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Am I Disabled? (aeon.co)
211 points by magnifique 11 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 233 comments



This came up for me a few years ago when I was filling out a job application. At the voluntary self disclosure stage it listed epilepsy among the list and it stopped me in my tracks. A few brain surgeries later and I'm no longer epileptic, but it did make me ask this exact question.

For several years, my onset with in 2012 at age 36, I considered it more of a bummer and inconvenience and never thought about it any other way.

Personally I was fortunate that I was only having partial complex seizures which meant that I'd basically space out and stare into the distance completely unattached from my environment for 30 seconds to a few minutes according to my ex-girlfriend and other people I interacted with regularly.

Rarely did I have any indication that I'd had a seizure aside from the occasional, unexpected incontinence. One instance that sticks out was walking back from lunch with co-workers when one walked up to me and said "did you lose something". I dropped my sandwich while I was having a seizure and was walking all the while.

What allowed me to say "yeah... this is a legit disability" was examining how much had changed in my life without the ability to drive. Luckily I'd just basically moved in with said girlfriend who lived 10 minutes by bus from my job downtown, this was well before I worked from home and there's little chance I could have gotten to work from my rural home an hour away with essentially no transit.

I was really living a normal day to day life, I just had to make some adaptations to how I got around and had to stop using power tools without dead man switches.

Slightly hyperbolic maybe, but I can make a good case for how epilepsy cost me that house, relationship and severely impinged upon my job search.

Hindsight... it's a hell of thing. I don't know that I'd have felt any different being labeled or self-identifying as disabled but it goes a long way to describing the impact it had on my 30s. I'm also a guy that occasionally drove 50k miles in a year to travel for shows and work and various other road trips.


As a current epileptic (spinal injury, recovered partial paralysis) I still have to deal with the fact that I'm in fact, disabled.

Working at a FAANG in silicon valley really highlights that. My commute is 4 hours a day because I have to take public transit, and working late hours is a bigger burden than unaffected people in similar life situations.

I'm completely dependent on others to take me places, even for groceries.

I dearly miss living in Vancouver where I could just walk anywhere easily and my disability wasn't a daily consideration.

But even growing up, it's a difficult disability to rationalize to myself and to others in my life.

If people want to go out for drinks, I have to explain why I don't drink since it makes me more likely to have a seizure. When friends go to clubs, I can't go (not that I enjoy it ) and just walking down the street is a crap shoot in case an ambulance or police car go by.

I've actually learned to embrace it more as part of my identity and just be up front with people so they know it up front.

It's been particularly difficult in my previous career working in entertainment, where so many newer shows and games have adopted strobing as a stylistic choice. Especially with the rise of better LED lighting. So instead I try and raise awareness with my fellow professionals so they can make better decisions to accommodate people like me when making decisions.


4 hours seems like a lot. Do you still have to commute, even amid the pandemic situation?


No, during the pandemic it's been completely work from home.

Which has been great. I've recovered so much of my time back. I can sleep longer etc... And my health is better.

The reason for the four hour commute (total.. Not each way), is that my wife works in the Bay as well but in the opposite direction. So we split the distance. Her commute is two hours (hour each way) since she can drive. But it's better to be closer to her place of work since if there's anything that requires us getting back home, she can respond faster (20-30 minutes in non rush hour).


4 hours a day, 2 hours each way is probably a bus to caltrain, a decent length caltrain ride, and then a bus to the office. Plus idle time at the caltrain stations waiting for the next leg. Plus walking time.

Sometimes you're lucky and the bus and train schedules align, but in my experience, the bus schedule will come out, aligning to caltrain, then three weeks later, caltrain adjusts their schedule, and you've got 20 minutes between drop off and pickup again. It's better if you get a corporate shuttle to pick you up from caltrain, but still. Also, if you need to stay later than normal, bus and train service drops in frequency a lot, so you might be waiting even longer.

I was just avoiding traffic, so I drove to caltrain, which avoided the waiting on one end.


Four hours seems like a realistic estimate for daily commute time for a SF <-> SV round-trip pre-COVID, especially on public transit. I did the same, it was 3-3.5 hours by car, and 4 by MUNI/Caltrain/Shuttle. If I lived closer to Caltrain in the city, it would have helped a lot.


I had a 3-4 hour commute on public to my minimum wage job that was a 5 minute drive away. I can't imagine wasting that much time even if I made 2-500k or more a year. What's money without the time to enjoy it?


Agree completely, no way to live. It was not sustainable, and only required after my job switched locations. I was working on alternative arrangements, but COVID gave me that.


At the time I was a sound guy and was regularly out 'till 2:00am+, drinking the whole time and back up for work at ~8:00. You clearly know how that changed. I still went out, both of my local spots had good N/A beers (try Kaliber if you have the desire) but that was another complete lifestyle change for me. I wasn't photostrobic sensitive so I lucked out there.


Why don't you just live in the parking lot? 4 hours is insane


I know you're probably suggesting this in good faith, but this being among the first solutions to be suggested might be one of the most Silicon-Valley things I've ever seen.


"If we use inflatable tents in the parking lots, we could rent them out by the hour to shift workers. Different workers could use them during the day and during the night."


When I worked at Google, a friend of mine lived in the parking lot. He had BBQs there. This was a decade ago but it's not nearly as crazy as it sounds. He could park his RV at B42 but he was plenty comfortable in the Pi lot.


That's true, but I think they're clearly joking here.


Parking lot? A truely motivated employee who cares about his job will sleep on a bedroll stored neetly under their desk. Mobility is only an issue for those slackers who choose to spend time away from the office.

(I say this as i, in all honesty, will be sleeping on a couch at work this christmas. Im in the military. There are some few jobs that require literally sleeping in your office and i was just volunteered/volentold to cover one of them over the holidays.)


It's not legal. The buildings are not zoned for housing. Google interns learned this the hard way. You are not allowed to sleep at a Google office for more than three days in a row and you must have a permanent residence on file. Shipping packages to the office is OK but personal mail is not. Unless those packages are big knives or empty shell casings for reloading. (That was learned by an acquaintance.)


My "company" is not subject to the same rules. For instance, there is not a single disabled person in my division. They are specifically banned through medical standards. We are very much allowed to sleep at work. Very often we have no choice in the matter.


Lmao, I remember pulling sdo over thnaksgiving. Best. Shift. Ever.


Worst night for SDO is new years. Something will happen. Someone will be arrested. You will be talking to MPs new years day.


There's no bunks where it requires that?


Covid. For really important things we cannot mix teams. If we were living together and someone tested possitive, the entire team would be useless. So we are all on base but still issolating. Even contact with the food delivery people is a whole big thing. Our christmas dinners will be in paper boxes disinfected and left outside our biuldings. It's only for a couple weeks until holiday leave is over.


The parking lot is not zoned for residential use and the NIMBYs would never allow it.


multi-family vehicles were a bridge too far.


I also had complex partial seizures - borderline, I think, because I retained consciousness, but lost the ability to speak and understand language. I remember going skydiving many years ago, and filling out a form where they asked whether I had disabilities, including epilepsy. I marked that I had epilepsy, and then but the paper at the bottom of the pile. Not sure what they made of it when reading the papers after the fact.

I also did a shift in whether I considered it a disability or not. In the beginning, it felt like just a tiny part of who I was. But as time went on, the seizures increasing in frequency, and the anxiety related to the seizures going up as well, it started to make a larger and larger impact on my life and, maybe more importantly, my self-image.

I think it is interesting how the same thing can seem so different at different points in time.


I had to break it to a teen with epilepsy whose goal in life was to be a pilot, "The FAA medical will reject you, but maybe you can work in an FBO or other aviation business." (He wasn't interested in flying a desk.)

In aviation, anything related to loss of consciousness (LoC) is automatically disqualifying. You can get a special issuance for most other health problems (cancer, high blood pressure, sometimes diabetes) but they have to be under control. DUIs are also taken very seriously now.

One of the most alarming stories was when a Florida regional jet pilot who drank too much Mountain Dew (caffeine) and had a heart race event, causing him to cancel a flight. FAA medical raked him over the coals with batteries of tests. Don't know if he got his medical back. So don't Red Bull and fly!

Note that FAA medical waivers for corona may not apply to insurance requirements:

https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2020/march/31/f...


This doesn’t surprise me. I’m not epileptic, but one night under strobes at a club I had a full on tonic-clonic seizure. I hadn’t been drinking, or taken any hard drugs, but I had been consuming a lot of caffeine syrups to study at university that week.

Caffeine is a hell of a drug!


I haven't heard of caffeine triggering epilepsy, but yup, here's a link:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29414557/

Good to know. It wasn't reported that the Florida pilot had a seizure, but he too was too jacked up to concentrate on flying. Had it been a seizure, it would be tough get an aviation medical renewed because it can't be proved that LoC won't happen again.

Fatigue Countermeasures in Aviation (Mountain Dew Highest Caffeine Content)

https://www.asma.org/asma/media/asma/pdf-policy/2009/fatigue...


So, how I understand it is that our brains have something like a seizing threshold. Which is the amount of stress they can be put under before a seizure is induced. Certain things can lower that threshold. And I think caffeine (or stimulants in general?) and lack of sleep are both things that lower it.

So it was the loud music and bright strobe light that triggered the seizure. The caffeine and the lack of sleep lowered my brains resistance to seizing.


Another thing that's becoming more and more an issue as more young people get diagnosed, is that the FAA considers ADHD and other attention-deficit conditions to be disqualifying as well. If you're taking medication for ADHD or similar conditions and want to be a pilot, you're dead in the water until you get off them and can show that you don't have some kind of attention difficulty.


The military treats ADHD the same way and won't take anyone who's used meds for it in the past year. That's the official line, anyway.

In reality, recruiters tell candidates to lie about the meds ("everybody does it") and to stay off them long enough to pass the urine test.


That's interesting. I wonder if that makes people with ADHD ineligible for the draft? I wouldn't be mad about that. I'm also kind of curious about their reasoning. Is it fear that they won't be able to keep a steady supply of medication all the time (i.e. delivering Adderal to the front lines might not be easy), and that people with ADHD become a liability without it? Amphetamines seemed fairly successful for the Nazis during the invasion of France, although the rate that they gave them out at ended in massive addiction. The optics on doing something similar to Nazis is pretty bad, though.


That seems to be the story, but the second half of the game, as per the recruiter, is that once in, you can go to the military doctor and 'realize' that you seem to have a bit of ADHD to get a prescription for the very same meds: "I think Concerta XR 27mg might be what I need".


1) If you're normal-weighted and can do the pushups, the recruiter will do a lot of effort on your behalf.

2) Because military recruiters are under tremendous pressure to get enlistments. They can be court-martialled if they miss quota.


My son was very turned off by being told "It's OK to lie about this to get in; everybody knows it's how the game is played."


Oof, this hits close to home. I was working towards being a fighter pilot until I was told by a recruiter in no uncertain terms that having a visual impediment disqualified me irrevocably. I've moved on to other aspirations but damned if I'm not a little bitter around military aerospace hardware.


(In reply to the dead response, the recruiter never mentioned it but I found out many years later that the navy does indeed have pilots and they aren't as picky about eyesight. By that time it was way too late and I was down another career path. At the time I just trusted the recruiter since you'd hope they knew what they were doing.)


The three different services have different requirements, and one allows lasik/etc.

Note that if you wash out in the Navy, there's a lot of crappy jobs you can be assigned to.


I think this is a pretty good writeup on how disabilities are dealt with in society.

For myself, I'm bipolar. I've had significant difficult my entire life but I didn't know why until recently. Being bipolar has a severe impact on every aspect of my life.

In relation to work, it's just painful. I need accommodations to handle a 40-hour work week. I need a regular schedule. I can't be on-call during the night because I take medication to sleep; I can't even walk properly during that time. I have days where it's better to one day off than spend a entire week being unproductive.

Despite all of this, I've managed to be as productive as my non-disabled coworkers because I am good at what I do. I know how to cope with my symptoms but I can't cope with having to do it the same way everyone else does.

And it seems like no one else can cope with me either. Not being able to be in the on-call rotation causes resentment. Being randomly sick is disruptive. So many people think I'm off having fun while I'm actual at home trying not to kill myself. (I deal with suicidal thoughts quite frequently, never attempted.)

This is all made worse by being unable to explain to my coworkers and managers why I need these accommodations. My dad thinks I'm demon-possessed. I'm not exactly keen on finding out that one of my coworkers has the same belief. My friends know, because I can afford to lose friends. I can't afford to lose a job.

It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation.

Needing accommodation was a major factor in losing my last job. I was transferred to a department where I couldn't be promoted due to my limitations and then let go at the earliest opportunity.

Edit:

Forgot to mention I also have a milk allergy, can't have caffeine, and can't drink alcohol. This severely limits my ability to go out with coworkers.

Sit-down restaurants that advertise handling allergies don't. I've gotten extremely sick from every one I've tried to eat at despite being extremely clear that I'm sensitive to cross-contamination.

Fast food is hit or miss. I can't even trust Starbucks to use coconut milk instead of regular milk when I ask for it.


There is such a bias towards regularity, I feel like an alien when trying to question why we should care.

I had a coworker that might have been bipolar as well but didn’t really explicit it, and we felt we shouldn’t dig. In a week to week basis work was done. We were a team of 7 so someone being on or off at a given time had little impact, hell any member could be warped into another project for 3 days and come back later, nobody was dying, nobody really cared, we just re-shuffled tasks and go on with our life.

But she had points ducked from her evaluations every quarter for not having a regular schedule, and submitting sick days without notice. Nothing else in our job was predictable (and we had no on call shift), but it was sacro-saint to have a regular presence, and my bosses looked personally attacked someone could not respect the set rythm.

They were all smart people, but it was maddening.

Sorry for the rant, but It still pisses me off years later.


There are all sorts of arbitrary requirements to behave in certain way as a proxy of achieving results. Unfortunately this is quite common as it makes the manager feel safe and in control if his subordinates achieve the results in the way she expects them to, but it raises the bar high for no benefit to the bottom line.


> submitting sick days without notice

Who the hell knows when they're going to be sick? I've never heard of such a thing.


Well, if you get a common cold, then sometimes you can feel whether it is manageable, or starts getting worse.

Then you'll have a whole working day, where you are functioning at like 50% capacity, and at least you can pass on your work which might block others to a colleague.

In my experience most of the time this is the case.

Reporting in sick in the morning all the time can be quite distruptive in some jobs.

If I were in this situation I would look for a job where there is more flexibility in this regard. Or keep an up-to-date document where I list all the ongoing tasks and their statuses and next steps (this would probably add a lot of overhead though)


Or, you know, it can be much more disruptive to coworkers that may not handle illness as well, or have vulnerable family members or housemates. It's selfish to the extreme to expect others to expose others to disease because of a mild inconvenience. Saying that as someone with multiple disabilities and who gets severely ill from cold or flu, is grateful when people don't deliberately act as a totally irresponsible adult and expose me unnecessarily. I can be be nearly bed ridden for multiple weeks but almost never get sick with people being courteous and doing everything possible to limit exposures to others.


The only thing I've pointed out is that repeatedly missing workdays (it doesn't matter whether you work on-site, or remote) without others knowing it in advance can be disruptive in some situations.

This is similar to planning an activity with a friend, and them not showing up. If they do this to you multiple times; you waiting for them and they do not even answering their phones, will you plan your next thing with the original enthusiasm? Or will you think "oh god they wont even show up, whats the point of planning anything".

This has nothing to do with disease or disability, this is just a simple break of promises multiple times in a row.

This can be avoided though, simply make promises which can be kept; do work, which can tolerate unforeseen absences, or work in a different way than others which compensate the issue in some way that is fair for and agreed upon by the other teammates.

I have my own fair share of health issues, and managed to choose a workplace which accomodates my needs.

Some people are not that lucky to have the opportunity or even ability to do that, but this is not in the scope of responsibility of an average citizen to solve.


I had a colleague once who has IBS, but also he absolutely loved pizza. So, while he never gave notice, everyone knew he would not be in on Mondays because he ate an entire Domino's XL pizza the evening before.


There is that story with the monkeys trying to reach a banana, and sprinkled with water, then eventually all of the monkeys replaced, and they prevent eachother from reaching for the banana, but they no longer know why.

Lots of stuff work that way, and we have a limited capacity, and tolerance to try which is useful, and which is just an "everybody does it like that" fad.


Also bipolar person here. I gravitated toward consulting because it allows me the freedom to make my own accommodations. I have actually worked for huge consulting companies and currently work for a mid-size one. I also don’t drink caffeine or alcohol on account of said bipolar.

I don’t come out and say that I’m bipolar, but I do make it known that I have chronic mental health stuff that I need space to deal with sometimes. I also have hypomanic periods where I’m incredibly productive, and I think that helps smooth over relations with co-workers and bosses because when I’m good, I’m really good. When I’m bad I need space to sort it out and clear expectations of what I need to get done from a work standpoint.

Consulting works well because you kind of manage your own time, work is delivered in teams (at least in my world,) and if you can manage your client relationships well it smooths over a lot of bumps. If you work for a good company that gives you space to be a flawed human, you can make it work.

The pandemic has actually helped quite a lot; I no longer have pressure to go hang out with a bunch of people drinking when all I want to do is sleep. As long as I show up to meetings and communicate about what I can and can’t do it works out for me.


For people that can do it, consulting would be a good solution. Unfortunately, it’s not something I can handle.


I also deal with bipolar but I actually attribute being able to work in startups to it. I mostly have up days so I can go 10 hours without losing interest a week and a half at a time. But this comes with the downside of having a handful of days a month where I legit couldn’t churn out a couple hours worth of work no matter how hard I try. Luckily the places I’ve worked don’t care too much as I can make up for it the next day in one of my super sprints. This isn’t good for my mental health in the long run, probably, but tbh I’d deal with it anyway so I don’t think I could handle a normal 9-5: when I was younger and I worked those types of jobs my down days would be depressing for sure I don’t know how I managed other than maybe it’s gotten worse with age.


Heh, that sounds like how I manage to hold down a job with ADHD, except my "up days" are because I took stimulants.

If I knew in college what I know now, I would have 100% had all the paperwork to be considered "disabled" by the government. I tried to do the right thing and emulate a successful adult life, but it's been a pretty miserable experience so far.

At this point, after so many years in tech, there's no way I could convince the government that they should cover my health care and pay me a stipend because I'm so disabled that I can't work.

There's not much else to do at this point besides push through to retirement, one day at a time.


Your first sentence I resonated with. I think it can still work in the right circumstance.

Think I've burnt out though. Not just of programming.

It's kind of comforting to see BP on HN more so these days. Usually it feels lonely because people diagnosed I know aren't programmers.

For me, I think it has gotten worse with age and presents new struggles.

In regards to the article. I don't respond, or I mark no. It never seems worth it to announce it.


this sounds really bad for you :( there's nothing wrong with not being productive sometimes. you shouldn't need like you need to "catch up" by doing insane amounts of work.

This mentality totally screwed me over during university, and I feel like a lot of my mental stability right now comes from how my job place has guilt-free discussions about what we can finish in the remainder of the time until the deadline, without "oh we'll just work harder".


I've seen someone bragging about giving normal milk to people asking for special milk as a barista in starbucks, it then blew up on social media, and he got fired?

Maybe I'm just mixing up stuff I don't know.

If I remember correctly the reasoning behind it was quite ugly; he couldn't stand people who drank those alt milks, because he thought them as rich people pretending to be intolerant, and it was some kind of pity revenge.

But unfortunately (?) most of the time this applies: Never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence.

Probably shouldn't've watched so many Gordon Ramsay videos about what could go wrong in the kitchen in mismanaged restaurants..


My suggestion is to determine how your brain works, whether it is visual in nature, auditory or other.

The mind is the last frontier of health and medical professionals frequently mis-diagnose. Don't accept your "bipolar" label until you understand yourself how your mind works.

See https://www.newscientist.com/article/2083706-my-minds-eye-is....


I am quite definitely bipolar.

See: https://kayode.co/blog/4106/living-with-psychosis/


Have you tried looking for a better employer? The teams I've worked with wouldn't have had any problems accommodating you.


Do you have any particular reason to believe that? I've worked lots of places that looked very accommodating on the surface, but that doesn't mean they handle things like bi-polar well. In particular, "obvious" disabilities like a wheelchair seem to get handled a lot better. Conversely, policy exceptions like a bi-polar person needing to take more sick days, seem to breed a lot of resentment in certain sorts of managers.


Because I've been in management in my past few companies and work to accommodate everyone. I find that remote work is especially amenable to accommodating disabilities and mental health.


Given I can’t manage a 40-hour work week to start with, looking for a job while I have a job isn’t doable.

That said, I’m available if someone wants a senior rails dev. :)


I'll check my network and pass on your info if I hear of anything.


I've personally pondered this a number of times and here is my conclusion that I am comfortable with.

While there is some sense of continuum, there is a difference between being hurt and being injured. In a similar sense I feel there is a continuum of "something" and disabled. I don't really know what to call the "something" end of the disability continuum that would be analogous to "hurt" rather then "injured". For me I'll call it "inconvenienced" but I choose that word for me not to insinuate or inflame others.

Serving in Afghanistan, I was "hurt" on many occasions and "injured" once. That injury left a very visible scar on my face, migraine like headaches and some hearing loss.

Am I disabled? I would say no. I can do everything I have always been able to do. The scar is a conversation starter and the rest is manageable. I view it that I am "inconvenienced" rather than "disabled".

I would say, in general, if you are not sure if you feel you are disabled (even if you have been diagnosed) then I would say you are not.

Again, that is just my view and I don't offer it to be combative or diminish someone else's plight.


My wife appears to be incredibly fit and she is. She's able bodied, thin but not sickly so and strong. She has great muscle definition. Her skin looks healthy. She is often taken for being a decade or more younger than she actually is.

She spends half her week pleading with medical staff or arguing with insurance about why the drugs and procedures shouldn't be denied. Her eyesight is rapidly degenerating. She's has diverticulosis (they told her to lose weight and stop eating meat... she's thin and vegan). A number of her bones have started to fuse and she has acute arthritis in places that seem to show up without warning and were nowhere to be seen on images from less than a year ago. She's im chronic, sometimes debilitating pain. There's no diagnosis and people keep jabbing her with needles based in what appear to be best guesses. She's disabled. She doesn't want a sticker because it's embarrassing and she's worried about people thinking she's abusing the system and vernally (or worse) assaulting her. She'd rather walk the extra distance I'm horrible pain than have to deal with it.

Being "disabled" means lots of things and wears many faces. The stigma sucks.


Sorta sounds like me. I have smooth and young-looking skin, but it's because my collagen is messed up. My joints come apart everywhere in my body, I get woozy from standing or even sitting for long, and I'm developing a host of spinal and nerve problems. I'm expected to need PT, braces and probably more for the rest of my life.

But I can walk, and I look young, so I had a hell of a time getting diagnosed. And I felt really guilty about using a disabled parking pass even though I knew I needed it.


I'm so very sorry for you. It pains me to see her going through this an know it's exponentially worse for her. She can't even hold our toddler and dance with her any more. It's been so long that she doesn't even think to ask. Faddy dances and mommy sings.


That sounds awful. My wife has Stills and went through a similar experience before getting a diagnosis. Has she been seen by a rheumatologist? Her symptoms seem vaguely auto-immune/inflammatory.

https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/reactive-arthritis/


She's on her second one. They suspect something auto immune buy all her symptoms are peripherally related to solid indicators. For example, most people might have IBS or chrones but she developed diverticulosis. In the ballpark but not quite right.

Edit: something in the RA realm is what they suspect but it's hard to be conclusive because she has symptoms but no markers.


The bone problems are caused by nutrient deficiencies and inflammation from the digestive issues, correct?


Not as far as anyone can tell. Everything in her bloodwork comes back perfect. She eats well balanced meals, stays as fit as the pain will let her, doesn't drink much, no drugs that aren't prescriptions because of all this. By all measurements, she's in peak health... you know, except for the debilitating pain, bone fusion, rapid onset arthritis and degenerating vision.


I think that people's perceptions of what it means to feel disabled are so different that your view is wrong. For instance, my mother totally lost the use of one leg as a baby with polio. She has always worn a full supportive brace on that leg from foot to hip so she can stand up and walk (she's never been able to run). She has always said she doesn't "feel disabled", but she checks yes on forms like this because she knows that this is the terminology used to cover things like "I may need extra help evacuating the office in a fire".


The difference between the OP's and your mother's situation is that OP got injured after becoming an adult.

The real difference is that OP could could determine if his current state is a regression from normal.

Your mother's abilities degraded before she could understand what she misses out on.

So being disabled is the norm for her, she does not feel disabled, but when filling out official forms, she has to compare her abilities with her perception of "normal".

So it's not that OP is wrong, he is just in a different situation, they are both right.


The OP is free to feel how he wants. However, his suggestion that other people should self-assess the same way he does was wrong.


Thank you


I have a history of depression and ADHD, and I take (two different) meds for them and regular therapy for the depression. I’m also looking for jobs right now and I see this voluntary self-identification question all the time. It states it won’t hurt me, and I think it usually mentions they want to know so that they can report that they hire x% of people with disabilities.

So far I’ve always answered “no” because I feel like this is one of those things that shouldn’t hurt my chances, but in practice will. Either on purpose (manager passing me for someone “normal” and making up some other excuse if questioned) or cause of subtle bias (manager seeing yes and jumping to conclusions subconsciously).


In a proper system this is something that should be self-reported and not handled by the employer. An example:

$Employer gives you a form to fill out with your disabilities and their Employer ID#. You fill out the form (if you get hired) and send it to $GovernmentAgency yourself. $Employer lets $GovernmentAgency know that they hired you. $GovernmentAgency gives a quarterly statement to $Employer without any specific information tied to individuals.

Same thing with race, sex, age, and all the other affirmative action qualifiers. These are really things that employers should not know or care about in the hiring process.

As it is, don't feel bad about lying on the forms with stuff like this. The system is rigged against you, don't give them any more ground if you don't have to.


I feel there is a difference between having a disability (a condition) and being disabled (a state of being).

If a condition affects your ability to do something, then it is a disability.

As someone with ADHD and ASD, my ability to do certain things is substantially impacted by my condition. I am fortunate enough that I am able to adapt my environment to my condition, reducing the impact, and do not feel the need to seek concessions elsewhere. As such, I do not identify myself as a disabled person, but I do have a disability.

Others (even with the same condition) are not quite so lucky. Their disability has substantial impact on their day to day lives, and they need external assistance - they are "disabled".


Excellent question. As a person with ADHD (but on meds), and a possible CFS, I ask myself this sometimes.

While I wouldn't use a disabled parking spot, there are some exceptions from social norms that I allow myself:

- segregating trash (keeping an apartament clean and organised is crazy difficult by itself, and I still learn to put things into trash after using, at the age of 36)

- getting a sitting space in a crowded bus, even if there are old people around

As for the disabled parking spots, when I was ~25y.o., I had a knee issue for half a year. I didn't limp much, but every single step was painful and difficult. It was just half a year, and I didn't bother to get a disabled license plate, but still fully deserved to use the spots.

Since that time I always have doubt whether to point out to someone that they took a disabled parking spot. The way I handle it now is by asking someone who leaves a car, who doesn't look disabled, if they need some help (instead of pointing out that they are assholes). If they are indeed disabled, they won't mind, if they aren't - they feel like assholes :)


> Since that time I always have doubt whether to point out to someone that they took a disabled parking spot. The way I handle it now is by asking someone who leaves a car, who doesn't look disabled, if they need some help (instead of pointing out that they are assholes). If they are indeed disabled, they won't mind, if they aren't - they feel like assholes :)

You should just stop bothering because it’s really not your place or any of your business.

I say this as someone who took care of my mother during cancer treatments. I drove her to her clinics/hospitals and she had a difficult time walking from the parking lot to the door, so we were able to get a handicap parking thing issued to hang on the rear view mirror. It helped her tremendously that I could park the car basically right at the door and we could both go in together. I never abused the label and removed it when I wasn’t driving her around, but every time she was in the car with me and we went somewhere I hung it up. There were times when she/I forgot something in the car and I had to go out to go get it. There were times when people like you would have seen me lightly jogging to the car to get something and running back in. You would have asked me if I needed help and apparently I “should feel like an asshole.” You would have asked me if I needed help and if I didn’t ignore you you would have wasted my time trying to bring in papers or my mom’s purse or something. And if I did ignore you because I was in a hurry you might have tweeted about me taking up a handicap parking, when you know absolutely nothing about the situation.

When she was recovering and was able to drive herself, she took the decal and used the handicap parking as well. She was able to walk around normally and you wouldn’t have thought she was handicapped in anyway, but she still had respiratory issues and was physically weak that walking far was difficult. You would have been one of those people pointing out to her that she was an asshole.


>You should just stop bothering because it’s really not your place or any of your business.

Superficially yes, but if there's no enforcement then the accommodations do not serve their original purpose.


> who doesn't look disabled

My dad said if you were a young man during WW2, walking down the street not in uniform, and did not look disabled, people would spit on you. It was hard on people with invisible disabilities.


Tangentially related: it took me 3.5 years of having a child to remember that the wider 'family' parking spaces were actually for me. I'd used them maybe twice in all that time, and now I don't need them any more. Could have saved myself a tweaked back a few times...

My point? I think this is a measure of how strongly we're wired to respect resources for those who need them. Which is a good thing, but obviously fails when it extends to inaccurate judgement of those with invisible disabilities.


> The way I handle it now is by asking someone who leaves a car, who doesn't look disabled, if they need some help

I'm curious as to why you feel the need to say anything at all, considering you are not an authority figure. It seems like you're possibly inviting trouble by not minding your own business. At the very least, you're unnecessarily shaming people, which is not admirable.


Or if they are but don't like having it pointed out, they feel angry and sad and ashamed, and you've made their day worse by once again making assumptions about them.


>segregating trash

Aha, unexpectedly relatable. That's an allowance I give myself as well. I segregate a bit, but give myself a pass after a certain amount, when it makes the difference between living in squalor and not.


Me too. Today I realized, yesterday I apparently threw away the bathroom trash bin with the trash.... (It was upcycled, so no big loss.)

Another ADHD compromise: I don't use the "eco" soaps (e.g. sugar surfactants) because, their remains are easily feeding algae (the orange one) and I, realistically, won't clean my shower every week. (Hope less than a week isn't considered the normal XD)

Honestly, I feel it's really important for ADHD people to allow themselves feeling a little disabled: We mostly endured so much misguided anger and being called lazy and such, it's healing to give ourselves that break. We're literally killing ourselves (life expectancy; suicide) over keeping up with an outside almost mechanical and estranged to human "nature". It's okay to search for our own pace and only comply with what's obligatory and possible.

(Not saying therapy and medication aren't necessary; not that it's all down to modern life.)


We have a different culture in the UK, no one will confront you for using the disabled spot even if you look fully able bodied. They announce in supermarkets "some people have an invisible disability and are not able to wear a mask" so people don't get harassed for that too. It's pretty good. Unfortunately this trust does get abused but when it works it's good.


> - getting a sitting space in a crowded bus, even if there are old people around

This is fine, honestly. I see people trying to be... tough? I don't know what they are doing, but they are blocking the lane when they refuse to sit down because they perceive it as rude.

We are all in this together, just take a seat and get out of the way!!

That being said I will give up my seat for someone with a kid in tow.


>getting a sitting space in a crowded bus, even if there are old people around

Why? Giving up a seat to an older individual is a show of respect as well as a recognition that standing for seniors is a bigger burden than it is for a young 30-something. Why would ADHD change that?


Not the person you are replying to but...

In my case was because if I tried to give space to older people, I would go nuts, having ADHD and possibly (I never tried to get diagnosed since there is no treatment) Asperger's, I just don't notice old people there... So I go, see a spot, sit, and after a while note the stares and so on.

I had to learn to ignore the stares, because whenever I was worried about being a gentleman and whatnot I ended going into crazy thinking spirals on my head, ruminating non-stop if I was offending someone or not, or not noticing someone, I would instead scare people, looking like some sort of paranoid person on the bus.


The alternative coping mechanism would be not to sit at all if most of the sitting spaces are already taken. I sometimes did so as I expected to have to vacate my spot in only a few minutes.


ADHD not, but CFS yes - i take meds daily to not keep falling asleep all the time.

My theory is that for the part of the ADHD population the core reason is excessive daytime sleepiness/tiredness.


They wrote they also have CFS (or something with similar symptoms)


I worry when employers ask this kind of question that they are going to use your answer to retaliate against you.

For example: https://www.npr.org/2020/09/17/912840482/u-s-agency-urges-en...


Likewise flummoxed by the equivalent “race” question almost always asked on the innumerable forms you’re subjected to in the USA. In the country I was born in there was one correct answer for me (though the question was rarely asked); later that changed. In my mother’s country the legally determined answer is printed on your ID card, which at least removed the need to think about it. In the USA there is a very different “correct” answer, yet that is apparently wrong when I fill out a medical form. If I fill it out one way I can be scolded by the doctor, yet the other way and it has more than once been “helpfully” changed by front desk staff.

Frankly it feels like visiting the Dell web site: are you a small business? Medium business? I never knew what answer will give me he best price or product.

Humans are fucked up, and fucked up towards each other.


> Frankly it feels like visiting the Dell web site: are you a small business? Medium business? I never knew what answer will give me he best price or product.

For Home vs Business, always choose business as it hides their least-attractive products.

Regardless of declared business size, I find I get the best pricing (sometimes as much as 20% off the list price) by choosing the option to speak to a sales account manager - even if the account is just for yourself. Back when I was running my own shared hosting company out of a rented quarter-rack I got some great discounts on their R-series servers and whatnot.


The reason those questions are asked is so there can be accountability when (for example) white supremacists try to hire only white people. That portion of the application is typically visible to HR but not the hiring manager.

So, counterintuitively, the orgs with the forms asking all the probing questions about your skin color are more likely to be making an effort to not be a boring homogeneous mass of people. Maybe just for bragging rights about being a "diverse workplace," but, it's better than nothing.

This country has a history of treating people with darker skin worse, and there were several propaganda campaigns during slavery times which painted black people in particular as inferior. So now we've gotta fight against that social momentum from the past with countermeasures in the present.


The essay, and my comment, were not about that: they were wider reflections on the naming of the thing affects not just how society thinks of us but how we think of ourselves.

We all have several “labeled” roles or identities simultaneously: parent, child, driver, citizen, voter, customer, etc. Some are simple, some quite complex and many quite ambiguous.

I think most, if not all people understand the motivation for such questions and I hope most people understand that those questions are well intended. I also don’t know of a different way to handle the issue.

But it’s not a criticism to point out the problems and ambiguities that arise.


I remember Google Campus having a form for filling in before a tech event that was crazy invasive - asked for literally everything: race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and so on.


If there's a write-in option for "race" on these things, I'd recommend putting "human".


Yeah, that's what I do.


Oh, definitely "Jedi". ;)


Not an admirable example: a genetically determined group who are given special extrajudicial powers of life and death and their own legislature and courts simply due to an accident of birth.

The Harry Potter books mix this same trope in with a dash of Kipling as they look down upon and try to be paternal towards the mass of “Muggles”. Revolting!

Not something I would be willing to support, myself. Though its popularity might explain (be a symptom of perhaps) the support for certain political parties around the globe.


Pick random answers when asked stupid questions. If enough people start doing this they'll stop asking.


Good idea, will do it from now on. Black? Yes. White, yes. Potatoe? Yes.

But seriously - these race questions seem wildly out of place in countries like Poland where 99% people are white, and sure there is racism, but there are better determinants for disadvantaged groups - like the place someone was born in, or family income.


Well, personally, I wouldn't want to be thought of as disadvantaged. Nor the other way around, though I guess that's less bad. You could give the "right" answers to get the "result" you want. But lying isn't too great either. Hence, not answering or answering randomly seems like the best choice.

You can just let people request help if they want it.


Well surveying the population can help drive decisions as to investing in accommodations that might be worth it even if not required.


This reminds me abouts Kubecon Europe 2020's survey which had questions like: "what's your race", and "what's your gender".

As a European, this was a huge WTF moment (my co-workers had the same moment). Why would you ask something like that ?


Google Campus asked a bunch of other personal questions (ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation etc if I’m not mistaken).

The funny part is that in Europe this is considered extremely sensitive information and there are even strictrier laws and penalties for storing those than the regular personal data.


It's common in UK on some forms, AFAIK it might actually have had a positive impact at one point due to tracking correlations between rejections on requests and applicants race/gender.

Still doesn't really make sense at Kubecon


We are going off topic, but I registered at kubecon with my work email and I was spammed by them with marketing emails, asking if they can sell stuff/trainings to my company.


And you let this wonderful opportunity of giving them your boss e-mail to slip by you? What a shame :).


Isn't it common practice in Europe to have photos on resumes?


My guess is they have to meet some minimum diversity quota among attendees.


I highly doubt this, it's far more likely they want to know the makeup of their demographic for marketing purposes (ie., approach company with detailed statistics about who will see their convention ads, or modify their own in-house ads). Usually that's what such surveys are used for if I'm not mistaken. It seems a little warped to me to jump straight to minimum diversity quotas.


It took me a very, very, very long time after I got my diagnosis of Bipolar II and ASD to check the box saying I was disabled. This is even after a couple of crisis calls, nearly failing out of college, nearly destroying my relationship with my partner, and having a couple of really rough months early in my career where I was worried I would be fired for not getting anything done.

The stigma around being disabled is very, very real. My parents still hate that I embrace that label. They point to my uncle who is schizophrenic and has severe arthritis and who has been on disability since they were in their mid-30s and say "see, HE's disabled, you aren't!" and it's incredibly difficult to deal with. Because I'm now medicated, have a stable relationship with my partner, see a therapist once a week, and have special accommodations with my boss (mostly around taking sick leave a little more frequently than "average" but keeping him in the loop when I'm having a bad day), my life externally looks "normal". I work 40(ish) hours a week, my partner and I own a house, we recently moved back home to be closer to family, and we're happy. But I still check that little box because of all the work that it took me to get there, and because more people need to know that disability and work are not mutually exclusive.

I've started being more "out" about my disability (it's funny, my partner semi-recently came out as bisexual and I've learned a lot from her about how to own my identity), becoming more comfortable talking with people about it at work and in my personal life. I'm helping out with a new ERG at my job that talks about disability as it pertains to our field and I'm trying my best to be true to myself. It's hard because others still see someone who's "fine", but I'm getting more comfortable every day with my identity. I just hope that my being more open changes someone's mind some day about either their perception of others, or their perception of themselves.


I grew up in a home where my Dad had multiple sclerosis and went from playing football with me at age 6 to full-time wheelchair 10 years later. Later in life, while serving in the US Navy, I ended up with a different disability that lasted about 14 years. This article really hit home for me.

For my Dad, simple things we do every day were hard because little things like doors and steps were huge obstacles to him. For me, it was working hours where I could not function without mid-day sleep. For my Dad, there was no way to hide the disability. For me, I looked, moved, and was normal.

Disabilities are at their core a disadvantage. Disclosing them is risky. Most people will use the disclosure for good. But just enough people will use them to deny opportunity or as a signal of weakness. There's a great fear of "reasonable accommodations" because if we make an allowance for one person, soon everyone will be requesting reasonable accommodations... So, when you check the Yes box, you are taking a huge risk.

Incidentally, I learned that checking the veteran box also comes with risk. I was once excluded from consideration from a job because the employer thought all veterans were ticking time bombs or rigid authoritarians with no moral compass.


Out of interest, what was your disability that caused you to need mid day naps?


CFS.


Thanks, I thought as much. Do you still suffer with it / has it got any better or worse?


Complete recovery.


Recovering from thyroid cancer. Have interviewed at a few places and have been unsure what to say in the application. Also, have been insanely tired and unable to deal with the stress of interviews. The prospective employer didn't know about my situation. I completely tapped out in one of the interviews and was unable to focus but to the interviewer, I probably appeared like I struggled to answer their question. It's been life changing going through this.


> You appear to be asking a closed question, but ‘consider’ is a word I would use to open up a question. Forms are full of such questions, presenting themselves as straightforward logic gates, which on closer inspection turn out to be impossibly multivalent.

This is actually a huge problem, particularly in the age of computer systems. If the form is electronic and not designed properly, you can't even leave a note.

Software developers often love being smart and validating all inputs, with disastrous consequences. In my opinion, 99% of validations, at least for data that's not going to be directly processed by computers, email addresses for example, shouldn't be validated at all, and most validation errors should be replaced with warnings instead.


> email addresses for example

What's an example of when a form would want to take in a seemingly invalid email address?


A lot of email validation rules fail to cover valid corner cases: https://haacked.com/archive/2007/08/21/i-knew-how-to-validat...

For that matter, future developments can be problematic: Does your validation rule allow for "@gmail.com"?

It seems better to warn the user that it might be invalid, rather than completely blocking some users from signing up.


It seems society sucks at helping cripples. I’m in constant pain while walking, but while wearing shoes (covering up the noticeable deformation) I have been yelled at many times for parking in handicap spaces. I have had people and family tell me it is no big deal and I need to deal with it (if you can walk, but still crippled no one actually considers you crippled).


> people and family tell me it is no big deal and I need to deal with it

How do you deal with them after hearing something like this? The resentment and/or feelings of guilt are too much...


The people I just yell and cuss out. The family part is harder. I know they love me, but they have no clue what is going on when it comes to simply walking. They can be supportive, but if I tell them I can’t do something like take the trash out it can turn into an argument. At that point I’m usually accused of using my disability as an excuse. That really sucks. Sometimes I just do what is being asked even though it is at my detriment.


I'm more shocked that the author managed to get a diagnosis on the NHS at the age of 42. In my experience, the NHS won't refer you to a psychologist unless you're on the brink of suicide or complete mental breakdown. It's incredibly tough to get mental help in this country.


Waiting times for ASD assessment services vary, and almost all of them breach the limits, but it's not impossible to get an appointment.

Access to IAPT is very good. Latest figures are here: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/sta...

> One of the stated targets of the IAPT programme is that for referrals finishing a course of treatment in the month, 75% enter treatment within 6 weeks, and 95% within 18 weeks5. These are based on the waiting time between the referral date and the first attended treatment appointment.

> 89.1% of referrals waited less than 6 weeks to enter treatment


Interesting, thanks for the stats. I guess the trick is getting the GP referral in the first place. I am pretty sure as a normal-seeming adult, if I asked for an ASD assessment, my GP would be extremely reluctant. I would have to be very insistent. I'm fairly certain I have Asperger's or some flavor of ASD, and I have found it a real struggle trying to get an actual diagnosis. I even paid for private treatment, but my therapist told me flat out that most psychologists prefer to not label people anymore (unless it substantially impacts their life so they can get disability benefits).


Also you might want to be careful with this; my experience is that once you have any kind of mental record on your file, your GP will try to say every physical problem is all in your head. If there’s no compelling reason to get the diagnosis, sometimes it’s better not to have one.


In the UK do you just have one centralized medical record that all your providers can access? That seems..not ideal.


One time IAPT refused to help me because they believed I will be suicidal if they continue (it makes no sense). I had to pay for private treatment, because they were useless.


Healthcare (universal or otherwise) deals well with short term 'conditions' (things like dealing with broken bones, flu, heart attacks, and even cancer). It does not deal well with long-term chronic conditions that require personalized, daily care. I know a couple with a severely autistic child and they just can't get any support because the only support they could get is a specialist to work with the child day-in and day-out and that just cannot scale.


You can get referred if you mention that you will seek legal action if they don't comply with your request. It is quite unfortunate, because NHS costs ton of money and they still live off the myth that they are the best thing in the world. If I had not used private specialists I think I would have been dead by now.


So true. I joked with a friend that the best way of getting access to psychologists in the NHS is to have a TBI or stroke. When it's a "physiological" brain thing they are quick to react. It's a sad state of affairs.


You can get help if you start doing subject access requests and hinting at starting legal action due to inadequate help.


It's not any easier in the rest of Europe.

And I have to add, it's many times harder if you're a foreigner.


I didn't like the writing very much in this article. Found it difficult to follow points along.

I'm disabled. I have schizophrenia. It sucks. I cannot concentrate properly and I hear voices that tell me to kill myself. Fortunately I've only attempted once and failed.


There are employers are asking this question? What purpose does such a question even serve? Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen even to ask.


There's actually a good reason for it: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/ofccp/regs/compliance...

I never trust companies to not use it against me though.


Lawsuit? Businesses that have contracts with the federal government of the USA are required to ask this question under Section 503.


If any kind of request is being made that would only be granted on the basis of disability, for instance. Or they might be attempting to gather demographic information (do they employ any disabled people?), which is allowed if the intent is to benefit employees with disabilities.

Here's an example form used for federal contractors: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/ofccp/regs/compliance...


They need to know in case they need to make adjustments in the workplace.

Or more often, to make sure you don't get hired because you're likely to be more troublesome than healthier candidates :/


Is it possible to change your answer once your are hired? Of course you could still get retaliated against but it certainly sounds better than not getting getting the job at all.


This is always hidden behind "cultural fit", if you get refused.


They might be fined if they don't employ enough disabled people.


> Do you consider yourself to be a disabled person? > Yes: No: Prefer not to say:

ughhhhh.... As a mixed-race ADHDer: Is this box becoming a thing too?

I totally get that this is a hard thing to design a database schema for (see https://qntm.org/gay). Just...oy. This is going to have a UX that reminds me of applying for colleges and trying to figure out if I'm Black or not.

We live in a world of trade-offs.


Do you mean the "prefer not to say" box? I'd argue that it should exist for every non-mandatory selection for privacy's sake.

If the question isn't necessary for some reason, it should probably be left off completely, IMO. But I'm assuming they're trying to get stats for something, and some people may be okay with that. But they should still make it obviously optional, which is what that option is for.


doesn't allowing "prefer not to say" mess up the data anyway, or is there a way to work around this?


As a person with diagnosed fibromyalgia this is sadly a quite common thought for me, too. Fibromyalgia is usually invisible for other people. On outside it looks the person is tired or grumpy or in some kind of brainfog. It just sucks a lot of energy during the flareups. On good days, I'm okay with it, we are on same ride until there are better treatments available.


To me it's one of those "How heavy is a rock?" questions. In a particular instance, I think anyone can answer it about themselves. But in the abstract, it's a lot harder.

Some people have issues with many or all things, and can easily answer 'yes'. Some people have no real issues and will easily answer 'no'. But there are a ton of people in the middle who have problems with certain situations and it's not an easy answer.

If you could answer "yes" without having to worry about repercussions, I would recommend that anyone unsure just answer that. But sadly, that's not the way the world works.


Everybody in the world can honestly answer yes they are disabled because of something. Yet the vast majority don't need special consideration to live their life. Even when someone does need special consideration what is important: Those bumps in the sidewalk that let a blind person know there is a road crossing ahead are critical to their safety - but they are very uncomfortable to someone in a wheelchair, sometimes to the point of being unable to use the sidewalk at all!

In short, the question is invalid. What is really needed isn't a yes/no response it is an appendix of what accommodations they have and already and then a blank of what you need. If you are in a wheelchair and the place already is wheelchair accessible then you are not disabled, but if the building hasn't be remodeled to wheelchair accessibility you are disabled. If there won't be a meal/snacks then your food allergies are not a disability, but if there are then it could be (could because some are you know what to avoid and can trust to find the something safe, while others are don't even have something in the same room).

But it is easier to have a yes/no question even though that is useless to everyone.


Everyone doesn't have a legally defined disability.

The question is for statistics. It doesn't stop anyone explaining how to ask for accommodations.


Am I disabled? I have cerebral palsy that for the most part only affects my left hand. I’ve been programming since 1986 when I was in 6th grade. I type decently fast with one hand and I inadvertently learned to touch type just by spending so much time on a computer.

I don’t need any special accommodations. I decided to click “no” at my current job at $BigTech. My interview process was remote, I’ve never met any of my coworkers in person and probably won’t until 2022.

My job was always designed to be remote so there is no telling when I’ll need to fly to one of the offices.


In my early teens, I was diagnosed with dyspraxia. I have issues with fine motor control, which mostly affects writing (it's often illegible, and writing for an extended period of time (40 minutes plus) is painful) or actions like cutting up food and depth perception/co-ordination which sometimes ends up with me walking into tables etc. The one accommodation I did accept for it was to type rather than handwrite my college exams (pride did not allow me to do so for my end of school exams).

In the software industry, it doesn't really affect me, apart from occasional embarrassment at a team dinner where an attempt to cut up food results in some going astray, and I consider myself lucky as most people with dyspraxia (I can't remember the exact number currently, but like 70%) also have to deal with dyslexia, something I do not have. I take notes on vim in my laptop rather than on paper like most of my colleagues so that I can definitely read them when I no longer remember them, and shrug off the occasional dropped item or overestimated doorway as clumsiness.

Consequently, most of the time, despite having an actual diagnosis, I answer "no" to this question most of the time. Like the author, the conversation of "but you don't seem disabled" is one I usually wish to avoid, and when you start saying dys- people automatically fill in dyslexia and ignore what you actually said.


Blind person here. Another related issue is when to tell people about your disability (when you're just exchanging texts/emails, but you expect to meet up physically at some point). This very often comes up when job-seeking. I had to deal with this a couple weeks ago (not job-related) and it was extremely hard for me. In this case, it was a group of approx. 30 people that I interacted with for a few weeks before coming out, and that made the situation even harder.


I'm colorblind and I always wonder if I should answer yes because of that.


I knew a colorblind person with a Graphics Design degree. He got by by using a color picker to read the RGB values. He ended up switching careers.


Having someone colour-blind involved in the design at least guarantees that it's accessible to them.


Involved yes. But it is quite limitation in terms of creating design that is not wtf for majority.


I learned about colorblindness in a scientific visualization seminar. Before that seminar I wasn't aware that my choice of color scheme meant that some people couldn't interpret my plots. Now that I know, it's really easy to just google a colorblind friendly color palette and use that instead. I wish I had known earlier, and I hope that by people talking about it and hosting seminars like the one I attended it becomes a more standard practice.


Go to an NFB[1] convention and ask them.

[1] https://www.nfb.org/


I think if I were to do that, it would be considered rude. But this seems to be related to what the author is saying. How disabled is disabled enough? The author is autistic, but to most people she appears non-autistic, and she didn't even know herself until age 42, and people question whether she's disabled enough to be considered disabled.


You can be diagnosed from childhood and people will still question an Autism diagnosis if you can hold down a job. Which is why the correct answer to this question is always no unless accommodations are absolutely nessecary.


The neurodiversity argument always seems to me a misguided one. It argues that these neurological identities/configurations are not inherent problems but just differences which are only made to have negative effects on the person's life by societal preconception and bigotry. Those things do make it much worse and need to change, but I would argue that doesn't stop these brain-states from being independently troublesome. The author mentions problems with speech processing, speaking, sensory overload, sleeping, getting out of bed, eating, smells, textures, and navigation. None of those problems were created by society and none of them can be fixed by the neurodiversity paradigm.


    The author mentions problems with speech processing, speaking, 
    sensory overload, sleeping, getting out of bed, eating, smells,
    textures, and navigation. None of those problems were created by
    society 
Your understanding of the neurodiversity movement isn't correct.

Neither the article nor the movement in general claims that society "created" her difficulty performing those things.

The neurodiversity movement points out (correctly, IMO) that lots of people with behavioral "disabilities" are in fact quite able, but need to do things differently and may need accommodations.

It says that autism and other behavioral health issues are not necessarily inherently "bad" (just as being in a wheelchair is not inherently bad) but we fail as a society when fail to accommodate such folks.

Broadly I agree wholeheartedly with this. Ultimately it's a message of ability. It is a movement by and for people who want to achieve and be a part of society. As somebody with diagnosed ADHD this is how I approach things as well. I don't consider it a disability. I just tend to do things a little differently.

A valid criticism of the neurodiversity movement is that it seems to gloss over the fact that, well, often behavioral health issues are genuinely debilitating. A schizophrenic who hears voices in their head would probably not claim that it is some hidden strength.

On the whole though, I think the movement is a good thing. It is ultimately a message of ability and a call for inclusiveness.


What sort of mental gymnastics does it take to convince yourself not being able to walk isn't inherently bad? Not being able to walk is bad. Not being able to fly is bad. Not being immortal is bad. Inabilities are bad regardless of what the "normal" state is. Society and accommodation could make up for 90% of the downsides but being confined to a wheelchair will never be a neutral status.


    What sort of mental gymnastics does it take to 
    convince yourself not being able to walk isn't 
    inherently bad?
Of course it's inherently bad. But it is not necessarily deabilitating -- unless of course you're forced to navigate a world where you can't use your wheelchair, etc.


> Society and accommodation could make up for 90% of the downsides

Why not 100%? For every downside you can come up with, can't you imagine some possible way for society to make up for it? Here's a simple one: calculate the value of whatever the disabled person is missing out on, and pay them a cash compensation.


How much are your legs worth to you? Really think about the question. How much would someone have to pay you for you to be happy for them to take them away from you? For me I can't put a number on that. I can't imagine any degree of compensation that would make me glad to make the exchange.


I can't put a number on that either. I could probably put numbers on very specific things I'd miss out on. But I'd never run out of those.


> It says that autism and other behavioral health issues are not necessarily inherently "bad" (just as being in a wheelchair is not inherently bad) but we fail as a society when fail to accommodate such folks.

You know, when I put on ramp for someone with wheelchair, it is done. It takes some space, alright, but mostly does not affect healthy peoples days.

When I am yelled at and get insulted by an autistic because I personally did not done things in the exact required routine, then it is not nearly the same thing. It is not that we should not accommodate people with issues. But pretending these are not issues that dont affect others is not accurate either.


When you get insulted by a neurotypical person, you'd call that person a jerk. But when you get insulted by an autistic person, the problem is that they are autistic?

There are plenty of autists who go through life without 'yelling at and insulting' people.


Again, the neurodiversity movement does not claim that every single behavioral health issue nor every manifestation of every behavioral health issue is a good thing.

I like how this is all about you. "Neurodiversity is b.s. because somebody with autism yelled at me!"

In case this is what you need to hear, I am sorry a person yelled at you. That's not fair to you and I am sure it was unpleasant.


Did you know there are folks out here arguing for an even stronger version of this position? The 'social model of disability' is the name for the wider notion that includes the neurodiversity argument/paradigm to which you refer, and applies to all other disabilities. On this view, all the problems you mention are only problems because society doesn't give affected people enough support (ETA; to clarify (or rather, to give my best interpretation of the position I don't actually hold): material support. Not just lack of 'societal preconception and bigotry').

It's an ethical/political (and maybe economic?) position.

Edit: noticed SM is mentioned in the article.


    On this view, all the problems you mention are only 
    problems because society doesn't give affected people 
    enough support 
Sure, it's possible to reductio ad absurdum the "social model", just like nearly anything else.

"Being in a coma isn't a problem! It just makes you different. The problem is society's refusal to cater to the workplace needs of people in a vegetative coma state!"

All the social model aims to do is think about a separation of the impairment itself and the ways in which society may make it worse.

In some cases, sure. Lots of impairments will just be debilitating no matter what. Somebody in a coma is not going to be able to participate in society very much.

Lots of counterexamples though. For example, imagine a skilled software developer. However, she needs a wheelchair and she can't work anywhere in town because none of the buildings have wheelchair access. A perfectly able developer has been rendered disabled (or at least, unable to work) by this fact. This is somebody who could be working, if we simply build wheelchair ramps or allowed her to work from home.


> All the social model aims to do is think about a separation of the impairment itself and the ways in which society may make it worse.

The aim is merely a change in thinking? I'm pretty sure one aim is to get more resources to support disabled (or impaired) people. And that's fine. We live in a society.

What's not fine is the rhetorical trickery (motivated redefinitions of words) deployed as part of the SM.


It's a bleak, paranoid take to feel that people are attempting "trickery" when raising issues like these.

It is not a redefinition of the word "disabled" -- it is a reexamination of what actually leads to a person being "disabled."


Call me pragmatic but I think the answer is simple. If it benefits you to say you are disabled and you have a qualifying disability, medically supported, then say yes, say you are disabled. If it does not benefit you to say you're disabled and the disability is not entirely obvious to others who you don't interact with on a regular basis, then say no. Some might not like it, but if the disability is of the sort that there's some sort of contention on whether to say yes or no, then the line isn't particularly firm.


That is itself abusing the system and makes it worse for those who need it. There are benefits for the disabled that some technically qualify for that are meant for those worse off than they are.

Unfortunately I don't know how to draw the line - that is why it is possible to abuse the system: some who need the benefits may seem better off than others who don't need them. This same argument prevents some who really should take benefits from taking them! All I can say is be careful and please don't cheat the system - everyone who cheats is evidence that we need to tighten the rules even at the expense of not giving benefits to those who need them.

It is a hard problem.


There is always someone who is worse off than you are. If the rules say you are sufficiently disabled to get accommodations, you are. You don't abuse the system by following them.


That isn't really true. The system that is strict enough that you cannot abuse the system is the system so strict that many people who should get help are unable to get it. Particularly if the disability has a mental component, the disabled may unable to navigate a complex system that can keep out those who are faking it.

Even if you have a system that manages that: the system itself is so expensive because of fraud prevention that it isn't worth it.

Of course it depends. A few handicap parking spots are cheap. Printing user manuals in Brail is more expensive but not too bad if you limit it to those who actually know read brail. Keeping interpreter on staff for every minority language is expensive.


> If it benefits you to say you are disabled and you have a qualifying disability,


I really appreciate this post. I'm reevaulating what it means to be disabled. I still don't know how to answer, as I have learned to manage them very well, but I do still change my life based on it, and more improtantly, I think my life would have been very different without them.

Now that I've added a lower back injury to the list, I think it's tipping toward yes. Does anyone know if you say no on this form and then ask for an accomidation for something, like, say, a chair - is that okay?


Thoughtful article. I've had similar feelings about myself and whether or not I'm disabled. My left arm is crooked from two childhood injuries and doesn't turn over more than about 30%, it's called a Madelung deformity[1], it showed itself after my second injury when my arm was healing from a fracture when I was 10 years old.

Most of the time, it's pretty invisible for me and everyone else, but there are things in day-to-day life that are a chore if I think about it, such as cutting food with a knife, exercising, or even trying to hold something at a certain angle with my hand can be uncomfortable. It's kind of silly, but I also can't play guitar standing up, as the angle of turning my wrist over is too uncomfortable to stay in position on the fretboard. Sitting down is similar, but I can play longer as I can hold my elbow closer to my body.

[1]https://radiopaedia.org/articles/madelung-deformity?lang=us


Ultimately, "disability" (the word irks me because it's a weasel word) is ultimately normative and teleological. That is, someone is disabled when they lack something they ought to. Pace Hume about is/ought, human nature is your reference point about what ought to be the case. Despite what teleophobic biologists claim, biology could not function without telos. Indeed, no science could because there would be no explanation for why a particular effect results from a particular cause.

In a mechanistic universe, no such teleology exists and nothing truly makes sense anymore. But for the most part, mechanists, like skepticists, exist only in highly rarefied environments like graduate seminars, or deployed selectively to rationalize some perverse desire. And when this mechanism does enter daily life, it does so to their detriment.


So I have a spectrum disorder that affects the eyes. At this point, I can only see poorly but it’s still good enough to walk around safely in the world. Glasses don’t help.

Yet, I am not disabled. One day I’ll be legally blind and then I’ll be disabled.

I think if there is a spectrum issue then some people will be in the spectrum but not count as disabled. Autism is a poorly understood disorder at least when it comes to determining how it affects your life. Maybe in the future it will have a legal definition that can be easily tested for.

I suspect that the author is closer to the norm on the spectrum since they went for 42 years of success without knowing the problem existed. That’s how it was for me with my eyes.

My brother in the other hand is autistic non verbal, and there never was any doubt he was disabled.


Literally never seen a form with this question on it.

Is this an Amercian thing?


Federal contractors (this includes many large companies, because many large companies have some government business) are required to ask.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303287804579447...


In theory if you state you are disabled, then you can also get additional assistance from the company in the form of "reasonable accommodation". As a simple example, if you are in a wheelchair, you should have (by law) access to bathrooms and any other facility you'd expect to have access to at work.

The thing is though, a wheelchair is a very easy example - it's obvious and it's understandable how acommodation can help. But when it's an invisible thing, like a cognitive issue, or hearing loss or chronic pain, it's a lot harder to address. It's easy to say "we will put in a ramp for you" for someone in a wheelchair. Not so much for the more "abstract" disabilities that aren't visible.


Being a wheelchair is also something you can't hide anyway and a prospective employer may need to know it before an in-person interview to make sure it's conducted in an accessible place.


No, it isn't. (Though maybe American started?)


The website is disabled. Throws a modal popup at the first scroll event.

As usual, archiving bypasses this nonsense: https://archive.ph/tDOQy


Can anyone comment as to how this question on employment application forms affects employability with regard to U.S. government/public sector and private sector jobs? The conventional wisdom is that "this information is optional and does not count toward eligibility", but this doesn't make sense; why would they ask this question on literally _every_ job application if it was optional and doesn't count toward anything?


It's for the annual reports and 'best place to work' advertising. Big corporations want to show how diverse they are. It might hence improve your chances to get hired if you fit at least in one of the minority categories.

Long time ago I worked in a small company were they hired a deaf girl as a trainee. One might think that it's so nice that they give disabled persons a chance (in her case the inability to hear unfortunately affected her ability to read as well, to the point that my boss discouraged me from teaching her the use of e-mail) however the company received some 100 grand/a (a lot of doe in Germany then) from the government for her professional development, so the company gained a little even if she wasn't all that productive. I don't think the company had any intention to hire her afterwards.


Beautiful essay. I know I am on autistic spectrum, but I decided to not get officially diagnosed because of the issues mentioned in the article. I fear that if I disclose autism I will limit my chances at getting jobs. I could imagine someone would have reservations putting "mentally challenged" person in charge of their data or infrastructure, despite my impeccable track record.


I have the same question. I’ve had a trans-metatarsal amputation on one foot and the little toe and the bone behind it on the other. My balance is way off and I move like I’m 20 years older than I am. Yet, I hesitate to say I’m disabled because I can still move (not run at all, but I can still walk). I don’t think disabled, I guess, at least not in public.

It’s a kind of personal question to be asking.


Yeah I feel the same, I broke an achilles and had a full reconstruction (where they steal a muscle/tendon from your big toe and you sort of have to learn to walk again, teach that muscle to do something different), I can happily walk, but I'll probably never run.

While was doing all the operations and recovery/physio/etc I had a disabled driving permit, couldn't walk a block on crutches, but gave it up once I could walk again, there are people who need those spots more than me.

I think that disability is a continuum, I've certainly moved around within that, it could be anyone, it could be you or me (I stood in a hole crossing the road, watching the traffic rather than my feet) mostly I guess we should push against there being stigma, acknowledge that disability is normal, and making sure that those with more extreme disabilities get the support they need so we can all take part in society equally


Heyyyy I'm with you here. Broke my ankle a few years ago, badly. I had surgery but recovery is... well, probably never happening, at this point.

It's invisible, but walking hurts. The more I walk, the more it hurts. Damn, I used to go on weeklong treks...

Anyway back to the "am I disabled" topic. I guess it depends on when you're asking.

Good luck!


Do you need accommodations.. officially. If not, wouldn’t you be.. not disabled, for the purposes of this question?

I ask, earnestly.


That doesn't follow in the the general case though.

You can be disabled and sometimes force yourself to do things without accomodations via willpower, but it may have consequences for your mental/physical health and shouldn't be expected of anyone.

Eg. Chronic fatigue. If you push through the boomerang effect can hit you like a truck.


The problem is with the word 'disable'. It's the negative form of 'able', and is therefore considered socially to be an inferior condition.

If we had another, standalone, word for people with various conditions and limitations it wouldn't be seen as something to pity, and people would be more open about who they are and what they can and cannot do.


Differently abled is one that I've heard. And it seems fitting since most hope to grow old, which inevitably means at least some changes in ability. Hopefully gaining some with experience even if losing others to entropy.


What if I wear eyeglasses and have to fork anything from 1% to 10% of my yearly income (in many cases even more, driven up by taxation) just to be able to see properly? It's especially bad if your economies mean you cannot afford to have at least a single backup or have one that is many years old.

It affects something so essential, but it's hard for people to recognize it.


Are eyeglasses that expensive in the Netherlands?

I live in the Czech Republic, good glasses with a titanium rim will cost about 500 eur and last for around ten years.

I personally prefer daily contact lenses (the kind that you discard before sleep) which cost me about 400 eur a year; I know this is a bit of a luxury, but even this only touches the 1% of yearly developer income. Glasses would be in the 0.x% category, depending on how much your acuity changes over time.


Bought my top quality titanium Shiluette "forks" in China for €4 per pair and also bought the repair tools in China for €30. With these low prices there's not even customs tax. I have several backups now. And the quality is even better.

You are doing something wrong.


It might be that they insisted on lenses. Glasses are a lot more expensive if you opt for the lenses.


Are there glasses that don't use lenses...?


"Not really... Maybe... It's classified."

Based on my masochistic choice for projects in past years I think I'll answer "yes" to this question. Something changed in my brain in past years because I started to enjoy projects that are a pain in the proverbial rear while the normal ones just bore me to death. And also pays better.


At least here in my country it’s a medical tribunal that tells you if you’re disabled or not, and even tells you how disabled you are with a percent. It’s an easy question with an easy answer.


The author knows they can legally answer yes, but is considering whether it is worth it to answer yes.


Usually calling yourself disabled means you get lots of advantages over normal people so why not?


If you can't figure that out from TFA, I'm not sure that I can help you.


Don’t beat yourself up, I didn’t read it.


I actually admitted this to myself lately.

Hits hard. But its time to take a break, and heal.

Being human is so raw. Disease is such a dual edged sword. So many feelings i think i would never have had.


In America, indicating you are disabled is like painting a target on your back. This is why this article exists in the first place - it highlights the fact that Americans (and other undeveloped nations) basically follow nature. If someone is unfit to survive in their environment, then they will eventually end up being absorbed back into nature. The fallacy that I can't live with, is that some people try to pretend that there is a safety net.

I've got a 2 year old who is deaf / blind and has serious cognitive issues. Since me and my wife both do well in the game of capitalism - we are entitled to none of whatever "safety net" exists.

If you can survive without showing your disability, that's what works best in America. There are horror stories of people losing entire careers and there way of life - because they told their superior about the burdens of raising disabled children. Its better to hide these truths, everyone will have a better chance of survival.


> There are parents so appalled by the prospect of having an autistic child that they knowingly expose their children to infectious diseases – potentially fatal ones – because they have been led to believe that vaccination causes autism. When a difference is stigmatised to that degree, it has a wretched effect on the mental health of those who bear it

My parents ended up as antivaxxers when 2 of my siblings were diagnosed with autism. My 3 youngest sisters aren’t vaccinated, and one of my autistic brothers isn’t up to date on his. Which is crazy to realize that damn, my mother would rather risk having my little sisters die from a horrible disease than risk them being anything like their neurodivergent siblings. I’m the eldest, and with adhd I was always treated differently, but not to the same degree. This passage really helped me understand the anguish that has lead to multiple suicide attempts by one of my brothers.


This might be controversial but here goes...

On the other side of the coin I had an unforgettable interview experience for a role that really questioned my pro-viewpoint on disability in the workplace. Prior to this interview I was a firm believer that anybody should do the job they want and overcome obstacles. Afterwards, ths changed.

Prior to the interview, the recruiter phoned me and said "Just a heads up, you might have a little difficulty in speaking with the CTO due to his disability, but I'm sure you'll be OK". A slightly odd conversation but I appreciated the information ahead of time.

Upon arriving at the conference room the lead engineer (Alice) said "Bob [CTO] works remote and a word of warning - you might have a little difficulty in understanding what he says, but don't worry I can help if you get stuck". That's now two people who have warned me.

Bob had a degenerative illness which made his speech stutter and slur heavily.... to the point I could not understand _anything_ he said. Nothing. It was like trying to understand someone who's clearly drunk more than they should, to the point of nearly blacking out (I'm serious here).

When he joined the company 10 years prior he was perfectly fit and healthy, and within 5 years became CTO of the startup. He was still healthy at this point. All good.

Bob developed illness which impaired his speech so much _every question_ he asked me had to "repeated" by Alice sitting at the table beside me. Every word that came out of Bob's mouth had to be "repeated".

It was impossible to verbally communicate with Bob wihtout Alice present to translate. It took 2 very long minutes to ask "how are you today?" at the interview start. 120 seconds. How was anybody going to effectively communicate with this person on a daily basis or have technical verbal discussions!? If they said communication would be written text only with the CTO I doubt I would have accepted the interview.

To me engineering is all about communication. You communicate ideas in varying degrees of technical depth to cater for your audience, who in turn communicate their ideas to other parties - be it board level, juniors, external parties or even the accounting department. Communication was totally broken here.

What was most concerning was Bob didn't seem feel his disability was serious enough to step down from such a role (or management didn't want to suggest he step down... maybe through fear of law suit?). His inability to verbally communicate anything would have a bit impact on their product development.

The company did ask me to return for a second/final interview (they phoned the recruiter within minutes of me leaving the building..) but I politely declined. It would have been impossible to work with Bob.


I don't think this is terribly controversial. this is where the "reasonable" part of "reasonable accommodations" comes into play. you need to find a way for wheelchair users to navigate your office building. you don't need to find a way for blind people to fly airplanes.

in bob's case, he has ten years worth of company technical/product knowledge in his head. he probably still has a lot to contribute to the company, but they ought to find a role for him where so much verbal communication is not required. maybe they have already done this, and bob actually spends most of his time talking to people who are familiar enough not to need an interpreter.


"Reasonable" is a perfectly good word for it - unfortunately I found it impossible to efficiently communicate with Bob. You raise a good point about others adapting to his needs. Apart from one other person, everyone in the engineering team had been there >5yrs.


You understand that by the same or similar logic, you would have written off Stephen Hawking, yes?


He is the exception to the rule in many ways and had some of the best engineers helping with the communication aspect. It's not really comparing apples to apples.


Did you ever see Stephen communicating in real time? Not a prepared speech, but a live conversation? It took him a great deal of time and effort even to form a single sentence. Yes he had a lot of help, but you would still have had to wait while he spoke; two minutes for a sentence is probably not far off.

From your original comment:

> It was impossible to verbally communicate with Bob wihtout Alice present to translate. It took 2 very long minutes to ask "how are you today?" at the interview start. 120 seconds. How was anybody going to effectively communicate with this person on a daily basis or have technical verbal discussions!? If they said communication would be written text only with the CTO I doubt I would have accepted the interview. > To me engineering is all about communication. You communicate ideas in varying degrees of technical depth to cater for your audience, who in turn communicate their ideas to other parties - be it board level, juniors, external parties or even the accounting department. Communication was totally broken here. > What was most concerning was Bob didn't seem feel his disability was serious enough to step down from such a role (or management didn't want to suggest he step down... maybe through fear of law suit?). His inability to verbally communicate anything would have a bit impact on their product development.

> ... It's not really comparing apples to apples.

I disagree, it's an apt comparison. Bob obviously had sufficient technical experience to do his job, that's why he still had it, in spite of the communication problem. Stephen Hawking likewise had valuable contributions to make in his own field and had to communicate those ideas widely, so people helped him to communicate and looked past the difficulties; they didn't find it concerning that he wouldn't step down because he couldn't speak.

The fact that you couldn't work with Bob's speech issues is, frankly, your problem, not his.


I don't identify with being disabled, but I have to be careful to keep my nerves from flaring up. For me there's a fine line between 'somewhat functional' and 'invalid'.

Two years ago, on a submission titled "Laziness Does Not Exist but unseen barriers do", one of you all used the term "invisible disabilities" [0]. I found this to be descriptive of what I've experienced since I knocked myself out at the lake when I was 17 years old. From my reply to [0], "I used to think I mostly recovered from that head injury, but I've recently realized that it left me rather non-functional. I'm making progress, but I guess I'm 'invisibly disabled', in certain ways."

In the beginning I went to some doctors trying to figure out my nerve condition. One of the tragedies of modern medicine [1] is how sometimes doctors diagnose their patient and treat the diagnosis, instead of looking deeper for causes behind the patient's symptoms. Such is the essential nature of a 10-minute office visit. I did get a helpful idea recently -- a PA suggested my one symptom indicated 'allergies'. My subsequent searches turned up better treatments than the medications I was prescribed.

Recently I made a disability-act complaint with the state attorney general's office about being discriminated against by a business. The main thing was they didn't realize they did anything wrong, and I'm not the only person getting discriminated against in that specific way. I figured that by making the complaint I was also helping others who are similarly 'invisibly disabled', much worse than I am, who aren't capable of figuring out how to stand up for themselves against societal idiocy. The state Attorney General's office was swamped with similar complaints. It was 1.5 months before my intake interview. I don't know how many complaints they decide to go with, but I had my story and documentation in order and the AG's office agreed to file charges on my behalf. I bet the business won't even remember me.

tl/dr: many people have chronic conditions. Sometimes people can recover, sometimes they won't, but I think it important to help people maintain 'hope' that they can do something to improve their situation, or find some insight into their predicament that provides a silver lining. Christopher Reeves' [2] comes to mind. Two quotes:

"When we have hope, we discover powers within ourselves we may have never known- the power to make sacrifices, to endure, to heal, and to love. Once we choose hope, everything is possible."

"You play the hand you’re dealt. I think the game’s worthwhile."

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17721273

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25355990

[2] actor who played Superman (1978) & became a quadriplegic in 1995 after falling off a horse...


Don't worry scro. there's lots of tards out there living really kick ass lives. My ex wife is tarded. She's a pilot now.


Why does the first world have the smallest of problems?

Everytime i open social media someone has some disease I have never heard of but when googled has the same symptoms of a basic cough. lol.

You should come to India. People here are quite chilled out when it comes to physical or mental problems. They dont see a form and go well. This hurts my feelings


I don't see a form like this and think "This hurts my feelings :(". I see this form and go "Oh shit, so do I say I'm disabled and get discriminated against now, or do I say I'm not disabled and then get retaliated against for dishonesty later?". I've been rejected from jobs before for being disabled and being disabled is expensive.

Here is how "chill" the situation is in India by the way: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/feb/27/i...


My dad is mentally disabled. Yeah. So much so he has to visit the mental hospital twice. Stayed locked up for two weeks straight. Yeah. We are economically well off only because my grandpa had good estates and stable income. My father somehow got his degree in Economics. He somehow got to the point that he is now well respected at the age of 58. The condition my father has is far far worse than the mere depression every American and first world country seems to have and call it disability.

I am more often talking about mental disability BTW. I should have been more clear. There are problems here too. But its only for the severe causes. Mere depressions which these days are shown more as coolness and victimhood are symptoms of the first world. When you are worried what you will be eating or feeding your child at night, you don't have time for depression. You are worried and tensed but not depressed. In first world country you are far well off. You guys are worried about stupid reasons. Yeah. They are stupid.

Come live in a third world country once. You will understand what I am saying. Victimhood here won't last you far. You will starve.


Disabled isn't a label I decided to start call myself it was more something imposed on me which was used as a sometimes successful pretext to exclude me from school, work, youth groups, etc. My disability is simply considered a matter of medical fact, if I ever found myself in a custody battle I couldn't argue I wasn't disabled. I went though my childhood actively angry and embarassed every time somebody was told about my disability and wished for it to stop. Disabled people don't nessecarily have a choice in being portrayed as a victim that choice is thrust upon them my the medical establishment and if you don't want to be treated as a victim you have to jump through hoops to mask your victim status. It's not like all disabled people in the first world were on Tumblr and went "You know what - I feel kind of bipolar" and that was their identity from then on.

I hate this question BECAUSE it pressures me into admitting I have a disability, that I'm a "victim", when I would rather not do that. Victimhood doesn't get you ahead in the first world either - that's why so many disabled people react negatively to this question - because it makes others see you as either a victim (if you say yes) or a liar (if you say no). Just listen to how you perceive disabled people in the first world - in my situation wouldn't I have every incentive to hide my diagnosis from you to hide that fact from somebody like you so you didn't see me as a whiner taking advantage of sympathy for disabled people to seem cool?

P.S. The first world is seeing self-reported depression and suicide rising simultaneously. Certainly some people think it's cool to be depressed, but maybe more is going on than westerners becoming image obsessed given people are killing themselves more and more.


Lumping everyone together just due to national origin, state or city of residence, skin color, gender, sexual orientation, disability, etc, is a large problem for those affected. When people who mentally, emotionally, sexually, or physically put you through a living hell for things that are immutable traits you can't really change. You can be denied work, assistance, Healthcare, vision care, dental care, all for no reason, even when those services are I expensive. The average US citizen would probably lose housing for any unexpected expense of just $400. It's saddening that if you can afford that, you're in the top 20% of society that's effectively unimaginable for the rest of us. That's not good, and much of that is due to extreme corruption at the political / governmental level, as well as abuse by police. No matter your zip code, the place can walk into your housing without announcing themselves, shoot you to death while being unarmed and cooperative and then get away with with zero criminal punishment. That happens nearly every day. I've personally been physically, mentally and emotionally abused on the whole basis of my autism and DID with no particular social, emotional, or cognitive issues aside from cheap medicine that is required to keep things reasonable and stable. People always give me a hard time, and tell me they know "my disease" (which isn't a disease) better than I do, despite nrvrt having looked it up, not any relevant medical literature or legitimate studies peer reviewed in journals. We've nearly died dozens of times, most within the last few 16 months, due to intentional medical mismanagement, including forced against will to take unnecessary heart and liver medication for illnesses we've never had any symptoms of, and forced down and beaten for requesting food, water, ans being allowed to be able to use the toilet. I've been held down, hit repeated in the head and face until seizures occurred, then denied medical treatment for the bleeding, cuts, gashes, or severe PTSD that lasted for 8+ months after. Saying "Americans have it easy" is itself lazy and easy to do if you've never had to live among ordinary people who have real difficulties. We ask fur help, and the government denies assistance while claiming that our number is in the system so if course we're getting stellar aid, even as their own accounting says we've never 4vrn been contacted. Our own calls, letters, visits to offices getting ignored for literally years at a time. Our own political representation literally doing nothing while police punish victims for reporting serious violations of law.

Don't be lazy and assume that anyone else has it easy, especially minorities, women, and the disabled. If I were allowed just $15-20/week for food, I'd be suffering a lot less from constant hunger than I am. Trying to get that much money while forced into Adult Foster Care is almost impossible, requiring many hours of work to fill out surveys and job applications that are never responded to. I'm smart, relatively alright, and there are the only open work for a high school graduate. I am told I'm not eligible for student grants due to paperwork that was misfiled after receipt due to someone else refusing to do their paid job. There no way 8 could afford $50,000 out of pocket, or waste 4 years at 38 to get a degree with no reasonable chance at getting a job. I'd have to pay several times more, go to one of the top ivy league schools just to get a 20+% chance if receiving what is termed "substantial gainful employment", which would more than likely be 60 hours a week at the local $10.75 minimum wage, which up until the last ~2 years, was one of the jihad minimums in the entire country.

So thank you for your input. I don't expect you to read this. There are far too many words present due to autism. But please don't presume to understand the legitimate struggles of people on "first world" countries, many of whom are not treated well if they fail to be born white male, and upper class. We are reminded of the birth caste system in India, of which I read about many office employees usually men, who are born into the "wrong caste" and are actively discriminated on in US workplaces, even inside global multinational corporations such as Microsoft and Amazon. Occasionally to the point of being murdered for it.

I don't believe that many people have a truly good and privileged existence. I don't make those assumptions except about sociopaths who think they can rightly victimize others and get away with it through manipulation, lying, and money. People, including yourself, could stand to be a lot more empathetic and kind. It's not required of you but it does help others who may or may not be worse off than you or I. Thanks.


Sounds like you misunderstood the point of the article. Not surprising, since it's written as a cryptic poem.

The question is meant more as a metaphor for a larger problem american culture (in particular) has with lumping a lot of very different things together as "disabilities" and the problems that stem from doing that.

Like the author said, if a (public) building is physically inaccessible by a significant subset of the population then the building design is the thing that needs attention and reconsideration not the people.

In other words, we should put more effort into designing systems and things that accommodate differences rather than asking people to identify with the poorly defined and highly contextual term "disabled" as if that's a solution to anything.

That's closer to the point of the article, despite going over and over the question for the sake of poetry.


Yeah, and depressed/inattentive Indians are just lazy, right? Those who kill themselves were just weak? What about those with heart problems?

But I digress, your problem in this case is that you "open social media" (made up of millions of people worldwide) and seem to compare it against just your own experience. I'm glad you're healthy.


Anyone who claims that Indian people don't make big issues out of small problems has never been stuck behind one in a queue.




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