Society & being different

Why are so many of us who deal with something treated differently? It’s not just Cerebral Palsy of course, but what about Asperger’s, Autism and Dyslexia. It’s any condition that shows us in a different light that makes how we see and understand the world differently that others find difficult to accept.

Perhaps it’s because others don’t have the imagination to know what it’s like being in our shoes, despite what they tell us. They think they know and because they think they know, they don’t take the time to get to know. As a general rule, we identify with people who are similar, show the same traits, are part of the same culture and who share the same perceptions. Disability isn’t a meal ticket to all those things.

Sadly, it is our learned behaviour from childhood that overrides our natural one. Not accepting anyone who is different is only one example of this, but once we begin to work from outside the box, we will begin to understand other people in the way they should be understood. We’re people first, disability second.

Experiences show we’re already marked before we have a chance to show our worth, what we’re all about in front of the disability. Perhaps those of us like me who are different, need to look at this issue differently so that we don’t emotionally pick holes in ourselves.

The irony is that we’re all different anyway. But for us, we must learn to love and accept ourselves as we are. The problem is not with us, but with those who treat us differently. Society has a way to go on this, but we desperately need that change.

1 Sep, 2017

6 thoughts on “Society & being different

  1. Society has a very long way to go, as far as how to treat people that they consider to be different. This was why I took so long to get treatment and I still haven’t scratched the surface on some of the issues I have to deal with. I wasted most of my life trying to be normal, when I was anything but, because of what I had gone through as a child.

    We spent most of it on the fringes of society being looked down upon as ‘poor white trash.’ This was one of so many stigmas that we were labelled with that tend to scar you for life, no matter how much you work on changing things. I am finally taking DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) classes that address our ways of thinking and how we deal with our perception of the world around us and it has been very helpful.

    Now if I had only taken it so many years ago, I would have saved myself a lot of pain and suffering; but I assumed it was only for people with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder).

    It actually works more on life skills and how to deal with it normally, so I think it would be good for a lot of people, especially those with mental health issues. I think it’s even something that they should consider teaching in schools so that people would have more of an understanding what we go through, when we don’t have the same skills as everyone else.

    We had to learn how to adapt and overcome things pretty much on our own, since no one ever really told us about our issues and addressed them accordingly. They seem to be doing a better job now, but in the time we grew up, a lot of these issues just weren’t talked about at all.

    People right now need to learn to focus on the fact that we’re all human beings in the end, no matter of our differences. I grew up in a family where we were conditioned to be very critical and judgmental of others who weren’t like us, so in essence we were raised to hate ourselves.

    I was even asked recently if I was a ‘racist’ or a ‘Nazi’ because of a comment I made on Facebook about recent events and I’m definitely neither one of those. I can’t change the color of my skin like I can’t change the fact that I have to deal with mental health issues, so I had to unfriend this woman seeing as she doesn’t know me at all.

    I know far too well what it’s like to be judged so harshly, because you’re considered different, so who am I to judge? The biggest issue I can see, is that we’re facing a world that focuses more on how much we’re all different, rather than focusing on how much we’re actually alike in the end.

  2. I had to copy this in Randy. I love your words. They sum up your response beautifully. ‘The biggest issue I can see, is that we’re facing a world that focuses more on how much we’re all different, rather than focusing on how much we’re actually alike in the end.’

    Absolutely and perhaps that is exactly what we need to change. For the world to focus on our strengths and how very much alike we can be, rather than the world and each other focus on our differences.

  3. Wow, I love Randy’s response. It’s how I felt too. I tried and thought I walked like everyone else and never knew I had a limp consistently.

    I knew I walked funny if I had to climb or descend stairs or walk up or down a hill, but didn’t know walking on level ground. Everything made sense then as to why I was treated different and with that I became angry, because deep in my heart and soul I know I hold a lot of value and worth, but very seldom given that opportunity; especially in the workforce.

    There is total and complete discrimination when going into an interview and automatically being seen passed my skills and experience instead of the worth I can bring to the table. They only see the physical issue and have made a decision and it’s wrong.

    So I figured if that’s they way it’s going to be, they can pay me on Disability. That may be a petty way of thinking about it but a person can take so much rejection for so long. And I’m sick of it.

    I CAN work but I’m not given the chance to. Very depressing.

    1. I love Randy’s response too and thanks for being so honest. I love that we get to talk about these things. It helps for us to be able to say what we feel and that we can resonate with each other.

      Given the amount of times you’ve tried to push forward in the work place, for people in the work place to recognise your skills beyond your disability, I can understand your reluctance to continue. I have to say that you’re not only articulate and intelligent, but you would also be an asset to any employer. It’s they who are missing out.

      Can I just ask? In the UK there are Employment Agencies who help find jobs for us. Do you go through an agency to find a job, or do you apply directly in the States? It would just takes one Company to see your worth and recognise your skills and give you a chance.

      I think your struggles are other people’s struggles too, when it comes to disability. The fault doesn’t lie with you, it’s in the workplace, in society and in the world. And it needs to change.

      It helps to talk about these issues and get them out wider.

  4. Thank you Ilana. Yes they do have employment agencies that help people seek jobs. I’ve been to numerous locations.

    My own personal experience was a waste of time. Even though it’s apparent I have limitations with what I can and can’t do, a lot of these agencies would try and match jobs that I could not physically perform.

    I would explain that to them and they would scoff or look annoyed because my limitations was an ‘inconvenience.’ A lot of other openings were only temporary too, so it has become a discouraging cycle.

    There is an agency I’m making a mental priority to make an interview with. It’s an agency that helps disabled people find work according to only what they can do. It’s a 2 hour drive from my home and with all these doctor appointments, I haven’t had the time or funds to make the trip.

    But I plan to! It may be the only card I have to play.

    1. I feel so sad reading your response Bonnie. Not only have these people failed in their jobs to support you, they have also failed you, both morally and spiritually.

      If you have an opportunity to make an appointment with this new agency that accommodates people who do have a disability, I would definitely try that.

      Although it’s important you make the 2 hour trip, I am sure the agency will understand how difficult that is for you, but perhaps you can explain the 2 hour trip and see if they would be prepared to help you by taking information from you over the telephone.

      If you have access to a computer you could Skype them, or you could suggest you email or fax your education and work experience details through. It’s just a thought of course. I was always told, what’s the worst that can happen, they can only say ‘no.’

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