As a reward for reading about things my heart only half-cares about, I bribed myself with the incentive of reading my textbook’s chapter on disability only after I had finished the social agency and poverty chapters. Disability chapter was like my brownie cake dessert after my brussell sprouts of poverty and social agency had disappeared.
Anyway, here I am all amped up and ready to indulge my narcissism and read about myself, when my heart fell out my butt. The Disability chapter of my text, thoughtfully named “Persons with Disabilities: Barriers to Their Full Participation in Society,” was divided into two parts: Actual (physical) barriers, and Disabled (psychological) issues. In my experience reading general info on PwD, the disabled psychological issues usually blabs on about learned helplessness and overprotective parents and waking up on a tear-stained pillow (depression and its comorbidity with physical impairments), but this chapter, in all its 13 pages took things a step further. It had the gull to talk about the results of internalization of disability, and pretty specifically, too. The nerve.
My first instinct when reading things that fly too close to home is to drop everything and go look at pictures of unhappy cats, but in the interest of better understanding my own life, the cats went on the back burner. What I found instead was this gem of sadness, cut straight from a disabled person’s heart:
For many [PwD], these [negative] feelings and self-evaluations can become barriers that impede them from achieving the maximum of which they are capable.[…] Examples of personal barriers are a sense of poor self esteem resulting in low self esteem, fear of rejection and/or retaliation by authority figures and non disabled people in general.
In not so many words, the textbook is notifying all social-workers-to-be that there’s a high chance disabled clients will spontaneously cry in their office. It’s also explaining the emotional root for some of the issues associated with disability. Low self-esteem from low-body image and self concept results in a self-made barrier.
The textbook seems to take a go-all-out approach to discussing emotional issues common to disability, as it also says,
If steps are not taken to rectify inequality, the disabled memebers [ha. I’ll show you my disabled member] may feel their disability makes them less disirable, less valued, and less productive than others without disability. Unless they recieve support from others about their worth, they are likely to develop feelings of low self-esteem and powerlessness. Out of such issues emerge feelings of bitterness, resentment, self-pity and fear of isolation and isolation.
I kind of wish the text had closed their tragic statements with, “Good luck with that,” and stopped there. But it goes on to discuss how these negative feelings often interplay with over protective parents/siblings (Brent and Kyle <3), and how that turns into a generally bad situation quicker than you can say lifesabitchthanyoudie.
Having the reasons for the deep unrelenting blackness of my core laid out in text form is gravely grave, and a bit annoying. Thing is, I don’t feel like my self-esteem has always been in the negatives, nor do I feel like it will stay there. In fact, I can remember being 21 and being arrogant in many respects. Then a bunch of stuff happened and I forgot myself for a bit. And now I’m here, writing things about things. I don’t know whether to be delight or torn up that the belly of my emotional turmoil has been summed up in two short quotes. Fuck you textbook, you dont know me, you dont know my life. My parents are DIVORCED.
What about you guys? Wheelie or not, do you feel like there is one catastrophic, life-altering event that can bare the brunt of your sadness? If you are a person with a disability, does this make you cringe?Maybe it gives us an excuse to live at the LCBO. Or maybe it’s real.