B.A.D.D.-Blogging Against Disablism Day- May 1, 2007.
Disability- This is what the Dictionary says:
Main Entry: dis·abil·i·ty
1 a : the condition of being disabled b : inability to pursue an occupation because of physical or mental impairment
2 : lack of legal qualification to do something
3 : a disqualification, restriction, or disadvantage.
Okay, that is what we get in the dictionary.
What does it mean in a real-life setting?
That means that every displaced homemaker would be disabled because her time spent being a wife and mother does not qualify her for anything other than menial work at the lowest end of the income brackets.
So, therefore it would seem we need a clearer definition of what disability really is.
A secretary that loses an arm accidentally She cannot be a secretary like she had been, that took two functioning hands. But, is she still able to work, and recieve benefits and a ‘living’ wage for her work. … yes or no to being disabled?
A person has spent most of their lives in dismal situations, abuse, violence, hopelessness, neglect and loneliness, and a sense of utter aloneness are all they know of life. They have been so damaged/burdened by their past that they are nearly paralysed with depression. If the depression has reached a point to where it is crippling the person emotionally.
Disabled or not?
Who is able to say what person(s) are disabled or not?
Can you, or anyone, tell if someone is disabled just by looking at them? Also, can you tell how disabled someone may be by just looking?
What then, should be the standard for classifying someone as ‘disabled’. For the sake of a starting point, let us say that someone is ‘disabled’ when they are constrained from normal activities by disease processes, or injuries.
We also must consider, is this something that can be reasonably expected to be cured, treated, or handled in such a manner that the person can return to their previous life? i.e.- reconstractive surgery, retraining, control of the disease process through medication, physical therapy, and other therapeutic mileus.
If the answer is no, then to what degree is the person disabled, and who is qualified to determine this? How can we, in our arrogance, even call it a disability?
A friend of mine is disabled, on a legal level, yet on the everday plane of life, she has a full life, with family, friends, dreams, talents, and hopes like everyone else. She is determined to have a full life, and not allow herself to be limited by a label. Yet, her disease process is incurable. That will never change.
I feel her to be inspirational because she chooses to be alive every morning when she wakes up. Instead of becoming bitter and mean, she is loving, caring, cheerful, and a true friend.
There are many times I would like to just up and quit, cry, “Enough!!” and hide in bed until time is no more. I think of my friend, and I am ashamed of myself for whinging so. I get up, choose to be cheerful, and get on with my life.
She and I got into a serious discussion about whether things like depression are a disability. She does nor suffer from the sort of depression that I speak of. The depression I speak of is not a few days of being blue, or sad. If someone has just lost someone or something precious to them, they have the right to be depressed and mourn. That sort of depression is not disabling, it is just something we all have to deal with now and again.
The depression I speak of (and struggle to live with) is something that eats away at a person, never really leaving, not even in moments of joy. It is the bastard child a family wants to hide, creeping and mewling through your subconscious. It is far, far too easy to fall back into its’ tarpit-like depths. Despite medication (2 different anti-depressants both at maximum dosage), and counselling for almost 4 years I am still as depressed as I was at nadir. I just deal with it a little better (sometimes!).
I am not whining or seeking pity, pity is far more crippling than a lot of disabilities in our age of ‘adaptive devices’. The technology allows people that cannot control any part of their body other than their eyes to communicate with the rest of the world.
Aha!! After a verbal wandering I have come to the crux of the matter. As long as we look at the label ‘disabled’ those with disabilities will be kept apart from the rest of mankind, out of ignorance, fear, or just plain meanness.
The one thing that needs most to be done, is the one that is well-nigh impossible to do is this:
Do not look at my differences, seek our commonalities.
Do not assume that I am not intelligent because of my label, allow me the dignity to be myself.
Do not treat me differently from ‘normal’ friends, be willing to point out my faults and argue with me.
Ask me if I would like some help, there are many things I would prefer to do myself.
And above all, DO NOT BE ASHAMED OF OR FOR ME!!! I am just another fubar’ed human like the rest of the people, and I deserve the same courtesy and respect as everyone else.