Part of the peer experience is hearing with some regularity “You look fine to me.” This can be true of mental health and physical health peers. The reason for this is simple: We aren’t always showing symptoms. However, it does not mean the disease does not exist, and it does not mean the disease isn’t a permanent disability.
In fact, many peers choose not to disclose their diagnosis, for fear of being let go from important employment, losing an important personal relationship, or simply being ostracized through misplaced stigmatization.
Of the latter, the sad misconception that all mental health peers are violent and dangerous by nature is a HUGE reason peers choose to conceal their diagnosis, even when symptoms are beginning to become detrimental to performance and stability.
“You Can’t Always See It” aims to help people understand that even though peers don’t always have symptoms or their symptoms are not readily noticeable, the disease exists and can become expressed at any time. The peer has not changed as a person just because you never saw symptoms or knew of the diagnosis previously.
“You Can’t Always See It” seeks to share that there are times when a peer will need accommodation and understanding while they heal themselves.