Do you consider yourself to be disabled?
Well, if you have MS, you are disabled, according to The Government.
I’m not sure how I feel about this term.
What is disabled anyway? Unable to do what others can? Are we disabled by our own limitations or by society and our environment?
On the flip-side,what does healthy mean? Do you know a healthy person? I’m not sure I do and interestingly, a new study by the University of Washington throws up some truly gobsmacking results.
An analysis of 188 countries revealed that just 4.3% of the population have no health problems. 4.3%. Further, a third of the world’s population – 2.3 billion people – has at least five ailments.
Who’s disabled now?
If 95.7% of the population have at least one ‘disability’, even with my maths, it pretty much means we’re all in the same boat. We are a ‘disabled’ society.
In a way, I feel comfortable having a set-in-stone diagnosis. My random symptoms have been gathered under one umbrella, MS. There is legislation in place to ‘protect’ my rights. All well and good until an employer chooses to ignore them and bully you out of your workplace. I speak from experience.
Funnily enough, one of the people who took great pleasure in sacking me for my MS actually took many, many more sick days than I ever did (and unlike me, she had paid sick leave). So who’s the disabled one? She was off work so often, it was a surprise to see her in the office.
Why are those of us with a Confirmed Diagnosis of Something or Other lumped together into a group, best dealt with by suspicion, fear and enmity? Even though I worked just as hard/harder than anyone else, I became someone to be viewed with distrust.
If unhealthy (gah, what a term) people are the majority, where have we gone wrong as a society?
Years ago, I used to work in a tremendously busy office. So-and-so had a special cushion for her chair as she had backache. Another person had migraines and had to take frequent screen-breaks. Someone else had diabetes. A typical office then.
Perhaps it is time to recognise that as a society, we all deal with some pain or ailment on a daily basis and it is our duty to protect and nurture each other. We’re only human after all.
And the irony?
The job I was unceremoniously sacked from was within a care company, specialising in helping ‘disabled’ people to retain their independence.
You couldn’t make it up …