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When “The Done Thing” might be ableism

Ableism ~ discrimination or prejudice against people who have disabilities

I’ve thought long and hard about saying this and I think it’s necessary. This is not aimed at anyone in particular, instead it has grown from a combination of comments and actions and general thinking over a few years.

Lots of people think talking to someone face-to-face about something is the proper thing to do. The second best way is a phone call. Anything else is rude, unacceptable, lame, thoughtless, yadayadayada. I’m not saying everyone judges others who don’t do this – many people just assume it is the acceptable behaviour and so that’s how they function but many people do judge. They may not realise they are doing it until they hear themselves criticise someone not following The Order of Communicating Properly.

From what I can gather the next best way is to leave a message to say that you want to talk to someone. Or leave news or discussion with your actual voice. After this texts are allowed. Personal messages on social media are a last ditch emergency allowance.

Posting stuff on social media is often seen as inappropriate. It’s also rather cruelly called “overshare”.

But what you may not have thought about is that this is what is called “ableist”.

Many people with anxiety, many autistic people, or people with speech and language problems say what they need to say far more coherently and confidently and have an equal standing in a conversation if they can type words.

Many of us panic in stressful situations and in situations where we are being eyeballed (even in a sympathetic way). Being forced to function in ways that are not comfortable gives an unequal standing and means the person with the difficulty is diminished and their rights to equality stamped on.

Can we please get over this idea that sharing stuff on social media is wrong (unless it’s about another person without their permission); that communicating in the most comfortable way possible is somehow not understanding social etiquette.

It’s actually discrimination.

Anxiety Acceptance: this is me

Anxiety makes me skip meals and eat nothing for hours then eat popcorn and chocolate for hours and anything else that will boost my blood sugar. It makes me not sleep when I should sleep and feel I must sleep when I should not sleep.
It makes my heart beat like tom-toms in my chest and my ears. It makes me bite down all my fingernails. It makes me chatter through films and give up on every book I try to read. It makes me forgetful, unable to listen, unable to sit still, unable to find strength. It makes me ache, it makes me fat. It makes my face puffy and round. Anxiety stops me sticking to any task. Anxiety steals hours and whole days. Anxiety paralyses and panics so that I am both at once ready to run yet powerless to; desperate for action yet trapped in inertia. Anxiety rips up plans, disturbs peace. Anxiety stores fat on my belly yet tells me I’ve no time to exercise. It shouts at me through every thing I try to do for myself that I’m being selfish. Anxiety has a list of things I should be doing instead and where I’m going wrong, yet when I start that list it bombards me with so much other information that I lose my way. I lose minutes, hours, days, circling.

Anxiety butts me in the belly like an angry goat and sends shockwaves down the nerves of my arms like a jackhammer until I lose fine motor skills and fizz and tremble with weakness. It makes me drop things, injure myself and wonder at my own capabilities.

Anxiety makes me startle at every noise and it makes me terrified of the unexpected. It copes badly with potential conflict and gears itself for harm too easily.

Anxiety makes it almost impossible to cope with 2 different sources of sensory information and often others’ “ordinary” is my “Way too much!”

I was born this way. It’s all I know.

My motto is Always expect the unexpected.

Anxiety has taught me that absolutely nothing comes easily, that life is full of surprises, twists and turns; to be ready for anything, to seize every possible moment to enjoy normality and peace. Anxiety has taught me that the distractions of nature and the ocean are life’s greatest blessings, that a hug can heal, that a touch can calm, that a kind word can bring good tears; that simple is beautiful. That love is healing. Anxiety has given me no need for thrills and spills and adrenaline rushes (they keep on coming anyway) and instead has given me an instinct to be uncomplicated, non-competitive, a carer and a soother. A peace-seeker.

Anxiety makes me a super quick-thinker, an urgent problem-solver, an impatient completer.

Anxiety makes me exquisitely delighted when I find release and distraction from the worries of daily life. Small thrills are huge to me. The little stuff is truly wonderful.

Anxiety makes me spot things no one else has spotted. My on alert is highly useful, and my quickfixer mentality won’t rest until all avenues are explored. I literally and metaphorically sniff things out.

Anxiety is not me but it is a constant companion; a part of me. If I acknowledge it and let it play and make provision for it in my life instead of fighting it we live in a kind of harmony together. If I try to pretend it doesn’t exist and try to beat it and ignore it and override it then I lose the part of me that notices stuff and that finds peace from acceptance and instead it works underground to destroy my health.

I’m not beating it, I’m living with it. Acceptance is everything.

This is me.

It’s not all good. But it’s not so bad either.

I can’t hate anxiety anymore because it would be like hating myself.

How futile would that be?

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