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Thousands share their invisible disabilities on Twitter

From BBC - October 25, 2017

Using the hashtag "#InvisiblyDisabledLooksLike", Twitter users across the world with hidden disabilities have been sharing pictures and stories to challenge society's perceptions.

Many people live with hidden disabilities - a physical, mental, sensory or neurological condition which do not have physical signs but are painful, exhausting and isolating

They must also deal with the frustration, misunderstandings and false perceptions arising from the unseen nature of their conditions.

A billion people around the world live with some kind of disability according to the World Health Organization, and one US survey found 74% of those with disabilities do not use a wheelchair or anything which might visually signal their disability.

The hashtag, started on Monday by Florida-based activist Annie Segarra, is part of Invisible Disabilities Week, which took place last week, to raise the awareness of hidden conditions.

So far, the term has been tweeted more than 3,000 times, peaking on Wednesday morning and used by deaf actor and model Nyle DiMarco.

The hashtag prompted many people to share their selfies and experiences.

Dani Barley, from Sydney, Australia, told the BBC because she "can walk around a bit," but uses a wheelchair to help others be "comfortable with the idea of me as a younger person being disabled.

"If I tried to self identify as disabled due to mental health and chronic pain issues, people would minimise it, saying, 'Oh, I do not see you as disabled,' as if it were some kind of self-slur rather than a valid identity.

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