Ableism: Can You Choose Your Disability?

Throwback to June 2022

I’m not sure whether I’m surprised, or not, that some people believe that we can choose which disability we have or choose to have one at all. Though, it is entirely common that when we show ourselves having a disability, we’re usually met with disgust or pity.

Mesha, also known as Mr Colitis Crohns, has Crohn’s disease. For him, this means he has a stoma.

For those who don’t know, a stoma is an opening in the abdomen with a bag attached to collect urine or faeces.

Crohn’s is considered a chronic illness under the Equality Act in the UK, though isn’t considered a disability by the government (because the UK government is stuck in the 1800s).

In this TikTok, Mesha addresses a user who suggests to get rid of his disease. Given that, she might be referring to his stoma. But, she’s repeatedly directing comments toward the disease.

Addressing this, Mesha comments that it’s obvious she’s uneducated. “It’s not something that I choose to have, we’re not in control of our health”.

As Mesha says, we can’t win ’em all. And sadly, that’s more true than you can imagine.

It’s not just the general public that is known for commenting on things like this, either. Even medical professionals are known for remarking on patients’ disabilities. If you’ve ever asked a medical professional for help with Depression or Anxiety – you know what I mean.

Have you tried mindfulness?

When I last attended the hospital for an appointment with a doctor, my doctor was happy I was using a wheelchair while out and about to help reduce my pain, enable me to enjoy my life, and keep me safe from injuring myself during drop attacks/seizures.

With that being said, another medical professional recently suggested I shouldn’t be in my wheelchair. According to her, going on a jog would resolve my chronic pain, and completely ignored the fact I’ve collapsed in the middle of roads while crossing before.

We cannot choose what we have to deal with. We can’t choose whether to be in pain, or whether to have seizures. We can’t choose whether or not we need a stoma, or if we need anti-depressants.

Although we can try our best to improve our health and do what is best for our diseases, disorders, and disabilities – it is impossible to choose what we deal with.

So, I’ll continue using my wheelchair when I need it; or using my walking stick when I need support but feel good enough to walk. I’ll continue using the medication that I’ve had prescribed to help me with my symptoms, and I will continue living my life to the fullest that I can with the situation I have.



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