t h e w o r l d o f i n v i s i b l e i l l n e s s


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Riding my 3-wheeler on a Sunday morning bike ride with David, we pedaled a mile to get donuts (a reward for exercising).  We pass by a huge grassy field on our route and paused to watch a man throwing a ball to his dog.  A golden retriever, she looked to be a mature animal, but what do I know about dogs…Anyway, that dog wagged and ran and fetched and laid on the cool grass when she wanted to.  I can’t say I’ve ever seen a dog take a time out from playing fetch, but this one did.  “Her way of saying ‘time to go home'”, the man said.

Smart dog.

Lately I’ve started refusing to fetch, too.  Uh, I’m thinking about it, at least.   It’s tough to pull off; I block out what it looks like when I’ve fetched for far too long: stumbling, falling on my butt, weaving as I walk — overall, looking like I’m under the influence.   More horrible is that I’m inflicting this “new reality” on others.

As a therapist, being disabled is double-edged.  On the one side, I’m a role model for others with disability; the downside is that there are those who are put off by a therapist they may feel they have to take care of — someone who’s “broken” as one guy told me.  I hate it when that happens; I feel rejected.

It doesn’t matter that I don’t want what’s true to be true.  It is.  Imagining and pretending belong in private, if at all.   I can’t take pride unless I have pride; let go of what doesn’t work anymore.  Stop running so hard and so far.  The reality is more rapid disease progression and I’m pretending nothing’s changed.   I can’t take pride unless I have pride; let go of what doesn’t work anymore.  Stop running so hard and so far.

Geez, I hate it when a dog’s smarter than me…

Tell me, how ’bout you?  Accommodated yourself to a “new reality”?

Kathe Skinner is a psychotherapist and coach in private practice who specializes in work with couples, especially where invisible disability is present.  Her biking partner is David and could include Lucy and Pete.  But they refuse to ride in my basket, even though it means having the wind tickle their whiskers.

Categories: Effect of invisible (hidden) disability on relationship

4 replies

  1. Kathe,
    I found you through YOU. You left a comment on my blog.
    You are an excellent writer and Max made me subscribe to your blog because he thinks anyone who writes ANYTHING about dogs is the best.

    I’ve had several clients -beginning with my first internship in 1984 with a woman who had MS all the way to the present to someone I’m currently seeing.

    P.S. I don’t always do what Max insists – only when I think it’s BOTH our worthwhile.

  2. I haven’t checked in here for some time as I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are great quality so I guess I will add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

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