a Disability Is Much More Than a Chair.

A disability is much more than a chair.
Yet, when we imagine a disabled person, many automatically think of someone in a wheelchair. But i’d like to know where the idea of a disabled person HAVING to be in a wheelchair came from. Disabilities are much more than a chair. It’s whats affecting the person deep inside, that nobody can see with the naked eye. So why, why must people have to defend their illness due to the fact they haven’t got a chair?

Please bare in mind, some disabilities yes, do come with wheelchairs and I respect that. Many people with my disabilities have wheelchairs, but the issue for me is, I find a large percentage of disabled people don’t necessarily own a wheelchair, and can get criticised by small minded people, usually this occurs very frequently too.

I only realised the anger and frustration that disabled people all over the world feel (about the ignorance), when I became sick myself. You’ll find thats the case with a lot of us really. The comments we can get are brutal and they stick with you, whether people like to admit it or not, it really does play on your mind. Even when talking to new people, I do explain my disability, because its a big part of my life. The words ‘you aren’t disabled’ or ‘you don’t look disabled’ are thrown about so casually. The confusion of why you deserve disability from the Government is ignorant, and the looks you can get for parking in a disabled space. My goodness! And for me, I feel like the attitude would be different if I used a wheelchair.

There’s a story behind every person that says they’re disabled. I mean, you don’t just say that. There’s a reason people are granted disability and there’s a reason I don’t use a chair.

With my conditions combined, going anywhere can be uncomfortable. You have good days, and you have bad days. But nobody can tell you the future on any of those days. Nobody can tell you, you’ll go out today feeling okay and not pass out, or you’ll go out today and not start to throw up because your BP is dropping and your heart is mimicking a panic attack, all because you’ve been stood in a line for 15 minutes. Having to think 2,3,4 times about going out incase you’re unwell is not nice, it’s not fair, but it’s what you deal with. So to be somewhere, and have someone make a comment, can set you back a LOT. All because you don’t ‘look’ disabled, or don’t fit the image. It never seems to matter how these conditions make you feel inside.

Ok, so what does disabled look like to you?

If I was to google “what does disabled mean” the first thing that comes up is this.

disabled
adjective
(of a person) having a physical or mental condition that limits their movements, senses, or activities.
“facilities for disabled people”
synonyms: having a disability, wheelchair-using, paralysed; More
antonyms: able-bodied
relating to or specifically designed for people with a physical or mental disability.
“disabled access is available at all venues”

I’ve highlighted in bold that part of the definition given by Google is ‘wheelchair-using’. That to many, is correct. If we look closer you’ll see underlined “having a physical or mental condition that limits their movements, senses or activities.”

So, if I gave you a scenario, after you reading all this. What would you say? How would you react?

There’s no spaces within a parking lot, you drive round and round before finally finding a space. You come to the bottom floor and it’s filled with disabled spaces. “Nobody really uses them” you may think. Someone gets out and struggles at first when they get out, but then they’re walking fine, nobody gets a wheelchair out, nobody has to guide them. What do you think? How do you react?

Would you be one of those who says something loud enough for them to hear? Or do you accept that the definition, besides wheel-chair using, for a disbalitiy is “having a physical or mental condition that limits their movements, senses or activities”.
If you step back and think. That person could have had a panic attack several times before agreeing to finally get in that car with his mum and go shopping. That person could have MS and has been having physiotherapy for months to be able to get outside. Or like me, they could have numerous chronic illnesses that limit my basic abilities but I won’t use a wheelchair, as I am 20, and I want to keep my mobility.

It’s 2016, be one of those people who is kind. Who thinks before they speak.

Don’t put people in categories. Thats happening a lot this year. “All muslims are terrorists” for example, one we rarely speak about, is the attitudes towards disabled people by abled bodied people, and the attitude towards disabled people and wheelchairs.

Thank you for reading.

Jessica.

 

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