Friday, December 04, 2015

Disabilities come with a big footprint

We are all limited by things; time, our environment, our physicality and our personality. But some people are more limited than others, by their physicality or mental state.

When you're a person with disabilities you have a bigger footprint of need and time is a zero sum game. 

So you have a bigger footprint. I know when my anxiety has fired—and it's up at the moment—my footprint gets bigger. My family has to take care not to make loud or sudden noises and if something gets distressing then I have to walk away from it and not help. And my walking away hurts people and it hurts me.

I read recently about the impact of domestic violence and how at the core of it is selfishness. The sense of entitlement people who abuse their partners have. But the article also talked about how families learn to tread softly around people who cook off and my family has to do that with me—though I don't get angry, I just get distressed. 

I hate that. I hate that when my anxiety is high it impacts on those around me, that my disability gets a bigger footprint. That I have greater needs or that people have to change their behaviour because of me. 

So I'm selfish. I don't mean to be, it's my depression and my anxietycoupled with pain, impaired mobility and abdominal discomfortimpacting on people I love and care for.

That's what it is to be a person with disabilities. To know you need help but that your needs impinge on others, and sometimes with a greater ferocity. 

At least I don't waste the ability part of disability—the caring about what I do, how I do it and how it will help others. I just wish the people around me have didn't have to carry the can for the dis part—colleagues, friends or family.

Disabilities—you get abilities, but the dis part sucks. 

UPDATE (12 December 2015)Pru Goward in the SMH talks about the impact of her father's mental illness on her family. 

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