Blog Against Disabilism Day.
Well, I was hoping to write a more 'well considered' entry for 'Blog against Disabilism Day'. But I've only got a few moments to finish packing before getting the the airport.
So here's an excerpt from my life (read: brain dump).
Before I started going out with my social worker boyfriend, I thought I had a decent grasp on what some disabilities might be and how to treat folks with dignity, etc. You know - the standard - don't treat people as if they are their disability, don't assume anything about personality, intellect, etc, based on their disability, and so on.
But I hadn't really heard the term 'psychiatric disability' before.
And so ensues a learning curve for Miss Y.
Recently we had a mental health awareness training course at work.
At first I didn't want to go because, as worthy as it sounded, I had so much work to do, and hey I was learning heaps and reading more and talking more about mental health these days.
But I go.
And the first thing the trainer does is asks the room to list different mental illnesses. After a slow start we end up filling the whiteboard.
She says we've done amazingly compared to most groups and that she often gets great responses from Librarians. She says because we deal daily and incidentally with library patrons with mental illnesses, that we're wonderfully aware.
Then someone jokes that the lists we've created are just the conditions of the staff, not the patrons.
And then I look at the list again and realise that they're dead right.
But so many of us have found our niche.
Cataloguers with Aspergers. Aquisitions Librarians with OCD.
Oh yeah, GAD can be a challenge when you're working in Readers' Services, and it's not a fun run when the maintenance lad is feeling his depression.
But we're all just people, getting by.
So sure, don't treat people as if they are their disability. And also, don't assume there's nothing there if you can't see it straight away either.