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Explaining your disability

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  • #21
    Originally posted by ClassAction View Post
    I've decided that the next time she not-so-subtlely asks what my illness is I'll tell her that I'm infested with alien eggs and they keep threatening to hatch. I wonder if I can keep a straight face through all that!
    This is GREAT!

    My brother had encephalitis as a teen, which resulted in debilitating depression, immune system and neurological issues that persist to a slight degree even 16+ years later. When he was just returning to a somewhat "normal" life and attending college, he confided in a great deal of frustration with this sort of issue. My suggestion was this response, which he got a kick out of and reportedly worked great at getting the busybodies to back off.

    "So, what EXACTLY is wrong with you."

    "Demonic possession."

    To all of you who are dealing with non-obvious or intermittent disabilities, I raise a glass to you; I know from my brother and another relative who suffered a TBI that left lasting issues that the comments and behavior from "outsiders" can be worse than the disabilities themselves in some cases.
    Equinox Equine Massage

    In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
    -Albert Camus

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    • #22
      bluesy I bet im shorter than you hehehe

      Beat 4'10
      Beyond the Ring-para dressage, training, coaching
      www.facebook.com/btrparadressage

      Proud Team Four Star Minion! Renegade for Life!

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      • #23
        Originally posted by *Teddy* View Post
        bluesy I bet im shorter than you hehehe

        Beat 4'10
        Ok, I am 4'11" ... on tiptoe. I call a draw.

        We used to measure ponies before carding them by me.
        If you could see their withers over my head, they would not pass.

        My size was not a handicap until I got older and 16 hands became taller than it used to be.

        Mounting blocks are our friends.

        Comment


        • #24
          What are realistic goals for the invisibly disabled in horse sports does anyone know? Recreation riding only? I am not being sarcastic or derisive here, I am physically but invisibly disabled too.
          Does anyone know any successful horse businesses run by ppl who started the businesses after their onset of disability(I am not referring to those of us like myself who ride for recreation)? I know there are BNTs and successful horse business ppl that kept their business going after disability only if they first built reputations as "able-bodied" ppl.
          I have never understood the line drawn between "physical and mental" disabilities because anyone that is even slightly knowledgable about molecular biology sees that there is no distinction there. I think the flak ppl get about mental disability not being the same as physical is residue of belief that mental illness is a character flaw. Ppl who believe that have a character flaw of ignorance of brain chemistry and physiology in general i think.
          Another category of responses comes from those that dont know me -towards those like myself who have a disability that can be life threatening which seems to make others scared or uncomfortable and they act as if they cannot trust you.

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          • #25
            Originally posted by STABLESWOT View Post
            I have never understood the line drawn between "physical and mental" disabilities because anyone that is even slightly knowledgable about molecular biology sees that there is no distinction there. I think the flak ppl get about mental disability not being the same as physical is residue of belief that mental illness is a character flaw. Ppl who believe that have a character flaw of ignorance of brain chemistry and physiology in general i think.
            Another category of responses comes from those that dont know me -towards those like myself who have a disability that can be life threatening which seems to make others scared or uncomfortable and they act as if they cannot trust you.
            RIGHT ON!!!! People are afraid of things they don't understand. Disabilities can often bring out fears and/or ignorance in others. As far as mental illness equaling a lack of intelligence, people ought to look at the work of someone like Sylvia Plath. The woman was a genius.
            Beth

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            • #26
              In fact...most people suffering from mental illness are usually on the brighter end of the scale.
              www.specialhorses.org
              a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #27
                Originally posted by DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho" View Post
                In fact...most people suffering from mental illness are usually on the brighter end of the scale.
                I've thought a lot about that. I relate it to my cats, interestingly enough. I have two cats, one is fairly bright and one is....not so bright. Bean (Mr. Brightside) is neurotic. Aster (lovable but dull) is happy happy happy.

                Would I trade some neural connections for more stable brain chemistry? I'm not sure. Some days yes and some days hell no.
                Forward momentum!

                Comment


                • #28
                  I would say that intelligence and brain disorders are not always connected, but it depends on what the disorder may be.

                  It does make sense that someone with a higher working intelligence would cope with whatever disabilities may be present better, but that doesn't mean that someone less favored doesn't has similar problems.

                  That is evident when you study the autistic spectrum, where some higher functioning individuals are assumed to then have higher intelligence, leaving those that don't under great pressure from those expectations.

                  Brain disorders, by their nature, will affect people in way too diverse ways to make more than very general rules.
                  Brain problems are not like waiting for a broken arm to knit in six weeks, since most bones seem to heal the same and all will be fine.

                  In our therapy group, there are no two individuals with even close to the same problems, so each one has it's own therapy exercises and individual responses to them.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    I'll throw in a comment because I'm interested in this group's response. The original poster was asking about how others explain their invisible disabilities to people, in the context of "I can't do as much as you expect and here's why." Speaking as the person you might be offering this explanation to, I'll say I don't need a whole lot of information, but if you don't tell me something, I won't know -- I won't know to cut you a little slack if you look tired, I won't know that inviting you to join us for a beer after an evening at the barn might be the wrong thing to do, I won't know to give you a call if I haven't seen you at the barn for a few days. It's really hard for the others around you to know what expectations to have -- if I lump you in with "all 40-y-o horse owners" I'll have one set of expectations, but if I know you identify better with "4o-y-o horse owners who live with a chronic disease" I'll have a different set --- if you don't provide even a little information. I find this, often, with volunteers at the therapeutic program where I teach. We try to accept everyone at face value, so I don't ask a lot of questions but wait for people to tell me what I need to know. And saying, "I'm just not very strong" can mean "I want to lift every heavy object to build up my strength" or "don't ask me to lift the heavy stuff because I'm going to drop it" -- so tell me what the implications are for the setting we're in, please. I don't need to know your entire medical history or your diagnosis unless you want to tell me - but do tell me "if I have to lead a horse in two classes in a row my blood sugar is going to bottom out, so I'm going to need to run to the car in between and get some crackers." I can work with that! Does this make sense, from your point of view?

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                    • #30
                      Great post BetsyK

                      You make complete sense. I think it upsets some disabled people is when a short explanation isn't enough. Sometimes people will just continue prodding for more info and I think that may be what has the OP upset. With the gossip in some barns, it can be tough to share your problems. I am fortunate in that it is quite obvious when I've reached my limit. Heck, sometimes I haven't even started and people think I belong lying in bed
                      Beth

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                      • #31
                        Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                        I would say that intelligence and brain disorders are not always connected, but it depends on what the disorder may be.

                        It does make sense that someone with a higher working intelligence would cope with whatever disabilities may be present better, but that doesn't mean that someone less favored doesn't has similar problems.

                        That is evident when you study the autistic spectrum, where some higher functioning individuals are assumed to then have higher intelligence, leaving those that don't under great pressure from those expectations.

                        Brain disorders, by their nature, will affect people in way too diverse ways to make more than very general rules.
                        Brain problems are not like waiting for a broken arm to knit in six weeks, since most bones seem to heal the same and all will be fine.

                        In our therapy group, there are no two individuals with even close to the same problems, so each one has it's own therapy exercises and individual responses to them.
                        But the etiology of autism is different from that of mental illness. Not saying there is not overlap. But the disability does not preclude high intelligence.
                        www.specialhorses.org
                        a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho" View Post
                          But the etiology of autism is different from that of mental illness. Not saying there is not overlap. But the disability does not preclude high intelligence.
                          Does not preclude, but also does not demand that there be high intelligence.
                          My point is that intelligence was not a diagnostic criteria for most mental disorders and that in some cases, to expect that, when it is not a given, has been hard on those involved, as in some autistic disorders, as high functioning autism.

                          Special education classes teachers come across this regularly.

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                          • #33
                            [QUOTE=STABLESWOT;4527218]Does anyone know any successful horse businesses run by ppl who started the businesses after their onset of disability(I am not referring to those of us like myself who ride for recreation)? I know there are BNTs and successful horse business ppl that kept their business going after disability only if they first built reputations as "able-bodied" ppl.
                            QUOTE]

                            I can say I am one. It isn't my main occupation but I do run my horses as a business, I teach lessons, breed and show. I was recreational rider (rode trails everyday after work) when I was in a car wreck that left me paralyzed. I was 24 (1991). I decided to get into breeding since I could play with the foals everyday. I went back to riding with a TR center did that for 3 years discovered driving. And no looking back. Educated myself through clinics and books. Wasn't easy being the only one in a chair at a clinic or even a show. Drivers are neat people we would stack a bunch of pallets up use carriage ramps get my high enough and then I would transfer into carriage. A long story cut short on purpose. But as I built my skill I became a good teacher and top competitor. So I started doing clinics and teaching lessons, most have been to able-bodied drivers. Always a tad nerve racking that I can't get in the carriage with a beginner driver:-)

                            So you could say my disability opened up my world with horses, to this day I might still be a recreational rider, rideing the trails... if it hadn't been for a car wreck.

                            Diane

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                            • #34
                              [QUOTE=cadriver;4529154]
                              Originally posted by STABLESWOT View Post
                              Does anyone know any successful horse businesses run by ppl who started the businesses after their onset of disability(I am not referring to those of us like myself who ride for recreation)? I know there are BNTs and successful horse business ppl that kept their business going after disability only if they first built reputations as "able-bodied" ppl.
                              QUOTE]

                              I can say I am one. It isn't my main occupation but I do run my horses as a business, I teach lessons, breed and show. I was recreational rider (rode trails everyday after work) when I was in a car wreck that left me paralyzed. I was 24 (1991). I decided to get into breeding since I could play with the foals everyday. I went back to riding with a TR center did that for 3 years discovered driving. And no looking back. Educated myself through clinics and books. Wasn't easy being the only one in a chair at a clinic or even a show. Drivers are neat people we would stack a bunch of pallets up use carriage ramps get my high enough and then I would transfer into carriage. A long story cut short on purpose. But as I built my skill I became a good teacher and top competitor. So I started doing clinics and teaching lessons, most have been to able-bodied drivers. Always a tad nerve racking that I can't get in the carriage with a beginner driver:-)

                              So you could say my disability opened up my world with horses, to this day I might still be a recreational rider, rideing the trails... if it hadn't been for a car wreck.

                              Diane
                              That's pretty cool. It's horrible that you had a car wreck, but it is amazing how becoming disabled opened up your "horse world". You are a real inspiration to me!
                              Beth

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                              • #35
                                Gotcha, Bluey! I think we are on the same page.
                                www.specialhorses.org
                                a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  What a great thread!

                                  If necessary to say anything at all, I tend to tell people (in my horsey life and elsewhere) that I have a chronic illness that flares up sometimes and I need to accommodate it. The specifics really aren't anyone's business.

                                  I've been in a wheelchair for the last six weeks or so due to a broken leg, and holy crap it's been an eye-opener. People talk to me like I'm stupid, invade my space, avoid eye contact, essentially act like I'm invisible (Hello! Would it kill you to hold the door for me?), and generally make it clear that they see me as less of a full person. And aside from the giant cast thing on my leg that makes it kind of obvious why I'm in the chair I'm visibly hale and hearty. People in general are so weird in how they deal with visible disabilities and deformities I can imagine that folks with more obviously complex and permanent issues get treated even worse.

                                  Originally posted by Wayside View Post
                                  And if you missed where I linked to it in another thread, I really like The Spoon Theory written by Christine Miserandinoh. http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/na...poonTheory.pdf
                                  Wayside, that's awesome. Thanks for that.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    You know sometimes it is diffcult when that farrier, vet, clinician meets you for the first time. Sometimes rather then getting upset with their reactions to the gal in the chair holding the squirming 3 month old foal for his feet to be trimed or when I arrive at a vet clinic with a 16.1 hd 3 year old.

                                    I just put myself in their place. They've never had a client like me:-) And I give them the benefit of the doubt. Overall horse people really are cool people and we can always find a common ground in our love for the animal.

                                    I have the luxury of haveing my horses at home, but when I sign up for clinics, I talk to the organizers to let them know I'm comming and what accomadations I need. They will usually pass the info on to the clinician, and then I don't worry about what the other participants think.

                                    As for people looking at me funny because I'm in a chair, I got over that in the first 6 months and I don't even notice it now, at least I don't ever have to worry about not being able to sit down:-) I always forget to pack chairs in the horse trailer!

                                    Diane

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                                    • Original Poster

                                      #38
                                      Originally posted by citydog View Post
                                      What a great thread!

                                      I've been in a wheelchair for the last six weeks or so due to a broken leg, and holy crap it's been an eye-opener. People talk to me like I'm stupid, invade my space, avoid eye contact, essentially act like I'm invisible (Hello! Would it kill you to hold the door for me?), and generally make it clear that they see me as less of a full person. And aside from the giant cast thing on my leg that makes it kind of obvious why I'm in the chair I'm visibly hale and hearty. People in general are so weird in how they deal with visible disabilities and deformities I can imagine that folks with more obviously complex and permanent issues get treated even worse.
                                      I agree it is SUCH an eye opener. I motored about in a wheelchair for three months with a broken pelvis and it was very much enlightening. The number of people whose gazes saw the wheels and slid away....scary.

                                      Visible versus invisible disabilities!
                                      Forward momentum!

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Betsy K you make an interesting point. Since I am able bodied, I really have no clue what life with a physical disability is like. I am more worried about offending someone with my ignorance than I am uncomfortable that they are disabled. I would be interested in knowing how their disability affects them so that I can be understanding and help with whatever the issues are.

                                        I guess my illness (depression) can make me socially awkward at times so I don't always know the right things to say or do. Maybe that awkwardness is conveyed as being uncomfortable with the other person's disability when it is actually my lack of self confidence on how to handle a new or different situation. If I try to be helpful, will it be seen as condescending or acting out of pity?

                                        Sometimes people can be rubes because they just don't know any better.
                                        http://thepitchforkchronicles.com

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                                        • #40
                                          mkevent - I think you can often sense the intent. Awkwardness is okay if the intent is sincere - after all, what can you say to someone - "Wow, having to deal with what you deal with must really suck, right?" What offends me is the condescension, which - in my opinion - is used by those who need to distance themselves from your injury/illness (as in, the same will not happen to them). And that's the irony, of course, because any of these things can happen to anybody.
                                          www.specialhorses.org
                                          a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

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