Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Invisible disabilities

I'm tired of people dismissing the 'hidden' disabilities.
I don't mean just those who don't realise a disability is present, I'm talking about those Joe Blows on the street who think they have the right to query a diagnosis.
Because, dontchaknow, they've scrubbed public toilets for years (and sandblasted god-knows-what off the toilet seats) and they KNOW about medical stuffs!

My darling Feral Aspie already has depression, on top of his other 'invisible' disabilities like autism, Aspergers, Tourettes, ADHD, OCD, anxiety, etc, without stupid strangers making him feel responsible for  his behaviours.
We often get ignorant comments like "He doesn't seem that autistic," or "He seems fine to me,"  and even "Are you sure?".
So many times I've wanted to retort,
"Y'know,  we're not sure. We have no fecking idea cos you know how all those medical specialists are, just making stuff up off the top of their heads like that every day,"
*insert wild eyeball rolling and disgusted throat noises*

And the same goes for mental illnesses.
I've had the comment of "You seem too happy to be depressed."
I've wondered if they were waiting for me to open a vein for their entertainment...you know,
"Pass the hors d' oeuvres, there'll be a blood splatter pattern on the carpet any minute..."

I've nursed hospitalised teens in the grip of a drug-induced psychosis' where parents continued to supply them with illegal drugs because "He doesn't seem that bad,".
"No, that's due to the fact he's in a freakin' hospital, under medical care where we don't administer the illegal drugs that caused the problem in the first freakin' place..."

It's one thing for a schizophrenic to feel better once medicated then think they're 'cured' and no longer need medication but when idiots question the illness they compound the pressure that person is under and, subtly, infer that the person is a liar.
One gorgeous gal I nursed was often questioned about her schizophrenia by strangers and even family members, with her parents refusing to believe she had a mental illness because,
"Who else is going to look after us in our old age?"
30 years after her initial diagnosis her tea-total father claimed it was the single snifter of sherry she had after tea each night that caused her 'problems'.
Who knew sherry was so evil?!

We need to stop this immediate distrust when someone confides their diagnosis and accept it.
Hopefully the International Day of People with a Disability will get through to some people and stop this discrimination.
Check out Rudely Interrupted, the rock band headlining Queabeyan's Festival of Ability on December 1.
Festival of Ability.


Sif said...

Great post. I have ADHD. If I tell people that and attempt to describe my symptoms everyone and their dogs times in with, 'I'm like that, and I don't have ADHD!' or 'Oh, I'm so forgetful, you've got nothing to worry about.' or 'You don't seem hyperactive/unfocused/aggressive to me.' So, apparently I don't have ADHD, I'm just a compulsive liar! Gee, thanks. Great post!

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of the responses you are getting are off the cuff 'sh*t what do I say to that revelation I'm out of my depth' responses. No excuse, sure! And likely frustrating as hell for the person doing the sharing. But the responses are probably 99% of the time well intentioned and poorly delivered.

River said...

I'll admit I'm as ignorant as "Joe Blow" on the street when it comes to the Spectrum disorders, but I've absorbed quite a bit through blog reading and I find I'm more tolerant now when I see kids having "tantrums" that may possibly sensory overload meltdowns, and when someone says they're run off their feet day and night "because that's how it goes when you have an autistic daughter", like one of my customers last week, I can understand better what they mean.
It's a long, long, road to raising more awareness though.

peskypixies said...

I so agree.People have also told me the *you dont seem depressed*and also the same with ADHD.ahem people........we dont make these things up,

lots of hugs my friend.........
life IS hard.

peskypixies said...

I so agree.People have also told me the *you dont seem depressed*and also the same with ADHD.ahem people........we dont make these things up,

lots of hugs my friend.........
life IS hard.