'Don't call me an inspiration': Disabled people list the most annoying things able-bodied people do to try and help

'My strength and courage comes from what I do, not what I am'

Christopher Hooton
Friday 24 April 2015 10:48

If you've spent at least two seconds on the internet, the chances are you've seen a video or news story about a 'totally inspiring' disabled person going about their day without complaining about their anatomical or cerebral disadvantage in life.

Unsurprisingly, this is viewed as pretty irksome and patronising by a lot of disabled people.

An AskReddit this week wanted to know all the things that people do to try and help but that are actually very unhelpful, and disabled people responded in droves.

"Don't call me an inspiration. Be your own damn inspiration," one user wrote, to over 4000 upvotes.

"Or how brave or strong I am," another added. "I'm pretty sure I didn't say 'Hey, universe, make me handicapped.' There's nothing brave or strong about it. I exist. My strength and courage comes from what I do. Not what I am."

A real story on Today.com

A commenter later expanded on this: "Totally. I think my personal style, chosen career and other things I take pride in make me much more of a badass than modifications in how I go about getting those things accomplished. And some days, that's not even enough and I get pissy for a minute and try and move forward."

The whole 'inspiration' thing was far and away the most cited annoyance, though others found it frustrating to be immediately labelled brave when they are flawed individuals too.

"If anything, I haven't been brave. Just careless for being in a place that I really shouldn't have been at the time," said one user who suffers from seizures and was recently badly injured after falling down some stairs.

The thread is well worth a read, with other frustrations including accusations of people in wheelchairs "faking it" just because they occasionally do stand up to reach things, and people saying things like "I can't even imagine, I wouldn't be able to go on", as though their experience of pain is more profound.


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