Identifying with another disabled person — Scope | Disability forum
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Identifying with another disabled person

TatiP Community member Posts: 2 Listener
So long story short, I was diagnosed with R.A. when I was 15 years old, it's been many years now and I think I have mostly learned how to live well and cope with my hidden disability, but it wasn't always this way. Obviously having such dramatic changes to my health as a teenager left some scars, and I was particularly alarmed by how uninformed and insensitive some people were making comments to a 15 year old girl, such as "What's wrong with you!?" or "Isn't that for old people!?"
I felt these were rude, uninformed and sometimes demeaning comments and as a 15 year old, I never knew how to exactly answer them rather than just giving a straight answer and avoiding the subject any further.
Anyways.... fast forward to now, I am a 40 year-old mother of two, living happily with my husband and family, and suddenly I was having a casual chat with another mum in my son's school yard, asked her how was she and the children... she suddenly says in an air of opening up to me that "oh you wouldn't believe... now my (9 yr old) daughter suddenly has arthritis" as she rolls her eyes and seems to be in disbelief... I immediately told her "me too, had it since I was 15"... there was an awkward pause in our conversation and I tried to clear the air by making a bit of a joke, saying "yeah, you know, it's actually quite common for women to have arthritis earlier on... it's not enough that we already have to deal with periods and child birth, God also gave us one more thing to deal with"... so the kids ran out the door, and I just said, "if you want to chat or have any questions, feel free to let me know"... I didn't specify what I was talking about in front of her kids as I didn't want her daughter to know we were talking about her condition. Needless to say, I haven't heard back from this friend, not sure if she felt awkward talking to me further about her daughter's condition or if she's in denial or if she just doesn't quite know what to ask, but I felt a bit compelled to try and warn her about these sort of situations that her daughter will be facing at an even younger age than I did, and about helping her daughter cope with her condition better than I did. I don't want to be intrusive though or offer uninvited advice, so I am not sure whether to send her a message or a text about it, or just wait until maybe she reaches out one day? I feel this girl may have questions about her current and future disability that I could help with, but I don't want to go over the top or make her feel even more awkward, what should I do? Thanks for your opinion!


  • Jean Eveleigh
    Jean Eveleigh Scope Member Posts: 183 Pioneering
    I would send a text and say you're sorry if you upset her but your offer to chat was genuine and you would love to be able to use your experiences to help her and her daughter navigate the future so that her daughter has the skills and confidence to cope with the negative issues she will face as she ages and engages with people moving forward

    then leave it up to your friend to take you up or not


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