This is what sick looks lik. This is what sick IS. I don’t look it? You don’t realize that my body is fighting itself. You don’t realize that I’m allergic to four antibiotics, an asthma medication that would make my life a lot easier, and a food allergy. You don’t realize that I have an autoimmune disorder, a neurological disorder, rods in my back, an eating disorder, PTSD, anxiety, and a non verbal learning disorder. You don’t realize that I have a balance disorder, that I have a crapload of medications surging though my body. I don’t look it, but you know what? This is what disabled is.
You see people like me every day, everywhere. You see people with disabilities everywhere you turn. We are people, just like you, and we have feelings, too. I understand it can be awkward at times when you come across someone with disabilities, but never fear! I’m hear to help you out and avoid awkwardness. NOTE: These are tips from MY personal experience. Other people with disabilities may have different feelings and a different take on life.
1. Never, ever ask me “What happened?” or any variant there of. If you want to know more about my disabilities, there are better ways to phrase it. It’s awkward for both of us when I explain it’s lifelong, and it’s chronic. Trust me, you’re not going to get an epic skiing accident story.
Nothing like that, I promise. You may think it’s making friendly conversation, but you’re really not and just making everyone uncomfortable. Also, don’t ask it while I’m clearly struggling to walk or with a door. I’m really not in any shape to answer you then, and you’re more likely to get a slightly rude come back. It’s rude to ask a stranger these type of question. Get to know me for me. And then ask your questions. I’m more than happy to talk about my disorders with you, as long as you are respectful.
2. For the love of peaches, NEVER ask me “can I ask you a personal question?” This is a good analogy:
It’s never okay to ask a random woman if she’s pregnant. Same way, it’s never okay to ask me if I’m able to have sex, if people want to date ‘someone like me’, if my husband/spouse/siblings are also disabled. YOU DON’T KNOW ME. YOU JUST MET ME ON THE BUS. It is NOT the time or place to ask me a “personal question” because generally? They are rude and disrespectful, and I am a human being, just like you. You wouldn’t ask someone without a obvious physical impairment these questions, so why the hell is it okay to ask me?
3. Don’t give me your home remedies. Don’t tell me such and such person. Don’t tell me how if I do x, y, z I’ll do better.
Don’t tell me if I do crossfit, if I go paleo, my health will get better. I’ve already given up gluten for health reasons. I don’t need your ‘quick fixes’. My doctors and I have gone through many of these things. It isn’t helpful for you to throw this at me, despite your good intentions.
4. Oh my god, don’t play the Jesus card. You will seriously incur my wrath if you do.
If you say or act like that, I will get angry and upset. I have prayed so many times. I’ve wept to God to heal me, and he hasn’t, for whatever reason. God has a reason for leaving me disabled, and I’ve come to terms with it. Please don’t tell me to just pray. Please don’t tell me if I just trust God, he will heal me. He hasn’t chosen to heal me, for whatever reason. I don’t know what that reason is. I don’t know why I was chosen for this path, and why I’m destined to live a life of physical pain. But you know what? It’s just the way things are.
Now, I do sometimes want to have this reaction to people who are stupid about disabilities:
|Really, I just wanted an excuse to use this picture
But you know what? We are people too. We are just like you. We laugh, we play, we cry, we sing. We weep, we rejoice, we bleed, we heal. We do things differently. But we all sing with the same voice, and we live in harmony.