Disability is a state wherein the individual cannot perform their daily tasks without any barriers. These barriers can be many, health barriers, mental barriers, environmental barriers or social barriers. For example, someone who can’t walk, might have to face certain barriers in life like, sedentary lifestyle issues (health), thoughts of not being capable enough (mental), stairs to climb (environmental) or people looking down upon them and pitying them (social).
These difficulties that an individual who is disabled faces, has a lot of impact on one’s mental health and wellbeing. Though the labels are changing from disabled to differently abled, for society to come to terms with it will take some time.
What are the impacts that a disabled person can experience on their mental health and wellbeing because of their disability? There is a major STIGMA associated:
Stigmatization is a very common thing that people with disabilities face as there is a lot of stigma associated with disability. People are outrightly termed incapable of doing things that according to the society is ‘normal’ i.e follows societal norms. People start questioning their abilities because someone said that they are disabled while not considering the different things they are better off at. Blind people have a higher sensitivity to their senses than ‘normal’ people.
Teaches negativity to people. Often people start questioning their own potential, “Am I good enough? Will I be able to do this? No, I can’t do this. It is not in my capacity. I am Disabled.” These negative beliefs are learned through the statements thrown at people with disabilities.
Inequality is one of the most daunting impacts that one experiences. People with disabilities have to face a lot of inequalities in their lives. They don’t get equal pay, respect and status in society as they might have, had they not been disabled. They are often subjected to a ‘separate line for disabled’ in all walks of life.
Grudges and guilt are very common in people with disabilities because of all that they hear on a daily basis. They feel guilty about being disabled, they hold grudges against their own Selves. They curse themselves for being the way they are and because society is not very much accepting towards them, they themselves are not very accepting towards them.
Mindset of people with disabilities towards themselves can be severely impacted with how they perceive their disability and themselves with that disability. It limits a lot of functionalities of an individual, more so if the disability happened after some incident. People are constantly comparing their present functioning level with their previous optimum functioning level.
Attitude sees a big hit in people with disabilities because they are losing hope with every single day because they are seeing others perform the exact same function they are trying to but because their disability is hindering it, they can’t. These people can develop a very defeatist attitude based on how they perceive their disability.
This STIGMA does not reflect on the person with disability but on those who look at it from that STIGMAtized perspective. We need to look at a person as to who they are and not how they are built, we are humans, not robots.
Like Robert Hensel would say, “There is no greater disability in society, than the inability to see a person as more”.
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