A friend who wishes to remain anonymous wrote a post about NOT FEELING GUILTY FOR BEING DISABLED which I think is beautifully worded, and says exactly what needs to be said:
We didn’t choose this
“We –all of us—need to work on not doing this to ourselves. Knowing what you do about living with this illness, if your good friend or your daughter had it, would you blame her or think she was lazy if she didn’t bring a dish to the holiday dinner, or help with the clean-up? No! You’d tell her how glad you are she was well enough to be there with you, and that you appreciate her making the effort, knowing what it will cost her later. We need to give ourselves the same love we’d give to a dear friend. We need to be loving friends to ourselves.
“When we feel guilty for being sick, or for the limitations the illness places on us, it’s like blaming ourselves. It’s like saying that being sick is something we choose. It’s like we believe the negative stereotypes that some people lay on us.
“Do you think someone undergoing chemo for cancer should feel guilty for losing their hair? Would you think a paraplegic was lazy for not running the hurdles? Is someone with Alzheimer’s to blame for not remembering things?
“We did not ask to get sick, nor did we bring this upon ourselves. It is not a choice. And we are not to blame for the limitations that the illness places on us or for its symptoms, any more than that cancer patient, paraplegic, or Alzheimer’s patient.
“We owe ourselves respect. It’s enough that we are sad about the things we can no longer do, and that, perhaps worst of all, we have to live with the regret for things we’re unable to do for others. We really must work at not allowing ourselves to feel guilty. Because we aren’t guilty of being sick, we’re just sick.
“If I sound vehement, it’s because I struggle with this, too. I think most of us do. And we need to remind ourselves and each other not to succumb to guilt. We deserve better.”
I couldn’t agree more – I stupidly struggle with the exact same feelings, especially when the holidays come, and everyone seems to be able to kick it up a notch and do all the extra things which come along – while I am even more dysfunctional because I can barely handle one thing at a time on my better days.
Disability is not a choice – what we do with it IS.
The frustrating world of the healthy
The ‘well’ world in general seems to think people with disabilities – or even babies and old people – do things deliberately to get in its way, to take up more than our fair share of space and resources. This attitude is ridiculous – because it remains unexamined until someone becomes disabled, or has a child, or has a parent develop Alzheimer’s, or… and then that person 1) learns too late what we already know, and 2) becomes useless because he or she is now tainted with the same disability ‘cooties’ by association – and gets kicked out of the ‘well’ world.