Posted in Disability

Disability and Ignorance

Today is Bloggers Unite “Empowering People with Disabilities” event whose goal is to raise awareness about empowerment of those with disabilities. My suggestion from my prior post was that those interested write about how disability has affected their life, whether it is loved one or themselves.  So if you are interested, visit the Bloggers Unite site to join the event and then, leave your link here.
In addition to having an invisible condition that causes my mobility to be limited at times, I am the patient advocate at Arthritis Connect, an online support community for those living with the complexities of arthritis. Therefore, not only do I live with the long-term debilitating effects of rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, I see firsthand the struggles of others dealing with the various forms of arthritis.

Despite having an invisible condition that can cause symptoms that complicate my life and are often unpredictable, I consider myself lucky that I can often hide my condition. While this in itself is an emotional struggle for myself and others with invisible conditions, those whose disabilities are visible struggle to find their place in a world where they are viewed as weak or even as freeloaders. For some reason, there are misconceptions that disabled persons have it easy and enjoy not having to work and/or receiving a government check. I find that this to be very sad and I hope that these words are a result of an ignorant society and not a society that deliberately points the finger at disabled people.

No one makes a choice to be disabled. No one chooses to be involved an accident that renders him or her disabled or to be diagnosed with a long-term chronic disease. From my personal experience and from others’ experiences, disability brings with it an enormous amount stress, and not just for the person dealing with the struggle, but also, for that person’s loved ones.

When a person has to apply for social security disability, he or she is met with a general misconception that he or she is lying or inflating the extent of their condition. Every person is considered a liar the minute his or her claim application makes its way into a disability office. Therefore, approval is not about whether they are telling the truth or not. It is about finding a way to deny a person’s claim. In addition to my arthritis advocacy work, I have, in the legal field, seen people who seek assistance from attorneys in order to appeal claims, while they struggle with emotional and physical impairments. More often than not, people lose their savings, their homes, and their livelihoods waiting to be approved for disability assistance. Isn’t it tragic that people who were once hardworking, productive and paid their taxes get this kind of treatment when they ask for assistance?

I do not believe that people want to be disabled or claim so if they are not (of course, there are exceptions). What I believe is that everyone wants to work hard and be productive. No one wants to live a life of pain or watch their loved ones struggle financially because of their inability to work. I certainly hope that people start to understand disability without having to live it. That is why awareness is so important. Join me today to blog about disability, how it has affected your life, and the importance of awareness.


4 thoughts on “Disability and Ignorance

  1. man, i wished i had seen this sooner! i'm going to have to go over and check it out though… hope it is cool in your parts today because it is darn hot here! lolsmiles,shelley

  2. Lana, thanks for your support and all you do for the arthritis blogosphere.Sorry about not linking at your blog last night. I was hurting from a rough day at work and got my post up, went to fix something to eat and went to bed. I forgot to come back and link to you.

  3. Thanks for your Activism and inner drive to stop discrimination against disability. Your post has some daunting and intricate points that are so well conveyed.

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