Invisible Disabilities - What does disability look like, after all?
I recently came across this on someone else's blog and I found it a bit irritating. Here's what they said.
"It seems like there are a lot of people who aren't really disabled and try to get on disability just so they don't have to work and then go around acting like they are so totally disabled."
To this, I responded: "The vast majority of individuals who file for disability have legitimate problems. Think about it. Even if you get approved for social security disabiltiy and not ssi, the benefit amount is very small. Almost anybody would rather be working and earning an income versus being on disability."
Today, we live in a very judgemental climate. And, regarding the disabled, perhaps to some extent it has always been that way. But for those who think like the person I quoted at the top of the page, consider the following:
1. Many individuals have disabilities that allow them to engage in a limited range of daily activities, though they are not necessarily capable of sustaining the demands of work. In other words, just because you see someone at the grocery store pushing a cart, don't assume that they're not disabled. They may do fine with activities of short duration but have difficulty with extended activities (such as being able to walk only for limited periods of time before pain kicks in or escalates). And, for all you know, they may be flat on their back when they get home.
Also, ask yourself this question: Can you necessarily "see" a disability? Of course not. My own brother-in-law has bipolar disorder and has been on ECT for nearly 2 years. By any thoughtful consideration of his impairment (something you're not guaranteed of getting in the social security disability system), he is disabled. But you can't "see" any of this when you see him putting gas in his car, or picking up milk at the grocery store.
Likewise, you cannot "see" the disability of a person who is depressed, or has schizophrenia, or fibromyalgia, or inflammatory bowel disease, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, diabetes, or cluster headaches. MOST of the time, you can't "see" the disability of an individual who has severe degenerative disc disease, asthma, or even panic disorder.
See, this stuff gets me ticked. People who make statements like the one I quoted---what do they want? That the disabled should be writhing in public agony so the public may "see" that they are truly disabled? That disabled individuals with mental disorders should talk to themselves in public to verify that they, too, are disabled?
It's brainless thinking, really. And its just another example of why the disabled have it so hard in this country. Its not enough that you are disabled, and its not enough that you've been able to prove your condition of disability to the government. The more ignorant members of society would have you prove it to them as well. There are numerous "parades of buffoons" in this world and that's certainly one of them.
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