When you are disabled or chronically ill people will give you advice all the time! Sometimes it’s good advice that you may want to take and sometimes it is absolutely terrible advice that I would highly suggest that you don’t take. Some people just want to help but they don’t realize they are not helping! Telling a disabled person how they can be cured when their disability has no cure is not helpful and disabled don’t find it helpful but actually find it annoying. Over the years I have been given many pieces of advice some good some bad and today I am going to share with some of the terrible advice I have been given that I am glad I did not take.
Ignore the pain-Sometimes when you tell someone that you have chronic migraines they don’t really understand what that means. Most people think that migraines are just a bad headache and that it can be treated with Tylenol but what they don’t understand is that Tylenol doesn’t touch migraines. If you have occasional pain it is probably nothing serious and okay to ignore but if you have more frequent pain and have Hydrocephalus you might want to get it checked out. When I started having migraines I had someone tell me they heard migraines weren’t even real and that my migraines were probably because I was under stress. (If migraines weren’t real then there wouldn’t be medication for it) It’s a good thing that I didn’t listen because it turns out that my shunt tubing broke off and it needed to be repaired and ignoring a problem like this could have easily turned to something really serious like a coma or possibly death! You should never ignore the pain and wait until it gets unbearable before you get it checked because by that point it may have reached a level where there isn’t much you can do about it.
Study harder and you’ll get a degree– When I was going to school I had some people tell me that if I studied harder I’d be successful. Not true! If you could only see how much I studied you might not be saying that because I studied more than most people will and went to tutoring but still couldn’t get passing grades. The reason I struggled was not because of lack of trying but because the material was too difficult for me to learn in the allotted time I was given and every tutor I went to didn’t know how to teach people with learning disabilities. If I would have taken this advice and been in the mindset that the problem was my study habits, I would have been in so much debt from failing classes only to find out that my goal was not achievable.
Try new things and your anxiety will disappear- When you are disabled and struggling to find employment going to an employment agency can be really helpful in finding opportunities but job coaches don’t always know what you need. Sometimes if you have something like anxiety it can be difficult to explain to your job coach why you can’t work certain jobs because of your anxiety. Sometimes they may say something like once you start working you will get used to it and your anxiety will disappear. No that’s actually not true and although they may mean well I will never get used to it and if you place me in the wrong job my anxiety will only worsen. When I worked at the chiropractor’s office and had to be on the phone all day I had so much anxiety that I was in tears by the end of the day and no matter how many times I did that job it never got any easier. Working any job will give anxiety and I am not looking for a position that won’t give me any because I know that is not possible. What I do need is something that is manageable because no matter how many times you tell me it will go away with time it won’t!
You have to work full-time- Whenever I tell people I am only looking for a part-time job the first thing that most people think to say is “you can’t live off of a part-time job you’ll never move out because you won’t be able to support yourself” and maybe that’s true but I don’t really have a choice. There are two reasons why I can’t work a full-time job: one is because I can’t or I will lose all my benefits and the other is because I don’t think I would have the physical energy to do so. Some days my chronic pain gets so intense that it takes me three hours to get out of bed and the thought of having to be somewhere terrifies me. Let me paint a picture for you when I did my last job training there were days I had such high pain levels that I had to listen to music to distract me. Most days I barely made to the end of my shift so could you imagine if I had a full-time job? It would be a complete disaster and I would last a week maybe two before my pain got to be too much that I couldn’t handle it.
Increase exercise intensity and you’ll feel better- Sometimes when I tell people I have chronic pain the first piece of advice they can think of to give me is to increase your exercise intensity and you will feel better. This absolutely horrible advice and if I did any more physical activity I would actually feel worse, not better! Physical activity already makes me feel horrible sometimes and now your telling me that I should increase my exercise intensity? Absolutely not! I have to stick very low-intensity routines to keep my pain within normal range and if I did any more physical activity I would cause a pain flare. Physical activity is not the ultimate cure for chronic pain and for some it is not even an option.
When you are disabled people will give you more advice than you know what to do with. Sometimes you will get good advice that can make your life easier other times you will get absolutely horrible advice. Some people may give advice suggesting on hoe you can be cured even if that’s impossible because your disability has no cure it is still polite to listen. You don’t have to take their advice but what you can do when someone gives you bad advice is politely explain to them why their idea was not very good. It helps them understand your condition a little bit better and may give you better advice in the future. Have you ever been given bad advice? What type of advice were you given?