Tag Archives | mental condition

Guest Post: Liz Davies Talks About Seasonal Affective Disorder

I don’t talk a whole lot about specific mental disorders. But, as a person that experiences a bit of seasonal affective disorderseasonal affective disorder myself, Liz Davies’ offer to do a post on it really intrigued me. From a disability standpoint, seasonal affective disorder is extremely debilitating for many people and, like most mental conditions, still isn’t discussed nearly enough.

Thank you, Liz, for continuing the dialogue.

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder: How to Perk Up During the Winter Months

Seasonal affective disorder, which is also referred to as SAD, is a condition that affects approximately 9 percent of the population. The symptoms of this disorder begin in late September and last throughout the winter months. However, it is important to note that a small percentage of people experience seasonal affective disorder during the spring and summer months. Although only nine percent of people experience this disorder many people experience a change in mood during the colder months. This could be to a variety of things but many people do not get to be in the sun as often or their exercise gets cut back.

Doctors have not been able to pinpoint the exact cause of seasonal affective disorder, but they do believe that changes in the circadian rhythm and a drop in serotonin can make a person more susceptible to developing this disorder. Seasonal affective disorder can be a very difficult to deal with, but there are a few things that people can do to manage this condition. Below are some ways that people can stay positive during with what can be a slower time of the year.

Exercise

Exercise is a natural antidepressant because it triggers the release of endorphins. Endorphins are often called the feel-good hormones because they have a calming effect on the body. People should make it a goal to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. It is best to join the gym or work out at home with exercise DVDS during the winter months. Those who prefer to exercise outside should make sure that they wear layered clothing.

Eat a healthy diet

Diet alone cannot cure seasonal affective disorder, but it can help improve a person’s mood. Cantaloupes, apricot, kiwi, oranges and spinach are rich in the antioxidants that help boost mood. It is also important to make sure that one eats plenty of lean protein. Protein has been shown to increase alertness. Tuna, poultry, beans and peas are excellent sources of protein. Vitamin D is another nutrient that can help reduce some of the symptoms of SAD and cheer up just about everyone. Studies have shown that people’s vitamin D levels are lower during the winter months. A vitamin D deficiency makes a person more susceptible to developing SAD. Yogurt, salmon, nonfat milk and liver are rich in vitamin D.

Talk to family members or close friends

People should also make sure that they talk to their family members and friends on a regular basis. It is much easier for one to cope with the feelings of depression if communicates with his loved ones. If a person’s loved ones live a long distance away, he should call them or keep in touch with them via social media.

Exercising, eating healthy and keeping in touch with loved ones are just a few ways that people stay happy and healthy during the winter months!

Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April. If you would like to contact her she can be reached at healthylizd@gmail.com

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“Inside His Mind” – A Must-Read about Dual Diagnosis

I came across an incredible blog post over the weekend about a young man with a dual diagnosis.

http://www.li-kids.com/2012/02/01/inside-his-mind-an-interview-with-r/

I’ve never read this blog before, but the post in question is a mother’s interview with her teenagedual diagnosis son   (I’m assuming that ‘he’s a teenager; his age is never given, but one of the tags is “teenager” and the Twitter tweet that led me to the article said he’s a teenager) who has Asperger’s syndrome, bi-polar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. This is called a dual diagnosis – developmental disability and mental health diagnosis. It’s a fascinating read, and a couple of things about it really struck me.

1) R’s Level of Insight into His Dual Diagnosis and His Disabilities

When I worked with teens with intellectual disabilities who could understand that they had a disability, we had a lot of conversations about what “disability” was. Some of them didn’t realize that they had one. Some knew that they had one, but simply didn’t consider themselves people with a disability. Some didn’t want to be considered one of “those people” out of fear of being teased, or of being associated with groups of people with whom they felt they had nothing in common.

I tried to get the message across that if you understand what your disability is and how it affects you, you know how to ask for what you need – from doctors, from formal supports, from informal supports, even from potential employers. I struggled with depression and obsessive compulsive disorder in high school and through my twenties, and I know that I could not have explained nearly as clearly as R how these things affected me.

R’s family needs to look at this ability to reflect on his dual diagnosis and to explain what it’s like to be “in his mind” as a strength that he can utilize.

2) Which Disability R Perceives As Giving Him The Most Difficulty

Some of the difficulties that R experiences likely come from his Asperger’s diagnosis. The trouble picking up on social cues and the social awkwardness are symptoms of Asperger’s (they can be symptoms of other things, too, but if he’s been diagnosed with Asperger’s, those things likely are likely part of that disorder for him.) The fixation on video games and technology may also be a part of his Asperger’s, even though he seems to identify it as something separate.

Based on this interview, it seems to be the bipolar part of R’s dual diagnosis that causes him the most distress. It makes me think about the controversy over the proposed changes to the diagnostic criteria for autism for the DSM-V, and wonder:

  • How many of the R’s medications are treating Asperger’s-realated issues?
  • Are the new psychiatrist and psychologist he’ll be seeing supporting him for the bipolar? The Asperger’s? Both?
  •  What are his doctors’ take on the video games as an addiction (as opposed to another manifestation of Asperger’s)?

3) A Downside to Canadian Medicare

I’ve never said that there weren’t any.

In emergency situations, Canadian Medicare has always served me well, as I’ve blogged on before. But when I read that R will be seeing a psychiatrist…I thought, “Wow, just like that?”

In Ontario, it’s very difficult to see a psychiatrist or a psychologist anymore if it’s not an emergency situation.  It wasn’t always like that. But it is now. It’s very frustrating when you’re supporting individuals who need a psychiatrist and it’s so difficult to get them access to one.

I realize that for people without insurance in the United States, this sort of treatment is very expensive. But with non-emergency psychiatric care so hard to come by in Ontario…it does make me wish sometimes that it was as easy as being able to find a psychiatrist and pay for services, just like that.

I guess there are no easy answers when it comes to health care.

Thank You, Ashtyn Evans and R

Ashtyn printed all of R’s responses about his dual diagnosis unedited in her blog post, and plans to blog about her feelings later.

I’m looking forward to reading her thoughts about R’s dual diagnosis.

 

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Bob Marshall and Why I Won’t Give Up

Now, before anyone gets the wrong idea as I address remarks made by Virginia State Delegate Bob Marshall in 2010…

I am not anti-Christian or anti-religious. Yes, I was raised a Christian and bob marshallchoose to no longer affiliate myself with that belief system, but I choose (as much as possible) not to align myself with any belief system. I have devout religious friends, including Christians, for whom I have a great deal of respect and affection…but I’ve also encountered attitudes from religious people, including Christians, that make me very sad, and sometimes very angry. I read about some of those attitudes from Bob Marshall this week.

Nature’s Vengeance

This goes back to a press conference in February 2010 against state funding for Planned Parenthood (still an issue for many politicians in this election season, by the way). Why bring up remarks from 2010? Because beliefs like these simply have no place in the 21st century:

“The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children. In the Old Testament, the first born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There’s a special punishment Christians would suggest.”

Read the full story here: http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2010/02/22/83337/disabled-abortion/?mobile=nc

Sarah’s Anger

I’m a very patient, non-judgemental person. You have to be, in my line of work. But when I read statements like this…my heart starts to race, and I can feel the tears starting to build up behind my eyes, and my breathing starts to become ragged. Comments like this stay with me. I ponder how illogical they are, how scientifically unsupportable…

And eventually I cry over them, because I wonder how people with disabilities can ever hope to be regarded as equals, or hope to live a life of dignity and respect and full participation in community life, when there are still people out there that view them as a punishment.

Bob Marshall Will Not Stop Me

Sometimes when I hear comments like the ones Bob Marshall made, I wonder why I bother being a disability advocate and trying to make things better for people with disabilities. But then I’ll get a phone call like I did tonight, from a young man with an intellectual disability that I helped to get on his feet after he graduated from school. He just wanted to say hi. But hearing how well he was doing, and knowing that I had helped to get him to that point, made me feel like there’s good in fighting for these people that are *not* mistakes or punishments, no matter who says so.

I will not let Bob Marshall or anyone else take away my conviction that everyone has value in this world, not just the people who are “able”. I refuse to believe that the world…or God…operates that way.

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Sexual Assault and Disability: Behind the Eight Ball

I was watching an episode of “Law and Order: SVU” this weekend. You may remember from sexual assaultother posts that this particular television show, even among those within the “Law and Order” franchise, challenges me (and often disturbs me) like few others. This episode involved the sexual assault of a young woman with a mental condition.

Sexual Assault and Disadvantaged Groups

In this episode, a young man in an inpatient mental health facility witnesses a female resident being sexually assaulted by a staff member, prompting an investigation by the Special Victims Unit. Their investigation reveals that the assailant isn’t on staff at all. He’s the girl’s uncle, sneaking in disguised as a doctor, using an ID lifted from a staff member. The young woman is 24. He has been raping her since she was 14.

The SVU detectives talk to the young woman about to whom she disclosed the abuse when she was a teenager, and about why nothing was done at the time. It appears to be a case of a family in denial, not wanting to believe that an immediate family member could do something like that. When one of the detectives promises that the uncle will never touch her again, the young woman just laughs and says that there’s no way that will happen.

“Why?” the detective says.

“Because,” the young woman says. “He’s sane and I’m crazy.”

How often does that happen?, I wondered. How often does it happen that someone makes an allegation of sexual assault and the people around them say, “Well, he’s crazy…it’s him imagining things again,” or “She’s retarded…she misunderstood.” or even, like in the some of the New York state group homes that are coming under scrutiny, the caregivers just didn’t give enough of a damn to even call the police even though they knew that they should.

“Reliable Witness” and Sexual Assault

I know that these things happen. I’ve talked to people with disabilities who have told me about abuse and then said, “But I told people and they didn’t do anything, so why should I tell anyone else?”

I also know that there are very good reasons why some people with mental conditions and intellectual disabilities don’t make reliable witnesses when it comes to making sexual assault allegations. Their stories fall apart under scrutiny, or details come out that make authorities suspect that an encounter was actually consensual…even when it still might not have been. People with developmental disabilities specifically may have made an allegation using the wrong terminology but some sort of assault still may have happened.

It can become very sensitive, involved work, to untangle all the threads, and figure out if there’s actually an assault allegation there on which people need to move when the witness seems “unreliable”, particularly if a disability complicates the issue. But it’s especially when a disability complicates the issue that the appropriate professionals need to be brought in, to ensure that the sensitive, involved work is done. The concern should be with ensuring something really didn’t happen before the person is labelled an “unreliable witness” and the case dropped on that basis. These cases can simply too complicated to let that happen, and no one should feel that they’re at a disadvantage at a sexual assault trial because of a disability.

Accessibility in the Judicial System

The judicial system is already a daunting place for people with mental conditions and intellectual disabilities (or both). It’s intimidating, the questions are difficult to understand, the rights of the people involved are difficult to understand and the processes aren’t intuitive. We need advocates to help the judicial system become more accessible for those whose disabilities affect how they experience life and how they communicate those experiences to others – and to mitigate the experience of feeling like they’ve lost before the trial has even begun.

More on sexual abuse of people with disabilities:

http://calcasa.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Survivors-with-Disabilities.pdf

 

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Cultures of Inclusion

As we move into a society where creating cultures of inclusion for people with disabilitiescultures of inclusion becomes more and more important, administration of social institutions in particular need to remember two words: top-down.  It’s all about creating cultures of inclusion that start from the very top of the organizational hierarchy and pervade the entire organization, touching the person at the very bottom of the hierarchy.

*Your* Part in Creating Cultures of Inclusion

“You set the tone,” Dr. Greene (Anthony Edwards) said to young Dr. Carter (Noah Wyle) in the opening episode of the long-running “ER” series. This is true. We do set an example for others by how we interact with people with disabilities in all areas of life: at work, church, on the street, in the grocery store, at our kids’ hockey games, in PTA meetings…wherever we are. Chances are that if you’re in a group, someone there has some sort of disability, even if it isn’t visible.

Management’s Part in Creating Cultures of Inclusion

In organizations, though, management has an extra responsibility to “set the tone”. The phrase “culture of inclusion” describes an atmosphere where the staff in organizations and the people that they serve are comfortable with the fact that people are different and where people are treated with respect and dignity, as full community members, despite their differences. Good managers are aware of the legislation surrounding disabilities and hiring practices and know the advantages of having a diverse staff.  When managers embrace the ideals of cultures of inclusion, it filters down in their policies, the day-to-day of the organization, and the way the organization, whether profit or non-profit, serves the community.

Schools and Cultures of Inclusion

School administrations in particular can have a powerful effect by creating cultures of inclusion among students. Special education programs have been hit hard with budget cuts, and many students who would have had classroom Educational Assistant support in the past will not get it now. But perhaps this will spur educators to think outside the box about the nature of supports that students actually need:

  • Given the intensity level, frequency and duration of support that a student needs (not to mention what subjects interest them and what they’d like to do after graduating!), do they really need an EA?
  • If the student has an intellectual disability and is low-functioning (for lack of a better word), are there some classes that might interest them as an observer? A music class? A gym class?
  • Could volunteer students from the school go with some of the students in segregated special education classes to noon hour events?

Everyone can benefit from seeing students with disabilities participate in school events, and students with disabilities, especially those in segregated special education classrooms, often welcome the opportunities to meet other students and make new friends. In some schools, there isn’t much of a chance for anyone to get to know students in segregated classrooms, and that doesn’t promote cultures of inclusion.  Positive relationships with people with disabilities as children and young adults is going to carry over into adulthood for students without disabilities. Also, these relationships enrich the lives of people with disabilities. Particularly for people with intellectual disabilities, they’re an opportunity to try new things and learn valuable interpersonal skills. It’s very important that school administrators create opportunities for these relationships to happen.

Even cultures of inclusion that seems forced at first can develop into something more organic and spontaneous, and can benefit everyone.  Read about the Heads Up for Inclusion project, which focused on developing cultures of inclusion in several Ontario schools:

http://www.headsupforinclusion.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3&Itemid=5

So, managers, remember…top-down! *You* set the tone for your organization when it comes to how people with disabilities are treated.  Set a good one.

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Could Disability Happen to You?

I once heard a comedian/disability advocate introduce himself at the beginning of one of his shows as “not disabled yet.” Nicely played, I thought.  Because while disability isn’t inevitable for everyone,  there’s a good chance that for many people, age (if not circumstance) is eventually going bring some sort of disability.

We just don’t like to think about it until it happens. And when it does, the world starts to look much differently than it did.

“It Could Never Happen to Me”

I learned from the Human Development Course that I took a few years ago that part of the reason that teenagers engage in risky behaviour is that they think that they’re invincible. I submit that part of us never stops thinking this way. We never consider that we could someday have to use a wheelchair to get around, or use disabled parking, or have to rely on social assistance because a disability prevents us from working.

Until it happens. And then it becomes startlingly clear just how difficult it can be to get around even spaces that are “accessible”;how few the disabled parking spaces are (especially when people without passes use them when they’re just going to “run in” to the store); how fiercely people feel about tax dollars going to monthly income support for people that genuinely can’t work because of disability that doesn’t even allow them to meet the poverty line.

Why Disability Could Happen to You

One of the men at at Ottawa Rehabilitation Centre had a spinal cord injury that had left him a paraplegic. He was fairly young, mid-thirties at the most. The cause of his injury hadn’t been dramatic. He’d been on an all-terrain vehicle, going about ten miles an hour.  The ATV had hit a rock in the trail, and flipped. He’d hit his spine.

It’s that easy and unexpected.

Even a bad fall could do it. When my father broke his arm after a fall in the woods, he got an uncomfortable taste of what it was like to live one-handed (which, as much as I’m used to it now, can be decidedly inconvenient).

My Point

My point is…it’s easy to ignore disability issues because they don’t affect us in the moment. I was guilty of it myself. But if we’re committed to building a society where everyone feels valued and every life has dignity, we’ve got to try to put ourselves in other peoples’ shoes and see things from their perspective – not just say “but for the grace of God…” and move on.

What other groups should we be doing this with, do you think?

 

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I Support the Spartacus Report

http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.com/2012/01/i-support-spartacus-report.html

Disability advocate Sue Marsh put this report together, with the help and support of other people with disabilities in the UK. It brings to light some disturbing information about the direction that income support for people with disability is going in the UK, and the process by which the government made these reforms.  One of the blogs that I looked at said that people are already dying because of these reforms.

I have to admit that I only have a passing knowledge of what’s been going on in the UK, and that I didn’t know about this report until today. But I have friends with disabilities in the UK, and wanted to show my support. I fear that a similar situation could someday happen in the United States, or even Canada.

If you live in the UK, please sign the petition at the bottom of the linked page…thanks.

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More on New York State Group Homes

In case anyone needs a review on what’s been happening with New York State group homes for people with developmental disabilities:

http://www.girlwiththecane.com/new_york_state group_homes/

New York State Group Homes in “The New York Times”

The latest article in the “Abused and Used” series in chronicling the abuse in New York State group homes appeared in “The New York Times” just before New Year’s. The article focuses on one of the operators: Federation of Multicultural Operators of Brooklyn. The full text of the article is here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/28/nyregion/operator-of-ny-group-homes-thrived-despite-lapses-in-care.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1325176919- Nhrsh5AFVgD828ev1jiW6w.

The financial history and hiring practices alone of the Federation are shocking enough. But the 27 citations for failing to meet health and safety standards in Federation’s Intermediate Care Facilities (all issued between 2006 and 2010) would be, one would think enough to make New York State want to sever ties with this operator. C.E.O. Danny King, who is a retired police officer with no experience in the developmental services field before starting work with the Federation, doesn’t seem concerned, according to the “Times”.

Just an Observation

Working in the developmental services field, I’ve noticed that we’re learning as we go along.  We thought that institutionalizing people with intellectual disabilities was the best thing for them for a while. Now we don’t. Now we’re becoming aware that even the best of community residential options brings up issues around rights and safety and how people in staffed homes should be interacting with the people they support. In the almost twenty years that I’ve been involved withNew York state group homes agencies that support people with disabilities, I’ve seen ways of thinking come into favour and fall out of favour and settle in the middle and then move toward one side again.

I’m okay with working in a field where there a lot of “grey areas” and issues that need to be worked out. I don’t tend to think in absolutes, and I’ve got a lot of patience. However…

No Patience or “Grey Areas” for New York State Group Homes

I do not see grey areas, and I have no patience, when it comes to people who violate the safety of vulnerable people and of animals.  Abused kids need to go to a safe place and parents should  have to go through a long, comprehensive rehabilitation process before they get them back (if it’s ever appropriate).  People who abuse animals shouldn’t be allowed to own pets.

And a service provider that receives 27 citations within 4 years for safety violations within housing (including the Federation’s failure to investigate abuse, inadequate medical care, and medication errors), should simply not be allowed operate New York state group homes. Period.

The article says that this all started four decades ago with the state’s decision to stop institutionalizing people with disabilities and a the lack of an oversight agency that could do proper and timely inspections of the group homes that people ended up in. Forty years is a long time not to have learned as they’ve gone along with this.  Particularly as the first small public group homes became multi-million corporations like the Federation, one would think that the state would have seen the need to put proper oversight and inspection procedures in place.

It makes me wonder, again, about how much society really values people with disabilities.

I keep seeing evidence that it doesn’t, and that makes me sad.

See the archive for the “Abused and Used” series about the New York state group homes situation here:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/nyregion/abused-and-used-series-page.html

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“My Princess Boy” and My Christmas Wish for the World

I saw a wonderful segment on Dr. Phil’s episode on “Radical Parenting” today. Cheryl Kilodavis talked about her son Dyson and how his love for all things pink and pretty inspired her to write “My Princess Boy”, a book on the importance of accepting differences.

A Little Boy in a Dress

Kilodavis talked about how Dyson, now five, had been interested in sparkle and glitter and dresses from age two. They showed several pictures of him in dresses over his jeans as he played sports, and a video of him showing his three most favourite dresses. He’s an adorable little boy, and clearly seems happy, social and active. Kilodavis said that the doctors that they’d taken Dyson to had told her and her husband that he was a very healthy, well-adjusted little boy, and not to over-encourage the fascination with dresses…but not to discourage it, either. In light of that, the Kilodavis’ decided to support Dyson’s preferences, whatever they happened to be in that moment. If they changed later on, they’d support those too. They would be adults that their son could count on to guide him to be the best that he could be…however he chose to dress.

People Fear “Different”

I like Dr. Phil because he’s very committed to child welfare and because he has taken bullying on as a personal cause. In the interview with Kilodavis, he identified people who are “different” (specifically, people of a “different” ethnicity, who have disabilities or who are struggling with GLBTT issues) as the most common targets for bullying behaviour. I found Kilodavis’ opinion that kids are becoming such bullies because adults are modelling bullying behaviour really intriguing. I was also deeply touched by how she talked about that she’s just trying to support her little boy, who’s secure and happy with who he is, and trying to give others tools to do the same thing, hoping that they’ll say, “Yes, we will.”

Dr. Phil seemed to think that “My Princess Boy” would go a long way toward helping children learn about accepting differences. I will be buying a copy of it for my personal library.

“My Princess Boy” and Other Beautiful People

Between personal experience, experiences of people that I’ve supported, experiences of friends and of their children, and even the experiences of children (and adults) that I hear on the news, I feel like bullying, hate speech and hate crime has taken too much of me. I feel like it’s taken too much of us as a society.

My Christmas wish is that everyone finds people that will say “Yes, we will” while the rest of the world is smartening up about learning to accept differences. Because life’s a lot more pleasant when you’ve got people around you who will love you unconditionally while you’re just being who you are.

Thank you to the Kilodavis family for what they do to educate people about the importance of celebrating our differences.

More on “My Princess Boy” here: http://www.myprincessboy.com/index.asp

Interview with Dr. Phil about “My Princess Boy”: http://www.drphil.com/slideshows/slideshow/6479/?id=6479&slide=0&showID=1694&preview=&versionID=

I’ll see you after Christmas. Happy Holidays to you and yours. :)

my princess boy

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Changing the World One Step at a Time

So, recently I’ve been watching a 2005 PBS documentary series from Netflix-on Demand about thechanging the world Holocaust. It’s called  ”Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State”.

Because I’m Really Into Fun Television

As you might expect, a documentary series about the history of Auschwitz isn’t exactly…uplifting. I’m not even sure what prompted me to start watching the series in the first place, as Holocaust informational material really disturbs my “no evil people, just evil acts” philosophy of life and ultimately distresses me. My sister visited Auschwitz on her tour of Europe and didn’t really want to talk about it when she returned. I don’t know if I could go there. I think the energy of the place would be too much for me.

I can’t get my head or my heart around the Holocaust.  I can’t even begin to fathom the horrors that people lived through, and what made their captors hate so much that they could put others through those horrors. I listen to the survivor interviews, and think, “How do you cope with carrying all that?”

And the thought, “I’m ashamed to be human,” has passed through my mind.

Don’t Want to be the Same Species As Such Horrible People

It’s  not the first time I’ve pondered those things. I’ve thought them in response to hearing about hate killings of people because of their sexuality, such as Matthew Shepard. I’ve thought them hearing about acts of racism that people have faced over the years. I’ve even thought them in work, hearing about abuses that people with disabilities have had to endure from caregivers and supports (both paid and non-paid).

I’d like to believe that people aren’t evil. But some days it’s hard. And in my work, some days it feels like we’re a very, very long way from a society where people with disabilities are respected and regarded as equals.

Some days it gets easy to ask myself, “What’s the point? We’ll never get there…”

Another Perspective

I finished the fifth documentary yesterday, and one of the comments from the panel discussion is what has brought me here. Jerry Fowler, who worked for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. when the documentaries aired, said that from the Museum you can see the Jefferson Memorial. The Declaration of Independence is written on the walls of that memorial:  ”All men are created equal”. Yet at the time the Declaration of Independence was written, Fowler observes, men owned slaves, and would for another century. For another century after that, there was legalized discrimination.

But “All men created equal” was a beautiful sentiment, even it wasn’t true when it was written, and it was definitely worth working toward…and still working toward today.  It would have been very easy at any given point in those next 200 years of legalized racism, “What does this mean for us, when it’s so obviously not true?”  However, it’s an idea that belongs in a space where everyone can see it and work toward it…even if getting there takes a long, long time.

(These are a paraphrase of Fowler’s words…Netflix won’t let me rewind this one and I actually had to let the documentary play through again to get to the interview a second time).

Changing the World

He was responding in general to a question about why we still seem reluctant to help countries that are struggling with genocide, even after all the lessons the West learned from its slow response to the Holocaust. I was encouraged by his idea that we need to be heartened by even the slow progress that humanity makes toward the ideal. I like the idea that the ideal *is* working toward, no matter how far away it seems.

On my bad days, when I ask myself why I and other disability advocates bother, I’ll try to remember his words and think of just one step that I can take that day to get us a bit closer to the world I’d like to see…even if it’s just a note to another disability advocate to say how much I appreciate their work…

Maybe that’s the real key to changing the world. One little step at a time.

 

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