A bridge over a beautiful waterfall

A bridge over a beautiful waterfall
Nature brings magic

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thursday Thoughts - Disabilities

I've posted a rant about this in the past. Not every disability is visible. I want to reiterate that fact.

I am permanently disabled. I am not on crutches or in a wheel chair. I am not blind nor am I deaf. I have no outward physical signs of a disability. Yet I have seizures and severe depression and anxiety. These things prevent me from leading a normal life, though I try to live as normally as possible. I am a woman with invisible disabilities.

My friend has Degenerative Disc Disorder. Walking for her is painful yet she walks without any additional help. No cane, no walker, no wheelchair. She also has severe depression and anxiety. These things prevent her from leading a normal life, though she tries to live as normally as possible. She is a woman with invisible disabilities.

We are the silent ones. The ones that take the ridicule, the scornful comments, the sneers. We are expected to silently ignore the comments of "You're not disabled." Or "You're just faking. There's nothing wrong with you." Except...we  aren't silent.

Too many people like us are silent because they're ashamed of being disabled. They're afraid of further ridicule if they talk about their disabilities. Yet just because we are not visibly disabled, that doesn't mean our problems are any less severe than those with visible disabilities. Those with visible disabilities are just more noticeable.

We are not faking it. We are not trying to garner sympathy. We don't want your sympathy. We want to be respected as human beings, even though we are not as able as you are. We want to be able to live our lives as best as we can without feeling like we're being judged every time we step outside our doors because people can't see what's wrong with us.

My friend and I, indeed many of us with invisible disabilities, we don't define ourselves by our disabilities. We define ourselves by our thoughts and actions. We just have to accommodate our disabilities in our daily lives so we can minimize their impact on us.

We are human beings. We aren't asking for you to treat us as fragile creatures. We're asking for you to accept we are less than perfect, make allowances for us when it's obvious our disabilities are making our lives difficult, and to deal with us like we are real people and not pariahs from the society of the "normal".

Even if someone is visibly disabled, I would hope that you would afford them the same respect. Accept they are less than perfect, make allowances for them when it's obvious their disabilities are making their lives difficult, and deal with them like they are real people and not the scum of the earth. They are as human as the rest of us, and they know when they are being treated differently.

2 comments:

  1. As a wheelchair user, you are correct that my disability is more obvious than, say, mental health, but you say "even people with a visible disability", as if someone like myself has it really tough, i think you undersell invisible disabilities, as they can be as debilitating as a visible disability. Also, i am not sure i see myself as separate from society, as in "they are as human as the rest of us", I hope i am the rest of us! I enjoyed reading this article very much, even though i have disagreed with a couple of points! You have yourself a new follower! Steve :)

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    1. I have a younger sister who is visibly disabled. She's treated as less than human by a lot of people. That's why I made the comment I did about being as human as the rest of us. I'm glad you enjoyed the post and I look forward to your company on this blog.

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