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The Blue Badge Stare

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CountryMimi
CountryMimi Scope Member Posts: 153 Pioneering
I'm not even sure where to put this as I think it covers a lot of areas, but I do know that it affects my mental health.

As a 33 year old who is frequently on the receiving end of 'The Blue Badge Stare', I often think that some people forget that younger people can have disabilities too! This isn't just down to being stared at with people wondering if I'm parking legally with my badge or not, but a couple of times when I've used the carts in the supermarket or I've used the complimentary / hire mobility scooters in different shopping centres, I've been laughed at which has severely impacted my mental health & how I feel about myself. Around this time last year, I had considered buying my own mobility scooter, but I'm glad I didn't because at least 2 occasions where I've been laughed at have been since that period of time and I've refused to use one since, even though I know it's going to help me.

The other day, I was parking up with my Mum in the car and the people who were in the car in front just made a point of staring until I'd got my blue badge displayed. Everything in me just feels so angry, disappointed & upset that I feel that I have to validate myself to strangers who have no idea what I've been through & am going through with my health. I'm not a confrontational person, but in that moment I wanted to ask them if they had a problem, but there is some satisfaction when they see the crutches / wheelchair and see just how much I'm struggling.

However, there are some absolutely amazing people out there who are also so supportive, who don't judge and only have the best of intentions 💖 last weekend I was in a lift with a man who was 101 years old, he was so upset for me that I'm so unwell at my age. I'd rather put my energies into the people who accept me for who I am!

I'm just wondering if any others find the prejudgements & stares difficult to deal with and how do you ignore it? I have always lacked confidence, even prior to becoming disabled. How do I let myself stop from being bothered by it?

Comments

  • JessieJ
    JessieJ Community member Posts: 516 Pioneering
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    Yes, people can be very judgemental & it's normally older people. Of which I'm one now, but for over 30years I've put up with it, I've learnt to not let their ignorance get to me. Best to ignore & get on with your life & certainly don't let it stop you getting a powerchair or scooter. It is their problem, not yours.

    As for those decent folk, thankfully, they far outway the ignoramuses.
  • CountryMimi
    CountryMimi Scope Member Posts: 153 Pioneering
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    Thank you @JessieJ 💖 I'm not even 2 years in yet, so maybe I just haven't had time to build up that resilience yet.

    You're right! I'd feel more comfortable in a powerchair I think, but from a physical aspect too.

    My Mum just tells me it's cause they probably think it's unusual to see someone so young in my condition, but people need to get used to the idea that disability does not discriminate

  • 66Mustang
    66Mustang Community member Posts: 14,050 Disability Gamechanger
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    @CountryMimi I love your words about preferring to put energy into positive people!!! That's been my attitude for as long as I can remember but I've never been able to vocalise my thoughts about it - I'm going to steal that if it's OK :blush:

    My Dad used to work with someone who had a motorbike accident and was awarded a lot of compensation so he bought himself a Porsche as a kind of "feel better" present to himself. He used to enjoy parking in disabled spaces and seeing people stare at him thinking he was some kind of arrogant/entitled person, only for them to go red-faced after they saw him limp to the boot and get his wheelchair out!
  • CountryMimi
    CountryMimi Scope Member Posts: 153 Pioneering
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    @66mustang absolutely go for it! 😃

    Oh gosh! Glad to hear he treat himself! It's awful isn't it! Honestly, the least people could do is keep their thoughts / stares to themselves! I've even had it from people who have parked in disabled spaces without badges (whether they've just not displayed them just with not sitting there or not, I'm not sure) and then they've got the cheek to give me the stare 🙄

    I'm just sick of feeling like I need to validate myself!
  • JessieJ
    JessieJ Community member Posts: 516 Pioneering
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    Sadly, @CountryMimi, we have to grow thicker skin, appalling as that is, it's what's needed, we are as valid as anybody else, so head up & look them sternly back in the eye or just roll them & move on by.

    I had a scooter first off, but I needed more support, comfort & the uprightness of a chair. Go try a few before making any move to get one, as they can be surprising different, as well as pricey.
  • CountryMimi
    CountryMimi Scope Member Posts: 153 Pioneering
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    It's such a shame that people can't just accept us for who we are. I was talking to someone who's the same age as me the other day and she experiences the same thing

    Yeah, I've got a wheelchair, but it's difficult, particularly on my worse days, so I'm thinking either save for an attachment or get a power chair. They are so expensive aren't they!
  • JessieJ
    JessieJ Community member Posts: 516 Pioneering
    edited April 24
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    It is a shame & a pain, @CountryMimi, but thankfully, decent people outweigh the ignorant.

    That's the problem, wheelchairs are not cheap, but then, most disability things are expensive.

    I bought a 'made to measure' 30+ years ago, expensive but worth every penny. I still use the manual wheelchair part, sadly & annoyingly, the pop on motor got lost in a move 3yrs ago & they don't do them anymore. I have now got a secondhand powerchair that was cheap at £250, it is my independence. But, because of problems with the lift in my apartment block & storage of the biggie, I've had to buy a lightweight folding powerchair, it is great as it fits in my shed & a car, but not so great to use, but it gets me out & to where my big chair is being stored if I want to go further afield.

    My advice, go to some disability shops with showrooms so that you can try a few, once you know your needs & type you prefer, look online for secondhand.
  • CountryMimi
    CountryMimi Scope Member Posts: 153 Pioneering
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    @JessieJ they definitely do 💖

    They really are so expensive, there doesn't seem to be a massive in-between either does there in terms of budget & premium range

    Oh wow, that's the thing, if you're going to invest in something so expensive, it really needs to last a life time. I'm so sorry that it ended up getting lost and isn't replaceable 😔. Yes, that's the other problem - I think I'd manage to get something in the house my mum and I are currently living in, but the house my mum was in previously, absolutely no chance as there were steps up to the property.

    I am so pleased you've found some solution though, albeit not the best!

    Yes, we have been to a few showrooms. Kinda funny though, went to a place the other day to hire a scooter for holiday and the man refused based on the fact I don't own one (which if I owned one, unless it was broken I wouldn't need to hire one), but turns out he's very picky about who he hires out scooters to and sells them to and my auntie had a massive issue with him when he sold a scooter to her for my cousin knowing that she wouldn't be able to lift it. I should have checked his Google reviews before going in 😂
  • Steve_in_The_City
    Steve_in_The_City Scope Member Posts: 572 Pioneering
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    @CountryMimi Hi! You don't have to validate or explain yourself to anyone except  to yourself, and if you feel you need a scooter or powerchair then that is fine. Don't worry about people laughing or staring and don't feel self-conscious. People who laugh or stare at the disabled are beyond contempt and you really don't need to let them impact you. Most able bodied people are kind and try to help as much as they can. It is true I was older than yourself when I needed a mobility scooter (I was 50). However I am shy and withdrawn  (no-one knows because I  put on a confident act to the world) but I didn't hesitate to get a scooter so I could get out and about; it was either that or lock myself away at home. Just recently I bought a powerchair as that will help me get on trains and go to the disabled bay for wheelchair users at the cinema and theatre. To be honest I have never had anyone staring or laughing at me because I am disabled. People speak to me very nicely and I get lots of smiles and lots of help. So be upfront: Get a scooter or powerchair and go where you will.
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