It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Fun*Run Time

It's ALREADY that time of year again: The ADAPT Fun*Run for Disability Rights is April 22nd 2012. Maryland's fundraising goal is $8,000 this year. Yes, that's right, $8,000

Donate $1! Donate $10! Donate $100! Donate $1,000! JUST DONATE so we can FREE OUR PEOPLE! I thank you very much for your support!

Monday, July 7, 2008

My Blog is Group Therapy

Your Blog Can Be Group Therapy

I got to this article randomly last night through a combination of allpost & the Disability Blog Carnival --which I am hosting right here in just over a month. Topic chosen, but under lock and key... Thought I would torture people with that tease of a shameless plug. You know 6 degrees of separation? This article took exactly 6 clicks to get to. It's from May. Here are some excerpts:

"A 2005 survey by Digital Marketing Services for a found nearly half of the 600 people polled derived therapeutic benefits from personal blogging...

"Writing long has been considered a therapeutic outlet for people facing problems... But it's the public nature of blogs that creates the sense of support. Reading someone else's blog can be surprisingly beneficial, says blogger Margaret Mason... 'Blogging can create an instant support system, especially at a time when you might not have the energy or resources to seek out people who've shared your experiences...'

"John Suler, a psychology professor at Rider University in New Jersey, [says] 'going public with one's thoughts and experiences can be a self-affirming process.' He and other experts say blogging shouldn't replace face-to-face counseling -- although it can complement sessions when a patient shares their writing with the therapist... 'It's a form of group therapy,' says Leah [a social worker and writer of]. 'Not only can you express your feelings, but you can get comments, and that creates a dialogue.'"

My Blog is Group Therapy. Is Yours?

I wasn't intending to go out and find this article. In fact I wasn't intending to go out and find anything. It just so happens that I stumbled across a gem in only 6 clicks. It says what I can't always say to people--the people who think someone is going to come after me with an axe, or the people who read this on facebook and find a big problem with the fact that I focus on only one subject. To those people I want to say, HELLO!!!! This blog is hosted on . What else is it going to be about? If I had intended to cover a wider scope, I would have hosted on blogger, typepad, or wordpress.

Those people, and other people I know in real life who do not read this blog, have some huge problem with the fact that over the last year and a half, more and more of my focus has been on disability. Well, to give a very simple answer to their seemingly simple, but actually very complex question of why, because I'm 23, THAT'S WHY.

They think my focus is on disability because I seem to have this need to draw attention to my differences and use them to my advantage. Correct me if you're reading this and I've got you wrong. Truth is, the more I immerse myself in disability, the more I DON'T want to do that anymore.

Really, seriously, this is all just simply because I am 23. Aren't co-eds supposed to be liberal go-getter tree-huggers who go attacking companies for using animal testing, or take a strong stand (either liberal or conservative) on the war, abortion, or gun control, or a plethora or other hot button topics? I've only gotten so deep into disability to fulfill my natural duty as a red-blooded 23 y.o. American co-ed. I don't have any ulterior motive. Unless having a strong need to educate Timmy & Jimmy Southparkpeople, help people live more independently, etc is an ulterior motive that is. Look,



[picture description: Timmy & Jimmy, from the Krazy Kripples episode of Southpark]

It was roughly a year ago that I stumbled across BADD 2007 in trying to research ableism. And then I forgot about it and found it again in Sept. And I hermited (is that a word?) myself in my room for 3 or 4 days and just read blogs, mostly BADD postings, under the guise of 'I have to. There might be something good in here for the workshop.' At some point I came across DBC and read some of those too. And I liked what I read.

It didn't take long for me to realize that I needed the disability blogsphere to play a part in my life. Partially because I can only stand to hear so much worry from people who think the focus of my life is misguided. Mostly because I haven't found a single disability blogger who is in the closet. If you're "disaphobic" you won't be hanging with us cool gimps (or our allies, I'm cool with anyone who's cool with us).

DISABLED & PROUDAfter spending my early years trying unsuccessfully to pass, my tween years feeling dejected because there is just no way a spaz (even a mostly walking spaz) can ever pass, and my teen years just lost (because if I couldn't pass, now what?) it was nice to come across people who seemed to have a very solid sense of who they are. And who they are is a crip. If you can't hide it, embrace it. I'm not saying that being a crip is all roses, you all know that, but it is rather freeing to be comfortable in your own skin (or at least start to be). The more I blog the more I seem to be OK with who I am. Because you all seem to be OK with who you are.

[picture description: DISABLED & PROUD]

People are still going to find it hard to understand how I could feel a close commoradery with a bunch of people I'll likely never meet. I'm not sure I could ever really explain that to someone. For those of you reading through facebook or a random google search, maybe this will help. When anyone finally becomes out and proud, or starts on that journey to become so, there is just this innate magnetic attraction towards others like you. Especially when you've always been different. When we can crack jokes about wheelchairs and artificial limbs, we're finally on the inside instead of off on the side just watching-- watching all the other kids play soccer or learn to drive or get to "second base." It always feels nice to be part of the incrowd.

With disability, this is harder to achieve because we are still being encouraged to pass as much as possible, even by people who are well-meaning and seem to "get it". We're also still being denied the right to claim ourselves as a minority and a culture. So there are just less of us who are out. Personally, I prefer the uppity intellectual crip, so that limits connections even further for me. The club is even smaller.

So then, well, I don't drive, for example. Fictitious person John, a quadriplegic, who does drive, can't get into fictitious person Suzie's house (say she has aspergers) because there are stairs to the front door. But if I could only get to Suzie's house, I could get in, because those stairs have a railing. OY!!!

Barrier Removal TeamBlogging just works for us uppity intellectual crips. Blogging works for me. Blogging is 100% barrier free. Bloggers need not be able to walk, talk, hear (it's 99% text, except for stupid embedded, uncaptioned youtube videos), type (voice recognition software), or even see the screen (that's what screen readers are for).

[picture description: stairs with a red circle/slash and the words barrier removal team]

"Blogging can create an instant support system, especially at a time when you might not have the energy or resources to seek out people who've shared your experiences." To Margaret Mason: YOU GO GIRL!!! The woman summed up this whole long post in one sentence.


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