’t visible to us? Somebody may look just fine as they get out of the car after having parked in the handicap parking space, but that doesn’t mean they’re okay. It must be a particularly rough day to have to park in a handicap space. Just be compassionate to others, treat others as you want to be treated and never judge.

We have no idea what it’s like to walk an hour in their shoes.

Kimberley W.
Rotonda West, FL
Diagnosed with spinal fusion, interstitial cystitis

Have you ever received hurtful comments regarding your health? Share your story here.