Thoughts on the Disabled

Thoughts on the Disabled

What is the hardest part of being disabled?

For me personally it’s accepting that no matter how much work I put into my journey I will never be the same person mentally. My self confidence has taken a hit on multiple levels. Would I find love? Would I be a good enough spouse? Would I be a good parent to my children? Will I ever accept that I am never going to feel the same about my body?

Being injured and having your world flipped upside down in seconds is not an easy thing to adjust to in life. I’m getting very close to my anniversary and the more I question my life the more questions I end up with in my end. When will it stop? Will it ever stop? Is this part of the human condition to always want better and more or is it my insecurities about my worth as a person? I know I am basically a good person. I don’t question that part of it. I wonder about how my disability affects the way people see me as a whole. Am I the same person in their eyes? Do I have the same value as an able bodied person to a stranger?

Do you feel like you lost something that you can’t get back? Not physically, but a missing piece of your soul. I don’t know how to explain it properly. Some days I feel like I am nothing more than a broken shell. I don’t want to feel that way, but it sneaks up on me at the worst possible time. I thought I was fairly well adjusted after all of the years but I don’t know anymore. I find myself wondering more and more about what people really see when they look at me.

Recently I have encountered a few people who were unable to hold in their ignorant perceptions of what a disabled person must be like. It makes me wonder how many people honestly think that way but never say it. Do you feel judged all the time when strangers look at you? How do you get past that point? I find myself becoming bitter and equally saddened when these things happen. I tell myself it’s because they have no experience with disabled people. How many people really have first hand experience with a disabled person in their life to know that we are no different where it counts? The whole world can’t possibly have those opinions. I know this logically, but every time I encounter another stupid comment it makes me question everything once again. What do you think people really think of us?

8 replies
  1. Kyle
    Kyle says:

    Never question if you are good enough for society, but if society can change their ignorant ways. I get through stigma by working to break it down on a daily basis. By being an advocate for those who have no voice or those who choose not to. There is no point in being angry unless you’re willing to try to change something.

  2. G.
    G. says:

    I let anger and sadness tell me it is time to change something. My husband knows when I start moving things around the house I am working up to or out of something, he calls it wheelie pacing. Figuring out how to participate and accomplish new things is what people do, all of us. Different tools, equipment ,help and or resources make more possible for me than lots of people imagine. I enjoy surprising people. I prefer to think people are interested or trying to be funny, rather than think them rude. A good sense of humor is my best feature.

  3. Lavinia
    Lavinia says:

    I’m worthy, don’t care what others think….you’ll be wonder forever. I live my life to fullest. Been disabled for 35 yrs.

  4. V.
    V. says:

    “I wonder about how my disability affects the way people see me as a whole.” Yes, an obvious disability becomes your master status. You’re now the dude in a wheelchair (or crutches, whatever). As someone who has been in a wheelchair her whole life, I’ve learned that there will always be people who attach the disability stereotypes to you. You deal with it. Those people don’t know you. Those that get to know you will understand who you are and what you can do. That’s the only way to change perceptions. To be frank, you’re also disabled. There are things you cannot do. There’s also a lot you can do, just in a different way. That’s ok. You be the best person you can be. In my opinion, 90% of the problems I have with being disabled are people’s perceptions. Some people will assume you are incapable because of your disability. Some will fawn over how “inspiring” you are simply because you’re disabled. A few enlightened folks will treat you like a normal human being. You may achieve things in life and wonder, “Did I achieve that because someone felt sorry for me?” You may also miss out on something and wonder, “Did I not get that because I’m disabled.” There is no point in worrying about that. You can’t change that. Do your best and get to where you want to be. You might have to work twice as hard as the “normals,” but you have to play the cards you’re dealt.

  5. Oliver Inberlin
    Oliver Inberlin says:

    Yes, some people make nasty and stupid comments and think that disabled people were less “worthy” than able bodied persons. (Although: who would ever think someone, say, Stephen Hawking, was “worth less”?). I think there’s perhaps also cultural difference at work, I don’t know. In Germany at least, there is hardly any day without encountering some strange person who feels the urge to comment on my wheelchair, pet my head, pray for me etc. Alas, I tend to remember the bad encounters more often than the good ones; and there are many able bodied people who are sensitive and just cool about me being in a wheelchair. In sheer number, positive and neutral encounters perhaps outweigh the bad experiences. But the bad ones are hurtful. No doubt. I’d say the worst thing about my disability is ignorant behaviour by others and the accessibility question (which are interconnected). It’s a long process, but generally the younger the people, the more relaxed they are. Children in particular can handle wheelchairs very well. For example, my nephew of 5 yrs wants to have his own wheelchair because he finds them funkier than bikes. The boundaries of what is seen as “normal” are very fluid, I think.

  6. Steve Hurd
    Steve Hurd says:

    Thanks for sharing your struggle. Overall, I am emotionally and mentally strong concerning my disabilities. Some times I laugh right along with others at the things I get into. Some times I feel a little bit less and lack confidence because I am not “complete” and don’t match my mental picture of who I am. It’s a weird roller coaster ride at times! Our society bombards us with images of perfect people doing extraordinary things. Many disabled athletes are showcased as well and their accomplishments are celebrated. The most consistent form of judgment comes from people who expect me to perform at the same level. “How come you cannot do that?” There is the assumption that all disabled people COULD do it, if they WANTED to do it. Since I cannot and I am limited, I therefore I must lack motivation and I am failing to reach my potential. Hopefully through this process, I have become less judgmental and just treasure people for who they are.

  7. Tom Kennedy
    Tom Kennedy says:

    When I broke my neck in 1984, I thought things were over, signed out of North Shore 3 and a half months later, best thing I ever did, back in Port Macquarie I couldn’t get down the main street (Horton Street) by myself, old ordinance 76 kerb ramps 2″ lip at bottom and 1 in 4 grade, if I went into shops with friends the person behind the counter would ask my friends what I wanted not me, having to push on the roadway to get anywhere, then try and get onto footpaths, spent the next 25 years picking on Mayors, engineers or anyone who had design input into the built environment, along with others we changed things to suit or make things easier to access and get around, things not perfect but much better than 1984.
    I still get frustrated when I try to do things in my workshop because my hands don’t work, but modifications and adaptations I make helped there.
    If I hadn’t broke my neck I would still be doing the same old thing I was, now, I studied and improved myself to get work that suited my life in a chair, travelled with the Australian Wheelchair Rugby team and got silver in 2000, setup and played Wheelchair Basketball in local area, then country league, met so many wonderful and talented people and made many friends from all over.
    I still compete but now mostly against able bodied in bench rest rim fire target shooting, where there is no advantage or disadvantage for the competitor, my wife and I often compete against each other (she able bod) be it local club, 8 club round robin, state or national shoot (taught her to shoot now she better than me, not always) it doesn’t matter we enjoy the comp and the people, what I’m saying is, LIFE is for living, with or without a disability, yes there will be times when you are down, but you get that if you are an able bod, if someone calls me a crip or gimp it doesn’t worry me I call myself that when I drop a tool or something I’m working on, someone hits you with a fist or something that hurts, words are only words.
    Enjoy what you have, you can still marry, have children, work (if you can find it) all the things anyone can do, I could have died in 1984 when I hit that horse on my bike, instead my life has been a bonus, worst thing for anyone is sitting around doing nothing, hey I can still use a chain saw (electric) try that no hand function.

  8. Cheyenne J.
    Cheyenne J. says:

    It has almost been 3 years that I have been dating a high-functioning quad. (I am able bodied & very active) When I met him, I didn’t see his disability. All I saw was his humor, smile, eyes and love for God & life. He eventually stole my heart & have been together as I said, almost 3 years. We have lived under one roof for 2 years.

    I’m at a point where I do not know what to do and I want to run!

    At first, the ‘inability’ to do “all” things, didn’t bother me. I accepted that we would do what we could & be happy with that. I was blessed to just be a part of seeing this man’s happiness that ‘what we couldn’t do together’ didn’t phase me. I felt God put me w/ this man for a reason.

    However, over the years, it has become harder, partly because I receive no support. From his family or him much. I work a stressful job, pay for mostly everything & then have to take care of all of his needs, plus chores around the house…and if time left, tend to my needs. And I thought I’d have more support. Especially from his family. My boyfriend has been paralyzed for 16 years, you’d think they’d have accommodations around their house and lake condo & help guide me in this new experience. Not!!

    We have traveled to Washington, Oregon, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Santa Cruz, etc. etc. we love to travel!! But what is SO hard, is putting up w/ the rudeness of people & the LACK of accessibility everywhere!!!! It’s sucks! And pisses me off terribly. I now get angry, intolerant of people and now his own family because of the ignorance. Ugh!

    I’m also seeing all the activities I am missing out on because I sacrifice these things to be considerate of my paralyzed boyfriend who can’t. I feel it’s cold to leave him. Yet in reading all the comments, I’m inspired. Perhaps I can encourage him to get more involved. This way I can have my own ‘me’ time.

    I do love this man. I’m just not sure I can continue. I’m so confused and my heart hurts to leave him. But I feel if I can’t get support from his family or him, then I’m just being used & taken advantage of. Ugh…..

    People with disabilities are people too!!

    I feel I should be an advocate for disabled people. We need to wake this frick-N world up!! Any one of us able bodied people can be disabled tomorrow. And then what?? Then it’ll be important to make more accommodations?? Why wait? Do it now dammit! Grrr!

    Hugs to all of the disabled people out there. You are stronger & braver than I could ever be❤️

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