I’m hesitant to blog about this…because

November 25, 2007 at 12:13 PM (Uncategorized)

friends and family members will assume it is about them when it isn’t or even worse, assume it isn’t about them when it is…

So, I hereby state for the record that this is not about commenters here

Does anyone else with impairments/disabilities ever run ito the following scenario? I’d be interested in knowing…

You have able friends and or family. They call you.

From their perception, they have legitimate reasons to be stressed about issues abcd.

You *want* to be supportive. You want to be a good relative or friend. So you listen (and that’s a big deal for me, a learned behaviour to sometimes fer chrissake shut yer yap, and listen to what the other person is saying) and offer some possible solutions. (Not in a “You ought to” or “You must” way, but in a “Have you ever thought about?” way)

But, part of the time, inside your head you may be thinking…

“Jesus….[this person] has more money that God,” and they’re saying they have problems. Have they had to choose between rent and medical expenses? Have they had to sell personal possesions to eat that week as I have done? Have they had to play “Which chronic condition is least likely to **** with me if I stay in the house this month so can I forgo the medication for that particular condition? Are they living out of their car, as my roomate has done in the past?

Are they someone who is *out of work* and had their parent work with financing to *buy the out of work person a new house* next year?

Are they an able bodied person who is out of work and has no problem asking a relative to gut their savings to pay for their living expenses ?

Are they someone who has never considered the possibility that living with loneliness for 26 years as a single person, but with plenty of money to live on is *different* than someone who is lonely and living as a single person for the same amount of time either on disability or one paycheck away from eviction?

It just makes me a little more insane each time I hear these things….

And, *I’m* one of the goddamn lucky ones who work…

I hate to think of the kind of discussions able working people foist on the vast majority of those with impairments who are out of work/and/or unable to work.

Sometimes, our lives are just too different to look across that divide of privilege and make any kind of sense.

And, I’m perfectly willing to take heat from anyone without a job now who says to me WTF are *you* bitching about, you have a job!  I’m okay with that….  I’m making 400.00 a month more than I did while on disability…that difference is actually eaten up by gas to get to and from work,  and the fact that my prescriptions/doctors visits cost me 12o a month more out of pocket than they did while I was on disability.


  1. hymes said,

    Hey, you have a job! 🙂 .As to the rest, I take the 5th so as not to blow my repuation as a saint… (bwa ha ha!)…

  2. ama said,

    this is really powerful. i have a chronic illness but am not on disability and work part time when i can but am also supported by a husband with a decent salary — just so you know where i come from. i do however, like you, have the not infrequent experience of being the confidant of people who consider themselves in dire straights and make me think, dude, i don’t think so.

    four observations:

    a) obviously, the absoluteness of pain. pain hurts, period. if you are the listening type, those who hurt will tell you that they hurt.

    b) the incommensurability of pain: my pain feels like the end of the world to me even though there are people who have it much worse right in front of me and i know it.

    c) (and this touches directly on the need of people to confide in you) self-absolution. people feel the need to make you understand that they suffer too, so that you know they are not SO better off after all. i tend to attribute this need to a genuine desire on the part of others to shed perceived privilege and level the field, rather than to narcissism. i know sometimes i do that, too, and i really believe i do it out of a desire to be compassionate than out of selfish self-aggrandizement. i do know it’s a mistake, but it’s tempting. owning up to privilege is hard and forces us to confront all sorts of nasty feelings about ourselves.

    d) (and this also touches on the need of people to confide in you) you understand. unlike their neighbor next door who has it easy. people in pain understand other people in pain. people in a lot of pain understand people in a little pain who feel they are in a lot of pain. people in pain know when to keep their damn mouth shut, listen, and not offer advice.

    thanks for making me think about all this.

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