Living with a disability certainly places limits on what you can and cannot do, these limits however are usually placed by a person without a disability and despite best efforts, sometimes you find yourself fighting a losing battle. Sometimes their ideas, their boxes, their definitions and their social norms are what limits our lives – because they won’t listen.
It isn’t a secret, I’m severely hard of hearing and have epilepsy. Two things which on their own don’t cause much concern, but put them together and people worry beyond belief!
One of the places I’ve recently had problems in is my gym.
I workout for the standard reasons, I want to lose weight etc., however I also go to work off life’s stresses; I go because I know I can be by myself, despite being in a room full of people; I go because I can push my limits beyond what even I thought I could.
I get it! When I have a seizure, it is scary. I understand that. I also get that, while I’m coming around, I seem confused (because I usually am) and, at times, revert to sign language to talk – it must appear so alien to someone who has never seen it happen before. The thing I don’t like is investing a lot of my time talking to people, telling them what usually happens, how to deal with it and when to call ambulances/give basic first aid (and for our plan to be agreed) for it to be simply ignored when it happens.
I entailed this post “The Gym” as I’ve recently had two experiences at my gym where, due to a lack of understanding/following agreed plans, I’ve been put in danger whilst I’ve been unconscious/recovering and I’ve had my privacy breached. I have been forced to move gyms due to my original gym management not understanding my concerns and simply being dismissed – and although my new gym, already, hasn’t been plain sailing – the manager is willing to listen, something that is very refreshing and much needed.
This could be translated into any part of living with a disability from work to going the pub, I picked the gym to talk about as it is one the few places these days I can go on my own and take out my frustrations and I’d love to be able to do it without the additional hassle, without the stigma.