I was captivated by the title of this article over at The Mighty:
Reading it got me thinking about the various things I've heard regarding living with disability. Most of them come from non-strangers - people I know and/or love.
"I don't know how you do it." "I'd never be able to do what you're doing." "I'm so thankful that I have a mind and body that work the way I want them to, because it would be the end of my life if they didn't." "No offense, but I'm glad I'm not you." "The prospect of becoming disabled terrifies me. I'd rather be dead than go through that experience." "I'm afraid of being near you, because I'm afraid that disability will rub off on me." "Do you ever think you'd be better off dead?"
Disability is automatically a death sentence? My life has no worth because of disability?
I am often reminded of the capacity for fear that people possess when it comes to confronting the subject of non-peak health. How we shudder ourselves into fragments merely entertaining the idea that long term illness or disability might affect us personally someday. I have a difficult time processing the ebb and flow of this topic myself, and I've had 25 years to acclimate.
As much as our health-conscious society wants us to stamp it down and shove it aside, disability or illness will almost certainly happen to you or someone you care about at some point. There is value in preparing yourself (mentally and logistically) for that fact as much as there is value in having a life insurance policy. You might not need it, but you'll be more prepared and less scared if you do.