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!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

11 Sentences on Illness vs Disability

My uncle, a practicing psychologist, and I were emailing about mental health stigma a few weeks ago. The conversation has been interesting, to me at least. Here is part of our conversation, which is more of my same argument (at least along those same lines) although much less of a rant and more of a thoughtful reflection.

Most people I hang with like the term mental illness, but I HATE IT! To me, if you are sick you take medication and it not only gets better, it goes away entirely. I prefer to think of it as a chronic condition because it will always be there. I have psyc "issues" for lack of a better term, or a psychiatric disability. I even use the term dual diagnosis sometimes which really throws people off. No, I'm not an alcoholic, but I have 2 very different kinds of disabilities that both impact each other greatly. They don't exist independently, are not mutually exclusive.

I have found though that most people who have a psyc diagnosis are scared of being labeled as "disabled" because having a disability is something bad, something that makes you less than. An illness however is something that everyone has had, something everyone knows. It can be equated with the flu, and catching the flu doesn't make you less than someone else or a bad
person. I think illness is a more comfortable term for people b/c it's familiar, and I guess disability is what has always been familiar to me.


The Goldfish said...

In the UK, a phrase commonly used is "mental ill health". So for example, you might describe yourself as a "person with mental ill health". The idea is that "ill health" is both less stigmatising and more accurate, in the long term, than illness - since during a remission, you might not be ill at all, but you're health isn't 100%, you still might need to take tablets, attend therapy and make provision to avoid relapse (or whatever).

But of course this is very much in keeping with the social model of disability where we wouldn't refer to conditions or impairments as disabilities. You are disabled because of your experiences when you interact with the world, not because of the nature or duration of a medical condition, injury or impairment.

The Goldfish said...

P.S. I meant to say, according to this model - I don't mean to tell you how you should understand things! Just explain the way that we tend to do over here.

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