Ten Things Not To Say To Someone with a Disability

I can think of a lot more than ten, but, you know, we have to start somewhere. I could go on and on for ages about what not to say. Part of being a good, decent person is knowing when it’s okay to comment and when you need to keep your mouth shut. But never fear, Nora’s here to help you out! Aren’t you glad to have a handy dandy Nora to help you not be a total butthippo? 🙂

Image is of me back in 2010, pretending to fly. Let's pretend I'm a superhero, k?

Image is of me back in 2010, pretending to fly. Let’s pretend I’m a superhero, k?

So. Here we go! Drumroll, please.

  1. “Wow! I wish I could lose weight that easy.”
    • You know what? I wish I could keep weight on.
    • Do you know the cost it comes at? It comes at deciding what to eat at what will taste the best coming back up. It’s at the cost of running to the bathroom, because my bowel system is once again staging a mutiny.
    • You want the drug regimen that comes with it?
  2. “But you don’t look sick!”
    • “But you don’t look like an asshole!”
    • Seriously, if I looked as bad as I felt some most days, I’d scare small children.
    • Not looking sick is part of the problem. Doctors don’t take you seriously until you drop below a certain weight, you look a certain way, or you act in a certain way. And even then, it’s a frick-fracking crapshoot.
      Image is of me at Target, taking a selfie in the mirror. I am using yellow forearm crutches. I am wearing a teal dress with a grey sweater, and a rainbow chunky necklace. Not looking sick despite, well, being sick.

      Image is of me at Target, taking a selfie in the mirror. I am using yellow forearm crutches. I am wearing a teal dress with a grey sweater, and a rainbow chunky necklace. Not looking sick despite, well, being sick.

       

  3. “Wow! I wish I could sleep all day, too!”
    • You know what? I feel like I’m sleeping my life away.
    • Do you know how soul draining it is to have days where you walk to the bathroom to pee, then have to take a nap on the bathroom floor because you’re too bloody tired to walk back to your bedroom? Yeah, that happened.
    • It comes in extremes. I either sleep or I don’t.
  4. “You’re so lucky not to work!”
    • I would give ANYTHING to have a job. I have hopes and dreams too, you know. And they were crushed with my diagnosis list.
    • I am literally thousands of dollars in debt for a degree I’ll never, ever get.
    • It’s devastating to realize that your life really has no life outside of your apartment and doctor’s appointments. It’s horrifying to look through your medical documents and realize that you’ve been unemployable for almost your entire life, and it doesn’t look like that’ll ever change. And there’s nothing I can do to change that.
  5. “I could never give up gluten/whatever food you’re allergic to/caffeine/insert thing of your choice here.”
    • Well, what if it was your only option? What if every time you ate *thing*, you threw up? Yeah, you’d give it up pretty quickly too
    • Don’t you think I hate it, too?
    • Welp, it’s better giving it up than dying.
  6. “But all those meds you take. BIG PHARMA WANTS YOUR SOOOUL!” (I am totally imagining this in the voice from the Princess Bride. THE DREAD PIRATE ROBERTS IS HERE FOR YOUR SOOOOULS. Only, BIG PHARMA IS HERE FOR YOUR SOULS.” I’d meme it, but I’m too sick. 😛
    • Um, well, see previous point.
    • Big pharma kinda keeps me alive. I like living. And I should hope you like me living too.
    • Again, do you think I like it? It’s a part of my life.
  7. “You have *insert disorder here?* Wow. I’m sorry.”
    • I’m not sorry. Why should I be? It would be being sorry for who I am.
    • I’ve grieved it. I’ve had my time. And by saying you’re sorry (or worse, that you would kill yourself if you had my disorders) you are saying my life isn’t worth living. You  are saying my life isn’t valuable. And that’s the furthest thing from the truth.
    • Again, my life isn’t hopeless. I don’t exist merely for you to pity me.
  8. “What happened?”
    • Life. Life is what happened.
    • You aren’t entitled to my medical history just because you see me with a mobility aid, or having an off day.
    • It’s kind of like asking a women about her pregnancy. Just, don’t do it. It’s rude and disrespectful.
  9. “You’re so lucky to be able to play video games/watch TV/be online all day!”
    • You’re so lucky I don’t crutch whack you.
    • Some days, I am too sick to even do those things
    • Yeah, well, I wish I was able to go out and have more of a social life vs those things being my interaction. For someone with chronic illness, my phone is my best friend and sometimes the only social interaction I get.
  10. “Why are you using the mobile cart at Target?”
    • Um, because I can?
    • Pretty sure you wouldn’t rather me pass out on the floor, right?
    • Again, you aren’t entitled to an opinion or an answer about my body. I need it. The end.

So, again, there are a lot of things that could be said about and to people with disabilities. I just covered ten of then. What are some of the things people have said to you that you’d like to speak against?

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