Disability/Disorder Misconception Tag

1. What is your disability and how does it affect you?

I have Fibromyalgia, Schizoaffective disorder and Depression Anxiety disorder. The Fibro makes it so I’m in pain every moment of my life and limits my ability to move around, stand up for any length of time or even sit in a chair for more than 3 or 4 hours at a time. Some days the pain is enough that I am incapacitated to a great extent.

The Schizoaffective disorder is well under control with medication, so it is no longer an issue.

The depression anxiety disorder on the other hand is managed but at random I get crushing anxiety that makes it hard to focus on even simple tasks. This happens almost exclusively at home when I am alone. I do not have bad anxiety attacks when out and about but will have little ones.

2. What is a common misconception of your disability?

For the Fibro it’s that it can be treated effectively with medication. Most of the time medication will either not work at all or only for a short time. As well people can’t see the disability, so they assume it’s not enough to make you mostly or totally disabled and it very much does.

For the S.E.D. it’s that you don’t know what is real, or that you are a violent person. Most people with this disorder are loving people just like everyone else and are no more a danger than anyone.

For the depression anxiety disorder, it’s that it’s all in your head and you can control it if you want to. Most people literally have no control over it. That being said, if I sit and listen to music and breath in a certain manner, it will shorten the length of time I have anxiety attacks. As well a lot of people see to think that if you “just get out more” somehow magically you will no longer be affected by Anxiety. Lastly for most people I know there are no rational triggers that can be avoided, yet a lot of people seem to think that if you change things in your life it will go away.

3. What misconception annoys you the most?

That people with a mental illness or mental disorder of some kind are dangerous, unintelligent or need to be cared for in a facility. Most of the time medication and life style training can manage the illnesses to an extent they can live on their own. They may or may not be able to work, but many can work as well.

For the Fibro, it’s that “this is a woman’s disease”. The fact is, that most people with Fibro are women – but men can have Fibro as well. CFS comes along with Fibro most of the time and there is a misconception with that as well being only something women can have.

For depression anxiety disorder, it’s that it’s all in your head and you can just stop thinking like that on your own. This is literally not possible. Some people can’t even be treated with medication effectively. In all cases there is nothing the person can do to make it stop altogether. That being said, you can affect the severity and frequency of attacks with changes to diet, physical activity and mental conditioning exercises.

4. Do you do anything to combat these misconceptions?

When I can I explain how these disorders are for me and how I manage them and what I can and can’t do. Often, I find people have no information at all about any of these disorders. I will often tell them where to find information that might help them understand.

5. What more do you think can be done to tackle misconceptions of your disability/disorder?

Education is the only way. Try not to get angry or frustrated and try to give people information or the ability to obtain information.


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