We’re not saints. We’re not here to teach you lessons. We’re not here to inspire you to do better in your own life. We’re here to live our own lives, albeit in a different way owing to our disability.
If we tell you we can’t do something, THAT MEANS WE CAN’T. Most of us aren’t out to con able-bodied/NT folks into doing things for us. It takes a lot of courage to be able to admit you can’t do something; keep that in mind when you want to lambast us for not ‘doing our best’ or ‘trying’ or whatever.
We’re able to be happy sometimes. Our lives are not total doom and gloom all the time. And some of us have wonderful senses of humor that you should indulge in sometimes.
Our disability may sometimes seem like it totally owns our lives, but we’re capable of doing things that don’t involve our disability. They may be colored by our disability, or hampered by it, or somehow related to it, but these things are not totally about disability. Please do not act as if we are only our disability. We are so much more.
We are all different. We all need different things, we have different experiences and different goals and dreams and all that. We come from different places. Respect that. Even if two people have the same disability, they probably have a vastly different perspective and experience of it; please acknowledge this and don’t treat us as interchangeable.
The disability community can be frustrating, but more than anything, it is a family. We are all in this together, to get our rights and respect that we deserve. When you fuck with one member of the disability community, expect the rest of us to come after you. We watch out for each other [I’ve seen this especially with noneptic disabled folks looking out for epileptics] and we WILL protect each other.
EMDR has been the only thing that’s really helped me with my Severe, Complex-PTSD and there aren’t many practitioners in the small city I live in, and only 1 who takes Medicaid. When I talked to her she told me I had “too much anxiety” to see me. My therapist was confused by this as well (and I have been doing talk therapy for the past 5 years between here and my past middle of nowhere that I lived and have made no progress). *sigh*
I’ve noticed that ableism tends to be one of the lesser discussed isms on Tumblr, particularly in regard to physical/visible disabilities. While we usually associate the isms with hate and discrimination, ableism can be much harder to pinpoint because a lot of it is seen as attempts to help or empathize with disabled people.
A few tips:
- Noticing that someone is disabled or thinking that they might have a disability is not an open invitation to interrogate them.
- Similarly, it’s not okay to allow your children to endlessly ask us questions. We are not a convenient way to “teach them diversity” on the fly. We are not obligated to educate anyone. I don’t care if you think it’s cute or precocious, it’s rude and very awkward.
- Please avoid making any connection between disability and religion. It’s almost always offensive, no matter what your faith. Telling me that I can be healed through prayer also automatically assumes that I want or need my life to be changed.
- Do not appropriate someone else’s experiences as a way of showing solidarity with their community. Being injured for a few weeks is not the same as being disabled. If you really wanted to be my ally, you wouldn’t need to find a way to shoehorn yourself into my perspective to get yourself to care.
- I don’t really want to be your inspiration if your definition of inspiration is “thanks for making me feel better about my life because I think your life looks incredibly shitty by comparison.”
- On that note, don’t make presumptions about our quality of life. When people say things like “I couldn’t live like that,” you’re basically implying that you would rather be dead than disabled. That doesn’t feel very good.
- Physical disability does not always indicate cognitive delays. Even if the individual in question does happen to have cognitive disabilities, what gives you the authority to determine how much they’re able to process and understand? Talk to a disabled person the same way you would talk to any other person.
- If you’re that fascinated with how and whether or not we can have sex, why don’t you find out for yourself? (With consent, of course) ;)
We don’t talk about invisible disabilities either, though I kind of make mine visible by using a Service Dog. A giant HELL YEAH THIS to everything stated above. But a few other things. Let’s start with SDs:
- DO NOT TOUCH MY SERVICE DOG EVER (while some people might let you YOU NEED TO ASK FIRST. Don’t just walk up to a SD and pet it - IT IS WORKING and doing a VERY important job - some of those jobs save lives. You wouldn’t walk up to a firefighter while they’re trying to put out a house fire and hug them would you? I didn’t think so.)
Don’t get angry at me if I snap/yell at you for petting my dog without permission
Ask me if I really have a disability
Act like I’m faking that she’s a Service Dog so that I can take her places with me; trust me she’d be happier at home with a bone
Let your kid charge my dog. SERIOUSLY you shouldn’t let your kid run up to ANY dogs, but my dog is fucking WORKING and doesn’t need the stress. This applies to adults too.
Grill me about why I need a Service Dog. I do and the ADA strictly mandates what I’m required to tell you so if I keep repeating myself stop getting angry at me.
- As stated above I am not “your teaching moment.” I am not trying to be rude, but I get the same questions about 10-15x a day and if I stopped to answer every single person who asked the same damn question I would never be able to do anything, like go to all my various dr. appts, or go grocery shopping, or go to work. And stop acting like I should make an exception for you. There are plenty of ways you can find out this information yourself. Organizations, websites, freaking google. My personal tumblr is chock full of SD talk as are many I follow. The information is out there - don’t act like I’m committing some crime by refusing to tell you all about my life with a SD.
Ask me if my SD is in training/is somebody else’s dog. Seriously she’s 6 years old and is far past being a puppy which is when SD’s get trained. I didn’t steal her from someone she is my dog.
DO NOT PET MY DOG.
OK. Now onto invisible disabilities. Again, most of the same rules apply so we’re not even going to go over those again.
- You do not know more about my illness/disease/disability than I do. (Sometimes we are more aware than our Dr’s even - I hear you scoffing, but I have seen this in action). Repeat after me: I do not know more about your disability than you do.
- We don’t want your “cures.” 99% of the time we’ve tried them. Trust me, we’ve tried everything we can to try and make things better. Your constant stream of “have you tried acupuncture” and “what about X herb” make most people I know want to scream. Not only because we’re not hearing it just from you - we’re hearing it from at least 10 of you.
- As above, just because you were slightly sad or blue for a little while DOES NOT MEAN you understand what someone suffering from major or persistent depression or a depressive downswing of bipolar is going through.
- FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY JUST STOP USING MENTAL ILLNESS TERMS TO DESCRIBE THINGS. The weather is not “bipolar” someone acting oddly is not schizophrenic, just because someone is distracted easily doesn’t make them “so ADD.”
- Just because you’ve been in horrible pain once (be it from an accident, a burn, or I’ve even heard the stupidest thing ever which was from workout pain) you do not understand chronic pain or fibromyalgia. Just stop.
- Never, ever, EVER call us “overcomers.” Just because I have the ability to somewhat navigate the world and semi-work and have a semi-social life does not mean that I am not still crippled by my disability. I wish that I wouldn’t have to cancel on people all the time, and I wish that going on for a night on the town wouldn’t mean that I lose the entire next day to recovery.
There’s more, but those are the basics.
1. Under any circumstance PET MY DOG without asking
2. Don’t get angry at me if I snap/yell at you for petting my dog without permission
3. Ask me what my PTSD is from (she has a PTSD patch on her vest)
4. Ask me if I really have a disability
5. Act like I’m faking that she’s a Service Dog so that I can take her places with me; trust me she’d be happier at home with a bone
6. Let your kid charge my dog. SERIOUSLY you shouldn’t let your kid run up to ANY dogs, but my dog is fucking WORKING and doesn’t need the stress
7. Charge my dog yourself. Yes adults do this all the time especially when we’re at coffee shops or bars. They run right up to her and wonder why she gets a bit flustered.
8. Grill me about why I need a Service Dog. I do and the ADA strictly mandates what I’m required to tell you so if I keep repeating myself stop getting angry at me.
9. Ask me if my SD is in training/is somebody else’s dog. Seriously she’s 4 fucking years old and is far past being a puppy which is when SD’s get trained. I didn’t steal her from someone she is my dog.
10. DO NOT PET MY DOG.
bringing this around again b/c of a post i just saw.
Guess who has 2 thumbs and a Section 8 housing voucher?
Oh thank the gods. Seeing as a friend helped me pay rent October - May I really needed this.
what i mean when i say “i can’t do that” - the depression edition
- i am unable to do that
- i don’t have the energy to do that
- i cannot wrap my head around what you’re asking me to do
- there is too much in my head right now
- i can not do that
what people hear:
- i am unwilling to do that
- i am being stubborn for no reason
- i am being dramatic
- i am lazy
- i need you to repeat that only louder
- i need a push
- i don’t want to do that
I can’t wait until I start working regular hours this summer so I have
so that I can start doing MMA stuff again. I really don’t work out unless I’m doing something like a sport, and I do love my blood sports.
Sane.org is a snazzy little website that provides education, support and training for mental illness. The website it packed with resources, links, fact sheets and podcasts to help those with mental illnesses and those who want to learn more.
The website is packed full with information. Some of the drop down menus include video showroom, Mind + Body, Mindful Employer, Research, and my personal favourite People Like Us. They’ve also got a live chat, and a helpline (with information for other services).
The run a range of projects, my favourite being the Say No to Stigma campaign, which as someone with a mental illness I think is highly important and beneficially to helping those suffering.
One of the most useful things I found on the website was the Factsheets and Podcasts link. The Factsheets range from diagnosis, translations, suicide prevention and bereavement, and related fact sheets which include antidepressant medication, dealing with a traumatic event and getting back to work.
The website is a little fiddly to get around, but full or great things I’ve never thought to look up. One which I will probably invest in will be SmokeFree Resources in the Mind + Body Initiative. As those of us with mental illness are more often smokers they have put together a kit to stop smoking if you have a mental illness, something I have been looking for.
The other thing that is great about this website is they have their own bookshop with resources they’ve put together, so anything you want more information on can be bought straight from them.
Basically if you’re after more information on mental illness sane.org is the place to be. It’s a brilliant place with a great initiative behind it, to give those with mental illness the information and knowledge to get better. StigmaWatch just tops it off. StigmaWatch if a project that provides feedback to the media about accurate and responsible accounts of mental illness and suicide.