I just want to share part of a poem I found the other day. It is by Elaine Popovich and was on a site dealing with language and the disabled. I think more of the other person’s book dealt with political correctness and such, but that’s not what struck me about this poem. It is about how the words change depending on who you are talking about and what you know about them. well just read this part first.
You and I
By Elaine Popovich
I am a resident. You reside.
I am admitted. You move in.
I am aggressive. You are assertive.
I have behavior problems. You are rude.
I am noncompliant. You don’t like being told what to do.
When I ask you out for dinner, it is an outing. When you ask someone out, it is a date.
I made mistakes during my check-writing program. Some day I might get a bank account. You forgot to record some withdrawals from your account. The bank called to remind you.
I wanted to talk with the nice-looking person behind us at the grocery store. I was told that it is inappropriate to talk to strangers. You met your spouse in the produce department. Neither of you could find the bean sprouts.
I celebrated my birthday yesterday with five other residents and two staff members. I hope my family sends a card. Your family threw you a surprise party. Your brother couldn’t make it from out of state. It sounded wonderful!
My case manager sends a report every month to my guardian. It says everything I did wrong and some things I did right. You are still mad at your sister for calling your Mom after you got that speeding ticket.
I am learning household skills. You hate housework.
I am learning leisure skills. Your shirt says you are a “Couch Potato.”
After I do my budget program tonight, I might get to go to McDonald’s if I have enough money. You were glad that the new French restaurant took your charge card.
My case manager, psychologist, R. N., occupational and physical therapist, nutritionist and house staff set goals for me for the next year. You haven’t decided what you want out of life.
Someday I will be discharged . . . maybe. You will move onward and upward.
Now what gets me is that if the first person had never been diagnosed and sent for treatment, then the words ascribed to the second person, would be also used to describe her. I know you might think but wait, she must have been really sick or messed up in the first place, but that’s not necessarily so.
Consider 2 points. Some of you will remember the presidential race when Tom Eagleton of Missouri was Mc Govern’s running mate for a time. Now I am not going to get into a debate over who was better or any of that stuff, but if you can remember , when Eagleton admitted to having been treated for depression, he was suddenly totally unfit and was dropped from the ticket. So we were worse off with some one treated rather than someone who wouldn’t seek treatment?
Case 2. Two couples go over seas to adopt. The first couple admits to being recovering alcoholics and sober for 12 years. They are rejected as prospective parents. Couple #2 has never undergone treatment for alcoholism, but regularly get toasted with the family all of whom regularly get toasted, if you get my drift. They just don’t mention it, and come home with a baby. So in this case, Couple #2 would come home and have a celebration and get loaded while couple #1 would “fall off the wagon”
How many times can someone with any disability or mental condition have a “normal” reaction to everyday life, and the so called “normal” people use “sick” terms to describe it.
Am I just angry, or am I manic. Am I frustrated or am I “having a meltdown”
Where is that line. and who gets to draw it
Oooh I hate it when I get this serious this early in the morning. Time for my coco puffs