— Resource Centre (@NorthernRCPWD) February 11, 2015
I really hate this sentiment. And I’m not the only one offended.
“The only disability is a bad attitude” either excludes people from the us with proper attitudes or erases the us with disabilities. It also supposes that these are separate groups. At the moment I appear visibly to not be in the “us with disabilities” group.
But I am. For the most part though my attitude is dependent on all sorts of things that have nothing to do with my disability. Mostly with how busy my life is, and how possible things seem. Another way to say the same stressors everyone has.
A chance at possibility in my world is pretty much entirely dependent on healthcare that costs money. Meds, therapy visits, psychiatry visits, dietician visits. I don’t want to get into the battle of my meds cost more than your meds. I do want to say that the tweet suggests I must have no disability because I’ve got a good attitude about things in my life.
I would say I’m where I am because I’ve got an amazing insurance policy. Not everyone does. (We have a mental health care system full of holes, that, sort of, is prepared to treat people with very severe symptoms who have already lost a great amount economically.) Many are working on this. In ten or twenty years we may see more people with mental illnesses who didn’t lose as much ground economically if Obamacare remains and thereby people are able to afford health insurance.
The tweet implies that disability is bad, and not just bad, but terrible. Furthermore, it suggests that if I own my disability I have a bad attitude. I could dwell on how much time I spend on self-care versus how much time being a student, editing, or writing, or just watching Netflix. Actually, it crosses my mind all the time.
I also wonder about how my life would look different as a straight-through line, instead of containing episodes of complete disability. Does this mean I have a disability or a bad attitude? I may be cranky. My attitude may vary. I’ve got a disability. I’m tired of systematic discrimination and prejudice. (I’m also sick of the word stigma, but let’s leave that for another day.)