I’m so tired of people comparing and ranking different types of disabilities.
Particularly, I’m frustrated that people with psychiatric disabilities keep saying that it’s worse for them because they can’t talk about it, whereas people with physical disabilities can.
I get that there’s a lot of stigma against mental illness. I live that every day. There’s a reason I don’t tell anyone at work I have a mental illness: I’m afraid that if I’m ever well enough to get a job, that will get in the way of my being hired.
But I live the other side of the coin every day too. I have severe ulcerative colitis. Do you think it’s socially accepted for me to talk about how I was up all night shitting blood? I think it would probably be more acceptable to say I was hopelessly depressed.
Because of severe fatigue and weakness, I often have to use a cane if I’m going to be on my feet for more than 30 seconds. Do you think people don’t judge me for that? Strangers ask, “What’s wrong with you?” I get asked if I’m contagious. I get told I don’t look sick. I get told I’m too young to be that sick. I get told I should just stay at home if everyday things are so hard for me. A LOT of things aren’t accessible to me, from public transportation to jobs, because I can’t stand for very long, even with the cane. And when you start talking about accessibility, people roll their eyes and act like I’m being an entitled brat.
Not everyone, of course. Some people are lovely. But overall, people don’t care. They’re not willing to go a little out of their way to accommodate someone with a physical disability, either. So please, for the love of god, stop saying that people with physical disabilities don’t also face stigma and discrimination. Let’s stop playing the “Whose Life Sucks More?” game. It’s not productive, and it just leaves everyone feeling worse afterward.