Let’s Not Discount the Effect of Ableism on Our Emotions
My column published this morning discusses the concept of ableism and its effect on our emotions. Ableism is a form of culture that involves a shared preference for healthy, non-disabled people. In most geographic settings, it is a reality exemplified by many situations that fail to accommodate disabled folks. Examples include restrooms that aren’t available in public spaces, grocery stores that don’t provide mobile chairs, and businesses that don’t provide enough accessible parking.
When we live with an invisible illness, people often judge us for how we go about managing our disease, which is crucial for our survival. For instance, we notice the expressions of disapproval on people’s faces when we use a store’s mobile assistance carts and then stand up to reach for an item.
Discriminatory behavior can cause those with disabilities to hide their illnesses even more than we already do and neglect our self-care, triggering depression. Toxic popular culture that discriminates against disabled individuals can drive us to deny or ignore our disease. We may stop taking care of ourselves because we are ashamed or embarrassed.
What situations have you experienced that remind you we live in an ableist culture?
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