What does it mean to live a meaningful life? Does it mean to be successful? To contribute to society? I used to think that’s what it meant. I was raised with the idea that, in order to be worthy, you needed to contribute. Many people sitll hold this opinion and it creeps up in my mind every now and again.
Since I’m nowhere near successful by non-disabled standards, does this mean I don’t live a meaningful life? Especially since I used to conform to these non-disableed standards? Until my crisis of 2007, I lived a pretty normal, fulfilling, successful life. Now I seemingly don’t.
I mean, I need considerable care. I’m still not fully convinced that I even contribute to my marriage, even though my husband says I do. I don’t work. I live semi-independently, but this is so hard that I am applying to move into long-term care again. I do day activities at a place for people with severe intellectual disabilities.
Yet if I say this means I don’t live a meaningful life, am I not saying the same of those other people at my day activities place? They don’t contribute to society in any kind of tangible way. Yet they spread kindness and smiles all over the place.
Can’t I redefine meaningful living in a similar way that the National Federation of the Blind wrote a new slogan? They used to say that, with proper training and opportunity, blindness can be reduced to a physical nuisance. They also used to say that the average blind person can do the average job as well as the average sighted person can. This was significantly dismissive of those with multiple disabilities, or those who for any other reason couldn’t contribute as much to society as the average non-disabled person. Now they say you can live the life you want, blindness isn’t what’s holding you back. This is more tuned into the wishes of people to live meaningful lives in such a way that feels good to them. It moves away the focus from the need to contribute and onto the wish to fulfill one’s own dreams. How wonderful!
Linking up with Stream of Consciousness Saturday. The prompt for this week is “Mean(s)”.
Today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt is “post”. I want to write about the challeng in posting everyday. I have been meaning to write at least two posts at least some of the days of the month, but don’t seem to get that done.
Like, when I started this blog in late July, in my first week, I posted thirteen times. That’s two posts a day almost everyday. Now I’m finding it hard to post everyday at all. It’s probably partly because I don’t have much of anything planned to write about. Like, I want to write from writing prompts, but then I can’t pick one.
In October, I plan to follow #Write31Days, a challenge to write everyday. That was a success on my other blog once, in 2015.
By the way, I wonder when I’ll go call my other blog my “old” blog. I still cling to it to some degree, but don’t feel like writing on it at all. I feel much more comfortable writing random ramblings than going with a partiuclar theme or writing “serious” content.
That being said, I have already picked my theme for #Write31Days. No, I won’t disclose it yet.
Last year, I did #Write31Days on autism. I was fully committed to making it work, but on October 4, landed in hospital after a medication overdose before I’d been able to write my post. I could’ve tried to catch up, but had lost my mojo altogether then. I hope that doesn’t happen this year. Then again, my husband has my medication locked away, so I’m unlikely to take another overdose.
I am autistic. Or I have autism, as politiically correct parents of autistic children would say. I prefer “autistic”. After all, autism is an essential part of my identity. It’s not like labels don’t define me and are just there for insurance coding purposes. Yeah, well, diagnoses do not define me. I am, after all, also multiple even though I don’t have a diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder anymore. Others do not define me. But my characeristics, including being autistic, do.
Saying “I am autistic” rathr than “I have autism” is preferred by the majority of autistic people. We also refer to ourselves as “autistic people” or even “autistics” rather tha “people with autism”. This is called idetity-first language, whereas “people with autism” is called person-first language and is politically correctly preferred by people wanting to erase the impact of autism.
I know, there are some situations in which a person may prefer person-first language regarding their own disability or identity. I don’t think this is wrong at all. However, people without said disability or belonging to said group should not dictate how we identify.
Identity-first language does not mean we can be called whatever the heck someone wants to call us. For example, a person with an intellectual disability should never be called “retarded”. That’s a slur. Even if said person has reclaimed that word – the R-word has not been reclaimed yet that often, but it might get to this point -, you cannot assume as a non-disabled person that you can just go about calling them the R-word. If in doubt, ask what a person wants to be referred to in regards to their disability or identity.
And of course, I want to be referred to by name most of the time. Unless another part or alter has taken over, but then some of them will be rather in your face about their name.
Don’t assume that political correctness is always preferred, but don’t assume anything really. We are all humans, all different and that’s valid. We should be loved and respected for who we are.
Linking up with Stream of Consciousness Saturday (yeah I’m late). The theme for this week is “-ic” or “-ical”.
I just got my prescription phone call service re-approved last Thursday. The prescription phone call service is where I can call a mental health nurse at the psychiatric hospital for support when I’m not feeling well but not yet in full-blown crisis. This is for out of office hours, as I can call my mental health treatment team within office hours.
The thing is though, like I said before, I may need to be able to call someone in such cases for a long while to come. The call service got approved for six months and my nurse said we’d really need to look at whether I’d still need it after those six months. I believe I would, but maybe by that time, we’ve found another agency to fill this gap. Such as the disability service agency I get my home support and day activities from now.
I really hope that I can someday do without mental health treatment. People in FB groups were saying that I may confuse not having a mental illness with not wanting the stigma of a mental illness, when I said that maybe I’m just autistic and not borderline at all. I do obviously believe we’re multiple (ie. some form of dissociative identity disorder), but the mental health team doesn’t believe this. Fine by me. Then we don’t get treatment for that. We’re relatively functional anyway and we’d rather not have any treatment than a treatment that doesn’t validate us.
This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday.