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Being Disabled By Society Sucks

November 18, 2021
(image description: Black triangle with a yellow circle inside, on which is black writing which says UK Disability History Month)

It’s been well over four months since I posted a blog.  That is the longest period I have gone without writing.  This is because I had what is called a T.I.A. (basically a mini-stroke) on 12th September 2021, along with a bad seizure and several days in hospital under sedation.  My short-term memory is now a sieve, although should recover over time.  I forget words, cannot remember conversations and events, tire very easily after conversation, and have not been able to write.  For a while, I couldn’t read as I would forget what the previous pages had said.  Luckily, that ability has now come back to me.  I never lost the ability to type (all hail muscle memory!).

So now I have another physical problem which disables me within the social rules of UK society.  Having chemo for an incurable leukaemia during a pandemic, living with chronic pain from osteoarthritis, and living with epilepsy, JLL, PCOS, Depression and Sciatica wasn’t enough, clearly.  I needed to add Hypertension and a brain injury to the list.

I’ve been disabled according to the definition given by society since I was 11 years old, although due to luck more than anything was not visibly disabled until I was 31, and that is a real privilege I can assure you, both in terms of disability presentation and gender.  No-one is more invisible as a sexual and social being that a visibly disabled person, although I retain the privilege accorded my white skin tone, and still present as cisgender despite me recognising I am in fact gender fluid.

If you want to know more about living with disability both now and in the past, it is UK Disability History Month (I know, the image earlier was a bit of a hint!); click on the blue highlighted words in this paragraph to learn more.

Every condition that I am living with is shared by other people and could happen to anyone.  Some of the conditions have effects that are invisible.  That does not mean they are not disabling.

However, this pandemic has made it abundantly clear that the vast majority of people in society simply see disabled people as problems to be dealt with; as ‘other’.  I call bullshit.

Never forget that just because a person has a disability, or maybe several, or a condition or two that requires additional thought and action from those without those conditions, does not mean they are worth less that a person who lives without any disability or condition.  We are propagandised into believing a person’s value is tied to their financial status.  This is rubbish.  we would certainly notice the loss of cleaners and nurses, and dustbin operatives, far sooner than a lack of stockbrokers or lawyers, or even paralegals (of which I am one).  Yet the earnings would tell us otherwise.  Nor does the fact a person is living with a condition or disability prevent them from undertaking almost any job.  It varies according to the individual.  Unfortunately, the individual is seen as a physical entity over any other ‘qualification’ and that is where the ableism, the disability discrimination, comes in.

Society needs to change its thinking right now.  People are dying as a result of this abled-bodied privilege right now as a result of poverty and lack of compassion.  I see posts on social media proclaiming that we are all right because it is only the vulnerable who need to worry.  As one of the vulnerable, I am hurt beyond measure when I read that.  It’s okay because it is only people like me who are dying.

Refusing to be vaccinated or wear a mask is an individualistic way of living one’s life (I exclude those who cannot do either for their own medical reasons and do not need to know those reasons; I do need to know their status though as mine is “I will very probably die if I get Covid”).  I believe society must evolve into a socialistic model.  We need to always carry with us how our actions and words both affect and effect those around us.

I am disabled but it is society which is disabling me.  I would not wish anyone to go through the experiences I have had and will have in the future.  I hope that within my lifetime society evolves, and compassion becomes the priority instead of individual economic status when making choices in life.

(from https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk, image description: white background. In the centre is a blue image of the planet earth on which is white writing which says “the problem is the disabling earth”. There are 8 blue arrows pointing away from the planet earth at the end of each of which is blue writing stating in turn “Badly Designed Buildings. Stairs not ramps, no lifts. Special Schools. Few sign language Interpreters. Discrimination. Inaccessible transport, no parking spaces. Isolated families. Few job prospects The picture has the title “The Social Model of Disability”. The picture has a blue rectangle at the bottom, with white writing on it stating “the social model of disability states that the oppression and exclusion (of) people with impairments is caused by the way society is run and organised”.)

Being disabled by society really sucks.

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