It's Invisible Illness Awareness Week (Sept. 28th-October 4th). And while all the characters on this list are imaginary, the disabilities they live with are very real.
I'm very grateful to @ButterflyBlu for bringing this week to my attention. I've been very fortunate when it comes to my health. While I get sick often and my body isn't always reliable, I've never had a long-term illness. I know that's not the case for everyone, and it's extremely important to acknowledge the ways we differ, and what we all can do to help each other.
Here are 5 heroes that have illnesses you might not be aware of:
She has dyscalculia. This learning disorder is similar to dyslexia, except it has do with with numbers. People with dyscalculia often struggle with reading analog clocks and musical notation, estimating distances and time, and often have difficulty with mental arithmetic. It's only recently that people have begun to research this disorder, so there aren't many resources available to help people who have been diagnosed.
Tony Stark has been depicted numerous times struggling with alcoholism. Substance abuse disorders are often dismissed because people don't understand the way some people's brain chemistry works against them. While lots of people are able to resist drinking to excess, others are wired very differently. And the stigma attached to these kinds of mental illnesses often tend to exacerbate them because people are too ashamed to get help.
Clint Barton is partially deaf, and sometimes needs sign language to communicate. There is still some stigma attached to the use of ASL, which often leads to the isolation of those for whom it is their only means of communication.
Maya Lopez is deaf. She relies on visual cues and lip-reads to understand what people are telling her. It can be very dangerous for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, since many smoke alarms and other emergency warnings are designed for hearing people.
Because of the experiments done on him, Wade Wilson most likely can't die. He does however suffer from chronic pain. It varies in severity (depending on who is writing the character) but he has been in so much pain he's felt unable to move. People with chronic pain are often dismissed because there's not always a clear source, they're seen as pill-seekers (can you blame them- who wouldn't want medicine for their illness!), or because nothing "looks" wrong.
Here's a virtual hug for anyone out there living with an invisible disability!
You matter. You are real. And I care about you very much.