I made this image for the Migraine Misfits group I admin and no truer words have ever been said.
“We are too able to be disabled or too disabled to matter.”
It is hard to even find this line with society, to be honest. I can never find it, but I feel it. I have gone back and forth on it. As can happen with invisible disabilities. Most of the time I find we are left struggling with the ‘too able to be disabled’. Left to flounder in a society to fast paced for us, desperate for some sort of relief or just for the pain to stop for One moment… but just too able to be disabled, right? Because we present this ‘functional’ image. This ‘can’t see it’ so it must not be that bad.
Functional. Or just functional… enough. And so society does not give a damn that you suffer for it. It is a problem. I like to think most of us are offered the right programs to cope with our chronic illnesses but I was diagnosed with my first at 16 and just got into a chronic pain clinic at 37. So I know people slip through massive cracks in the system. I know a lot of us just try things on our own. Acupuncture? Sure, I’ll give it a go. Chiropractor? Tried that. And the list goes on and on and on. With utterly no guidance at all. In my case no real medication either on the FM side until six years back. So it is a broken system.
I had a doctor that when I was on a short-term leave from work, which happened too often (yeah, not so functional after all) his sole purpose was to get me back to work. Because he must have believed himself I was too able to be disabled.
Then something happens and you cross the line and are ‘too disabled to matter’. You are of no use to society anymore and they have no use for you. You could starve for all they care, and you might given the income they provide on disability. That, frankly, is a disgrace. Here, in Canada, and in the States. People should not have to live like that just because they are disabled. But you also find you are ignored, discounted, considered worthless and your opinion not taken into account. Half the time they think you are lazy, a drug seeker and faker anyway.
Then someone decides, no, you are more functional than that. So now you are back to being too able to be disabled.
People never look at the stigma inherent in the system. How little companies accommodate disabled employees unless Made to, and then resent that fact. Or don’t do it at all. And if you do not function as you are told in the workplace they come down hard with the ultimatums. Get Better damn you!
The stigma of those on disability is just right in the system. Keep them just above the poverty line? What is that about? These are people that had no choice about there illness. Had great jobs and careers and you knock them down and say sorry try living in poverty…. because we don’t Value you. You Don’t Matter.