I have often wondered about the different communities we find ourselves in and wonder how we all survive. What I have realised is we all have a thing.
Now for the purposes of this conversation I call communities based around gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, ethnic background. Each of these communities exist for each characteristic. I do not mean community as in where you live.
For a long time I used to think that the disability community did not have a thing. The thing is the one thing that you can say but people who do not belong to your community can’t because they don’t understand it.
I started buddying up with a disabled colleague who was having a hard time at work. We try and catch up once a week to see how the other is doing and make sure that the world has not exploded. Today she was telling me about an awful screw up her doctors had made with her medication. I couldn’t help but laugh because I had been in a similar situation with a dodgy GP previously.
As I usually do because of being autistic I said “sorry I should not of laughed”. Mainly because I was not sure whether it was acceptable. I get nervous, even with friends, whether I am doing or saying the wrong thing. Now that I know I deal with Autism, I know understand why I struggle but doesn’t make it easier now that I do not have a support worker guiding me through these things.
Anyway she turned round and said, “If someone without disabilities had laughed I would have told them off, but I bet you know where I am coming from”. I explained that I did and told her what had happened to me and we giggled for about 10 minutes about the whole thing.
It did get me thinking however, this is something that the disabled community has as our thing. We can laugh at, or make jokes about our conditions whether its something like dyslexia or fibromyalgia. We can laugh at it but those who do not have it, they cant because they don’t know what it is like to deal with these condition.
However, I ask, has it become too taboo that we can’t make fun of ourselves to make us laugh?
I deal with mental health issues, when I have a bad day or when I see someone is uncomfortable about talking to me about it I make a joke about it. I tend to do this a lot. I get called crazy a lot (mostly from when I am having over stimulated moments I tend to go a bit Cray Cray) but to make someone feel at ease I say “I am not crazy, I am depressed. I don’t take anti-crazy pills I take anti-depressants.” This tends to get the conversation started. I even know the official medical diagnosis of depression so I can give as many facts as I can to people.
However, for every person who becomes comfortable talking about mental health from talking to me in the way I do, you have at least 1 out of every 10 conversations where I am told “You should not laugh at your mental health, it is serious”. I tend to think that these people either have not had to deal with mental health or if they do then they subscribe to the “mental health is a shameful topic” theory.
Has the world become so PC that we can’t talk about things that affect us how we want?
If anyone struggles with disability either theirs of a friend and needs some tips on how to broach the subject please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org The email at the top of the page does not work so use the one here.