Ableism and Chronic Illness Part 1

         Illness is not taboo, or is it? Ableism is something within society that procures misrepresented ideological views of the disabled and the sick. Ableism is discrimination against people who are disabled. The world is set up for people who are non-disabled; this is a fact. Before I get into the details of my video, I want to share a little bit of something that happened to me when I was in a wheelchair once.
         As someone who sometimes needs a wheelchair, I need someone to push me around. Something I have noticed while I am in wheelchairs people never make eye contact with me; they always talk to the person that is pushing my wheelchair will call the person pushing the wheelchair at handler so they won’t view me they won’t connect with me or get down to my level. If they do talk to me, they speak to me like I have a developmental disability. The ableist mentality comes in because people correlate a wheelchair with someone lesser than, so then they talk down to them. Assuming someone is mentally incapable of having a conversation because they are in a wheelchair, it is ableist.
         I’ve been talked to like I’m a child. I have been ignored to the point where they’re asking my handler everything; they want to know about me because, according to them, the person who does not know me can get the information out of my handler. After all, why would they even talk to me? Ableism is garbage, it’s toxic, and I’m sick and tired of it being propelled forward in society and stink stereotypical views of people portrayed in the media.
         My lifelong dream was to be a doctor. I am a patient. And I have had to research excellent links to facilitate my care—the lack of funding awareness and overall understanding of what I live with. More often than not, I have been met with doctors who have told me my diseases do not exist. Just because something is rare doesn’t mean it is a myth. Seeing is not believing; this mentality is problematic as rare diseases are not always seen on the outside of a person’s body. We may not see what is making someone sick; this doesn’t mean they are lying. Invisible diseases are not seen, and the reality of not believing is damaging to patients who are battling an illness; isolation can be traumatic when fighting for your life.
         There are over 6000 rare diseases globally, and millions of people suffer from rare diseases, and millions of people are not heard. I cannot tell you the isolation and the frustration that comes along with being rare. People around me have told me they have not heard of what I have; therefore, it does not exist. This is a false way of thinking; it is inappropriate; it creates isolation, creating fear and misunderstanding. There needs to be understanding. Awareness is where things start. Start small start building now for a better future.
         I have nearly 13 years of research that I’ve done myself about my conditions and try to get you to see the other side of reality, which is the world of the chronically sick. A world that is viewed as lesser than, that is considered to be more inferior in value. And I’m here today to tell you I have value, and I am a university student, I am an activist, I am an advocate for people with disabilities, and I believe in changing the toxic narrative of ableism. I will continue to do what I can to show people that I am still a person regardless if you can see my face or not with the mask I have on. I have feelings; I have emotions; I have dreams I have once.
         I want to be successful like everybody else. Just because I am sick does not mean that I am lesser than it does not mean I have less to offer; if anything, I have a different perspective to bring to the artistic table—one to show you that just being sick isn’t all there is. Yes, I am showing you a video of myself receiving IV hydration at home, but my words are actual, and I’m doing this voice-over on a good day. Some people see one or the other as an example when I go to school and when I was able to go to the building itself, I wasn’t looking like this because I was having a good day is and I wasn’t severely dehydrated like I am now.
         Ableism is something we all face when we live with chronic health issues; being treated differently and discriminated against comes with being sick. The overtones of ableism may not be evident at; first, it is essential to notice the ableism within society and address it. Being ill or disabled does not mean you are lesser than; this thought pattern is inherently ableist. Remember, you are a vital part of society because there is only one of you. No matter what the ableist society tells you, you have worth; you matter; you are a human and deserve to be treated as such.

Published by Ari Villain

Artist and writer. Living with chronic illness and writing about it. I have survived two cancers, I live with hyperadrenergic postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, ehlers-danlos syndrome, mast cell activation syndrome, jaundice, esophagus dysmotility, Chilblains, Raynaud's, migraines, asthma, and more. I have mental health problems which I am not ashamed of, I have CPTSD, anxiety, and depression. My medical history is extensive, but I will continue moving forward. I have hope to help others not feel isolated alone, and forgotten by an ableist society.

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