Pug diaries – not all disabilities are visible !

Sitting on the train this morning I’m minded to write this blog about intolerant, judgemental and often unkind people who are so intent on their own comfort and sacred space that they are willing to embarrass and make others feel uncomfortable. 
So what has set me off in this frame of mind ? 
It’s all to do with perception v reality 
In our heads we think of people being disabled if they are in a wheelchair, have a white stick, an assistance dog or a motability vehicle. We often don’t consider the hidden disabilities that plague many of us, that hinder our function, cause us difficulty and stress. 
I regularly travel alone. All over the world. I’m a capable intelligent person and I’m independent in all aspects of my life. I don’t ask for allowances I don’t have special consideration or a badge but that doesn’t mean I don’t need the same common courtesy as the next person. In fact I do have a debilitating condition that gives me some difficulty in e.g. handling luggage and some progressive deficit in fine motor skills so ticket turnstiles etc can be a challenge particularly if I’m managing bags and such like. It’s not a major thing with a little bit of patience,  but my ability to perform tasks efficiently undoubtedly diminishes with people tutting and huffing and puffing with irritation when I take a few extra seconds here and there.
This mornings joy was that I am, unusually, travelling alone with a suitcase on the train. I do all I can to make this easy. It’s a four wheel one I can push along but I still have to lift it onto the train and push it down the wobbly aisle and find somewhere to stow it that doesn’t require lifting. The only space this morning was behind another passengers seat. They weren’t using it but if looks could kill I’d be writing this from the grave. For goodness sake people it’s a suitcase and just because you have bought a ticket for that seat doesn’t not give you a sacred circle of space which no one shall enter. 
It’s the same problem often in shops – I think I’m pretty nifty at packing up a trolley load at the supermarket but I do drop things and cause mayhem and I definitely do this more when I feel pressured.
If this happens to me I wonder how people far more infirm and with other hidden conditions feel. 
Let’s start with the the frail elderly, the confused, the mum with an autistic child, the person with anxiety, the Crohns sufferer, those with a mental health problem – I could go on but you get the point. All of these people and many others at some time may need that bit of extra tolerance, a few seconds of human kindness and understanding and frankly to be not judged as incompetent or stupid or a pain in the ass. 
I have son with dyspraxia. I have fought all of his life for him to be recognised for what he excels at, for his capabilities not his disabilities. He is gifted, capable and intelligent but even as an adult will still be the last in the changing room if there are lots of buttons or laces involved. Getting this point across in his journey through the education system was forever a challenge. 
Why are we so intolerant of others? Should it really require someone to wear a neon sign saying ‘disability’ for us to be able to recognise that some people may need a few seconds space or an offer of help ? Have we really lost the common courtesy that makes the world so much a nicer place? I really hope not and like the optimist I always am I’m going to hope for the best in people. 
Next time you see someone taking a little extra time or struggling with something, how about a smile and a few seconds space or even better an offer of help? Or even nothing …. for that is better than the toe tapping menace that is so commonly seen lurking. 
Have a nice journey everyone ! #notalldisabilitiesarevisible #TweetKindness

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2 thoughts on “Pug diaries – not all disabilities are visible !

  1. Claire Manno says:

    I admire you very much Lorraine. I agree with everything you have said. I too have various physical and some mental ones that cause me to inconvenience people at this point in my life. I also have raised a daughter who had severe learning disabilities as a child and getting help for her was a real challenge 25 years ago. It is sad that things have not changed very much since then. Here in America we have the The Americans with disabilities Act which is supposed to help but often leads to resentment on the part of those who are responsible for helping people. My own family can very often get frustrated with me and act unkind. I also have a big mouth and will speak out if I hear someone being harassed by ignorant, unkind people. My family is pretty sure that I will be arrested at some point. LOL! They tell me to mind my own business but I feel very strongly that it is my business to help someone or speak out for them if I see an injustice taking place. We are all connected. This crazy world needs all the kindness it can get. It can start with a simple smile. I support your efforts to educate people. Thank you.

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