Sunday, May 24, 2015

Hurtful Things

As a lot of you know, I have a disability - Epilepsy - which keeps me from doing a lot of things in life. 

Well, okay, not as much as you'd think, but enough to keep my social life kinda quiet, keeps me from getting a regular job and scares off anyone from being a boyfriend or girlfriend.

However, I have found people judge far too quick when it comes to people with disabilities; especially when those disabilities are known as 'invisible' - like mine.

I'm known as a high-functioning person with Epilepsy. This means I can live on my own, cook my own meals, go shopping without a Buddy (a person who helps me to day-to-day tasks), catch a bus by my self - or other public transport - and make most of my own decisions.  All of this can be done by me. 

However, I do have weaknesses.

I have comprehension problems. I can't fill out complex Government forms on my own. When I go to the doctors, I have to get them to tell me things three or four times (or better still write things down or print out information for me so I can take it home and read it) because I have rotten recall. And my mathematics is non-existent. I need a calculator for the most basic of maths; which drives me around the twist - especially seeing I love to knit and do craft and maths is part and parcel of this.

In recent times, I've had a neighbour get kinda picky about me. He's told me - in the nicest way - that I have far too much time on my hands and I should go out and get a job. I keep telling him that I've been down that road and I'm not able to be hired. He tries to fix that by telling me to go back to study; and I explain my attention span isn't good either. He tells me that I'm making excuses. 

But I'm not.

He simply doesn't understand people with disabilities - invisible disabilities - have to struggle with the way they live from day to day.  Just last night he gave me ear plugs, suggesting I use them the next time I want a decent night's sleep. I have said I have to wake to an alarm every day of my life to take medication, and he's suggested I skip it for the day.

People like this don't want to understand what it's like to walk in another's shoes.

They don't have anything wrong with them. They go to work, they live, they can drink alcohol, smoke pot, cigarettes and do anything they want.  However, suggest to them that they switch roles with another who is suffering from a disability and they'd clam up in a minute; because it scares them.

Even though a lot of people will say they don't stare at people with disabilities, and they help them and don't feel as though they just touched at leper - wanting to scrub their hands as soon as possible (don't tell me some of you don't feel like that) - it's a fact that people with disabilities feel as though they're being victimised by normal people. 

There's something a lot of people don't know about me.  I used to have that normal life. I worked that stressful job, had that cool little sports car... I had a lot of money... traveled the world... wanted the American Express Card... owned hot clothing and enjoyed being able to buy just about anything I wanted and I partied like there was no tomorrow.

I did that... and my disability I was born with came back on me like a tonne of bricks and ended my fun ride. 

So, before anyone looks at somebody with a disability and starts judging them, just think about that person. Think about what kind of life they might have had before their disability struck them down... or before they ended up in that wheelchair, on a walker, on a walking stick... deep down, that person may have had it all once....


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