My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesnt prevent you doing well, and dont regret the things it interferes with. Dont be disabled in spirit as well as physically. -Stephen Hawking
People can have a lot of misconceptions about things they don't understand. Reddit user AbhorrentIngestion asked:
"Redditors with special needs/mental illnesses/disabilities, what is something you wish people understood about you?"
Here are some of their answers.
My Aspergers Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder) doesn't make me a broken version of neurotypical people. I don't need to be fixed, pitied, or saved. I just need acceptance. People with Autism who are unable to live autonomously need assistance, but there are millions of us who have learned or trained ourselves to live just fine, thank you. No, I'm not exactly like you. Sensory overloads still happen and I don't react or behave exactly like the "average" person. But I'm not defective. Stop bombarding me with messages that I am. LakotaGrl
As a person with Asperger's, if you're going to be my friend don't measure me with the same measuring stick you do the rest of your friends. Use a modified one. Vealophile
Bipolar 2 here. No, I don't slam back and forth between happy and sad during the day. No, I am not unstable and dangerous. Sometimes it is hard/impossible for me to muster the strength to get out of bed, and no, it is not because of anything in particular. heathaash
ADHD is FAR more than being easily distracted. I forget things instantly unless I write it down. I forget to say thank you out loud. Crowds of people or new places can become overwhelming very quickly because the brain is taking in more information than it can properly process. Poor comprehension and misunderstanding body language and tone.But there are benefits. I can quickly and easily switch tasks when I need to. I can also hyperfocus where I drown out everything and put all my energy into completely one task. I notice things others don't, like a cell phone ringing at a loud concert, or can tell you exactly when I last saw your wallet or keys (and they're almost always there). CaptainAsshats
I wish people understood that I'm not this way because I want to be. I don't have depressive episodes because I don't try hard enough. If they knew what I did on a daily basis to support my mental well being, they'd be exhausted just doing half of it. But it's what I have to do, and sometimes the episodes still creep in. I wish they understood that I want to be healthy too, and I don't want to care as deeply as I do...but I do. Britney2007
I'm not "too young" to be in pain. Fibromyalgia has started for many in childhood with aches and pains that progresses to worsening symptoms in adulthood. I could do physical labor, but would need 4 days to recover and even after, I would still be in pain. This isn't something to just "suck up and deal with, we're all in pain, we all get on with it". Having a stiff neck for a few days is one thing, needing muscle relaxers and massages daily just to be able to turn your neck without risk of causing ANOTHER spasm to rip through your body is shitty. No, I don't look like I'm in pain, yes, I am smiling and laughing. I've learned to tolerate my pain. There's always something new to deal with, another symptom to try and correct. CaptainAsshats
I wish I could make people understand that there isn't always a reason for me being depressed. The type of depression that I experience is, well, chronic, and the likelihood of me growing out of it (I'm only fourteen) is slim. There doesn't need to be a direct trigger or event that makes me depressed. Sometimes, it just happens. It's a scary thing to go through, especially when the mood changes are quick and unexpected.
One moment, I could be perfectly content, watching a YouTube video or talking to a family member. And, within moments, the process of an emotional roller-coaster begins. It starts with a tightening in my chest and stomach, as if I'm going to be sick, and the feelings of dread and absolute sadness take over. It's something that's difficult to explain, especially to a person that doesn't know shit about depression or the symptoms and things that come with it.
It's hard when everyone you know says to you, "There has to be something wrong if you're feeling this way. You don't randomly just experience this, so tell me what happened." I'm sure it's frustrating as Hell knowing that you can't do anything about it, because nothing happened, but it never fails to frustrate me. This also applies to anxiety and plenty of other illnesses, I'm sure. pitylove
Just because I have a disability, I may not understand things straight away or may take me a while longer does not mean I am stupid, I may also be quiet, I have a speech problem if you watch my YouTube videos you would understand. thephilsblogbar
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
I want to be fun. I do. I want to be able to be active and not think about the consequences of everything and stay in the now. I'm trying. But Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Anxiety are poor company. I'm scared and I'm tired. I don't want to be those things. I just want to feel safe because nothing feels certain anymore. secsual
Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome
I have cyclic vomiting syndrome which basically means i have cycles that my stomach goes thru that means one month, Ill be able to handle foods at ease and eat whatever whenever and other months, those same foods lead me to vomit or be nauseous all the time and even water can be bothersome . I do take meds to manage it but sometimes that doesnt even work. So because I turn down your food doesnt mean Im being rude , its meaning that my stomach isnt in a good place at the moment and I dont wanna spend the next 2 days recovering from eating the food. blenneman05
I have a form of dyslexia which means I have trouble processing auditory information. However with the tools I can use (writing notes and double checking it's right via email as well as tape recordings) it doesn't mean you can lie to me about what you said and get away with it. Nor does it mean I'm deaf or not aware of when you're being patronizing. Catsplayingbanjos
Just because you "feel good" about a portrayal of a person with a disability doesn't make it a good portrayal, even if it seems like the person with a disability is benefiting. For example, take the "Homecoming Queen with Down Syndrome" trend. On the surface, it seems great, because the girl with Down Syndrome gets recognized and she gets a prominent place in the social order. However, the news features tend to highlight the "hero" students who elected her (as if they made some huge sacrifice) and emphasize the idea that the girl can't accomplish worthwhile things on her own, so others must artificially accomplish things for her. People with Down Syndrome have made excellent contributions to society. They don't need other people to accomplish things for them and have their achievements artificially awarded to them. The news feature just reinforced the (false) idea that being Homecoming Queen is the highlight of this girl's life, and that she needed other people to give it to her, and that their "generosity" is so undeserved that it merits a news crew. minnieturtle
That it is not your job to 'fix me'. I have depression and anxiety and hate when people think they need to encourage (ie force) me to talk on the phone or start conversations with people I dont know. Or when they take it upon themselves to drag me to social events in an effort to lift my mood. I know it comes from a good place, but it is not your job to fix me, and it honestly just makes it worse. Lyra_meow-
Not all wheelchair users are paralyzed! I always get such strange looks when I'm unloading my wheelchair from my car, or when people see me move my legs because they assume wheelchair = paralyzed. I'm capable of walking, I just can't walk long distances which is where the wheelchair comes in. devongarv
I wish people knew that mental illness is still an illness. You're not going to yell at someone with no legs to walk up a staircase or be angry at someone to catch a football with no arms because a normal person would notice that they are physically impaired and hopefully help that person out. However, you can't look at someone for 5 seconds and know if they have a mental illness or not. Just because you don't see it or don't "believe" in it, it doesn't mean that person might have a mild to severe form of some kind of mental disorder. If you think someone needs help, fucking help! There's a difference between someone being lazy and someone sleeping all day, every day. There's a difference between having a bad day and having months of feeling depressed. So, at the end of the day, there's going to be a difference between someone with a healthy brain and someone with a sick brain. bigtittyjimmer
Not me, but my friend has Schizophrenia who is disabled for life. No he does not have multiple personalities, no he is not a risk of murdering my entire family when he stays with us and no he is not just a lazy taker who doesn't want to work, he wants a job, but his longest held job was 2 weeks.
Sometimes he is unable to get out of bed for months at a time short of using the restroom and eating enough food to survive. When he is able to overcome his agoraphobia and leave the house, he often donates his time at a local charity.
Stop getting your knowledge of mental illnesses from the media, movies or "Aunt Edna, from down the road." The information is available online, look it up and read it before you say something about it. DatOneGuyWho
There isnt always a REASON for me to feel anxious. I can be having an anxiety attack in the safest location with nothing negative on my mind but can begin panicking to the point of physical symptoms for no apparent reason. Theres isnt necessarily something wrong. extasis_T
Nothing to Prove
That invisible disabilities exist. You would not believe the amount of people I have argued with that don't believe I'm disabled just because they can't see it. There are millions of different things that can cause a disability and only some are visible to onlookers. bitterlyyours
PTSD isn't just a thing for veterans. It can happen to anyone, and many people who have PTSD who aren't veterans are dismissed/not believed because they weren't in the military. FuckYourPoachedEggs2
I'm autistic, but I am high functioning. Very few people know this in my life. Even some of the people I do, I regret telling, as they treat me differently.
What I want people to know is that I still have feelings and emotions. I still want to connect with people. I still have relationships.
There's a lot of things that most people will understand on instinct that I've had to work for an understanding of. And some of those things I still don't get the purpose of.
This does not mean that I don't mean I don't feel. My emotions are not fake.
I think sometimes people assume that someone who has autism is like a robot. That is not the case. It obviously varies (hence the word "spectrum" in the name of the disorder), but a lot of people treat autistic people in an annoyingly patronizing way.
Do you think I can't see that?
Sometimes, I am going to make social missteps. Sometimes, I am going to have to be explained things that should be obvious. But these things happen to everyone. I am as human as you. jpterodactyl