In the “That has to be the most singularly unhelpful thing I’ve heard” category.

June 7, 2013 at 5:05 PM (Uncategorized) (, , )

Persons with disabilities (henceforth abbreviated PWD’s) get really dumb stuff said to them by the able all the time. But this one takes it.

An associate of mine was struggling with life responses that they themselves were suffering  by (in other words their own choices), but also dealing with a bunch of stuff that wasn’t their fault.  An able bodied spectator of their life’s drama said, and I quote:

“You know I really don’t understand why you don’t just shoot yourself in the head.”

That, of course, is the ugliest version of “I could never live like that.”  or “I’m not good with sick people,”  etc.

Deep breath:

First shut your mouth unless your actual intent when you got up this morning was to devalue and terrify an associate of mine.


Second:   And I’ll say this slowly so that any able bodied slowcoach who says these sorts of things can clean out their ears or take some hangover remedy and listen.

Yes, you could live like that.  Yes…you could.  Admitting “I’m scared of living like that,” now that’s more like it and we can begin a dialogue there.  How many of our veterans are dealing with PTSD or TBI? Or  How many car accidents cause radical alterations in the way those injured in them have to manage their lives?

A just as flip, unhelpful nasty answer to the “shoot yourself in the head,” remark, might be a slow smile and a “You first…:).”  [In my days of newsgroup flamewarring I might have said just such a thing…]   But a better answer is “Because I still have stuff to do.”

Yeah, it’ll get done by methods and ways that some able can’t begin to think about…but it’ll get done.

Thirdly,  there are folks who at one time or another have real, searing suicidal ideation.  Do you with that earnest statement (it wasn’t a joke, I was there) want to encourage their own vulnerability and fear about what they are experiencing? Don’t put a thumb on the scale unless you’re really fine with learning a particular friend checked out early.  Because I know I’m not.

And the,  “I’m not good with sick people,” thing is just a cowards way out, frankly.  Let’s say you have a friend.  And they are going through things that make you sad, or angry or frightened.   You don’t have to get in there and ‘suffer’ with them 24/7 because they’d just as much rather hear about the news, or pop culture, or family stuff or gardening, in balance with being able to air what’s going on with them.

It’s difficult certainly but it beats leaving the party early.

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