Everybody is Okay Faking Disability When It Comes to TV Characters (1/2)

We can all think of an instance where a character in a movie or TV show that has a HUGE reveal that they are faking their disability for personal gain.

https://media.giphy.com/media/26ufdipQqU2lhNA4g/giphy.gif
Gif of mind blown meme via Giphy.

It’s so common. And I know why.

There are going to be spoilers for a lot of these shows and movies so I’m giving you a warning. But honestly, if a show is lazy enough to continue on with these tropes, I don’t think you should waste your time with it.

This is a two-part post about how faking disability in media or even an abled actor playing a disabled character (and even worse with no disabled person involved in the production of the project like a writer or director either) is harmful and feeds into the misconceptions of disabilities and complicity of ongoing unnecessary struggles.

This leads to a lot of misinformation spread and perceptions that are ableist.

If you constantly absorb something that tells you that someone is faking a disability, it teaches you to question if others are faking too.

If you constantly absorb something that shows a specific disability has to look a certain way, it teaches you to question who is disabled.

If they don’t fit a certain criteria that you often encounter with the media you consume, then they must be faking!

Gif of a clip of Basketball Wives accusing of being fake with text “You FAKE and you PHONY” via Giphy.

Hell. One of the arguments against food stamps is because someone might be faking. Also, getting on a disability program is ridiculously difficult and is a process that could take years to prove that you are disabled enough to need help.

They just want to make sure you’re not faking it! No worries. You just have to somehow survive until your court date even you can’t work. It’ll just be a few years.

And if it’s an invisible illness, you’re questioned even more.

But lots of people are totally FINE for actors to fake disabilities for a role or for a character to show how evil they are (this is so common and overdone to the point where you can easily GUESS when this will happen).

When a character reveals they aren’t disabled, it’s supposed to be surprising. They are so awful, right? What a terrible person!

SPOILERS for CW’s The Flash:

The character of Harrison Wells is the perfect example of this. He uses a wheelchair when he doesn’t need to because we all know evil people do this to show how evil they are.

He is later revealed to be the villain of the show and that he is actually abled after all! What a SURPRISE! Honestly, they could have done this without him faking but they wanted to add that extra “dramatic” flare to it.

Gif of Joey from Friends with a wide-opened mouth, looking shocked via Giphy.

What if Harrison Wells was actually paralyzed and still could use his powers with his wheelchair because maybe he used technology from Star Labs that made his wheelchair be able to be used with his super speed so it didn’t break?

But honestly, if they are going to use an abled actor, don’t make them disabled (and I will explain why this sucks in part two).

This continues to feed the notion that ambulatory wheelchair users can’t exist which is BS. I use a mobility device when I participate in something that requires lots of walking and/or standing or even when I need to save my “spoons” so I can shower or cook later. So can we please stop erasing people’s real experiences?

SPOILERS for Insatiable:

We also have characters like Dixie who fakes needing a wheelchair too to show how “horrible” she is and the reveal is also made to be dramatic.

SPOILERS for an episode of Monk:

And I recall someone talking about a scene in Monk, where a wheelchair user is faking it because their shoes are dirty. Because wheelchair users NEVER stand right?

SPOILERS for Sierra Burgess is a Loser:

Another reason why I hated this movie is because she fakes being deaf in one scene and it’s played off as “cutsey” and still gets everything in the end despite all the horrible shit she pulled by writing a song. But that’s a rant for another day.

Stories like these are constant and used repeatedly.

SPOILERS for Glee:

Glee has Quinn fake being not able to stand when she could because she wanted to extra votes to be prom queen. Again, another dramatic reveal.


A scene from Glee Season 3 Episode 19 when Finn finds Quinn standing in the restroom.

However, I feel like this one is a bit different since Quinn is probably still ambulatory at this point. So it’s not like she doesn’t need her wheelchair anymore EVER since she is recovering.

But it does still feed into the notion that standing/walking equals you don’t need a mobility device.

Faking disability is bad and people should know that but if you continue to write stories like this, disabled people are going to be harassed because they might be faking it to get those shitty–most–of–the–time–the–bare–minimum “benefits” that keep you poor.

Why would I pretend to be disabled to be continuously harassed like this? To be seen as a burden? To be told I am too young to have my experiences? To be scared to use a mobility device even though I need to? To have people tell me to get over it? To go to constant doctor appointments every fucking week? To not be able to go out with friends? To not be able to take a fucking Uber or Lyft because they are also SUPER scented? To be told I’m not doing things right? To be told I’m not doing enough? To be–to be the person who you tell you would kill yourself if you were me.

Tired Neil Patrick Harris rubbing his forehead via Giphy.

There are plenty of people who argue that these stories are FINE to have constantly have characters who fake disability because that dramatic REVEAL THO! Because it shows HOW TERRIBLE they are tho!

It shouldn’t be a dramatic or a reveal when someone gets up from their wheelchair or stops using a mobility device.

It shouldn’t be questioned if I use a mobility device one day and don’t on a different day.

You know there’s a big chance a character is faking when the actor is able-bodied. I can sense it. Every. Damn. Time. It’s supposed to be the twist.

Hell! I’m shocked if there isn’t this kind of twist and especially if the disabled character is a villain.

There are literally millions of different stories you can write without using this harmful, predictable, AND boring AF narrative.

Accusing people of faking does more harm to those who are disabled.

Faking a disability to receive the “benefits” (I prefer necessities to be able to survive) is extremely difficult and many go without when they really need it.

I don’t want to be harassed if I use a parking placard anymore.

I don’t want to feel anxious because I got up from my wheelchair and I walk a certain way which deems me as not disabled to many people’s point of views.

In real life, people care if someone could be faking. But they don’t mind it when they see it as the common narrative in stories. I guess it doesn’t cost them money? I don’t know though. Watching this same narrative is a waste of money too.

What about abled actors who play disabled roles and fake being disabled? Is this a problem?

Easy. Yes.

The Ways Disabled People are Exploited for “Heartwarming” Feels

Have you encountered a video where an abled person helps a disabled person because due to something being inaccessible (like helping someone over a step)?

Or maybe a disabled person is minding their own business and walking around? Then someone films them and posts how inspiring they are just by simply existing in public.

Or a disabled person was denied a service because of discrimination and an abled person fulfills that service and the focus of the story is not the discrimination… But that an abled “savior” helped a disabled person.

Or an abled person did anything remotely nice to a disabled person like giving them a present and the abled person is deemed as a heavenly saint because they treat a disabled person like you would everyone else.

What about articles using the words, “despite their [insert disability here],” they can do [insert activity or accomplishment]”?


GIF of Andy Samberg smiling with text that states, “Believe in your dreams.”

The Mazes of Suffering Created by Abled People

First of all, WHY IS IT ACCEPTABLE TO FILM STRANGERS without their CONSENT?

I get it if you’re filming yourself and getting others in the video because you have no control of the environment. But if you’re going around filming with the focus of getting footage of random people or even people who you know and haven’t consented that is very concerning and creepy.

I just wanted to get that out of the way because I guess we still have to remind others that filming strangers is not something you should do. Especially without their consent and then also POSTING it without their consent.

Disabled people struggle. A lot.

And many struggles are actually unnecessary.

On top of the health condition(s), we have to deal with horrendous practices of doctors and the broken health system in general, isolation, inaccessibility, ableism, guilt, shame, and more.

A lot of these extra barriers don’t have to be there. But they remain because abled people love to watch us struggle and we try our best to evade and break these unnecessary barriers.

But people LOVE to hear these stories about people who struggle and accomplished something that they think wouldn’t be feasible for a disabled person to do.

When one of us can somehow deflect some of these barriers and accomplish something, we are inspirational because of this.

Oh, yes.

It is so inspirational that we have to struggle with broken elevators on our way to the doctor and we can’t take the stairs because we’re in pain or we are unable.

It is so inspirational that we have to struggle with the school’s disability services that won’t help at all or we can’t access because we are not “disabled enough” by their standards so we can’t write notes because laptops aren’t allowed in classes anymore. And to top it all, we can’t afford to get a doctor’s note.

It is so inspirational that we have to struggle to access healthcare to manage our symptoms so we can go to work or be able to even do self-care needs like showering and cooking.

It is so inspirational that an abled person held a door open for us when that door could be made to be automatic anyway. But an abled person opened it for us. They are an angel. Let’s give them all the cookies for being a decent person. WHAT A HEARTWARMING STORY!

Oh, look! An abled person gave a disabled person a present! OMG! My faith in humanity is back! Someone was nice to a disabled person for once.

I hope you know that all of that was sarcasm.

Think of it this way.

People are inspired because disabled people struggle with inaccessibility and also view us as lesser people. They can change things to be more accessible but make excuses as to why they won’t.

It is preferred to be inspired by people’s hardship and suffering. Why would they want to make life easier when they can watch us struggle?

We have to suffer to get to an abled person’s level.

If a disabled person can do it, as an abled person you can definitely do it, too!

Gif of Steve Austin telling Vince Mcmahon, “This is inspiration, man.”

We are expected to be worthless and when we do accomplish something, it is inspiring.

“Oh, look! You’re not so worthless after all!” they screamed.

This is why it’s very offensive to share these kinds of “inspirational” videos. They are exploitative and ignore the real issues.

People even say to “use” these videos as inspiration to get through their day.

Disabled people aren’t here to inspire you. We are just like everyone else. Why do I have to remind people that disabled people are PEOPLE too and that we are equal to abled people?

People love to deflect that they are exploiting disabled people with but it’s “heartwarming” or a “positive” thing so people should stop being so “negative.”

Of course, it’s a positive thing when a person gifts something to another. But would you film this if it were an abled person gifting another abled person? Probably not. That’s not ever a video that would go viral. So you wouldn’t. It wouldn’t give you that rush of “heartwarming” feels.

What about discrimination?

There was a story about how a disabled person was discriminated against because of her condition at a nail salon. The focus of it was the abled person who painted her nails and how kind she was because of this.

WHAT? HELLO? So we’re just going to accept that this nail salon is discriminating against someone? Where is the justice in that?

Again, an abled person was so kind to a disabled person. So let’s just give them all the glory and never change anything.

Everyone’s Circumstances are Different

It is often also ignored that everyone has access to different things. There are many disabled people who wouldn’t have been able to accomplish anything without access to healthcare, mobility device(s), and support from their family and friends.

Do you think someone like any disabled sports player could compete without healthcare? Obviously not! A lot of the time, they have the best access to the things they need because they can afford it.

So you’re setting up a lot of people to fail if you keep preventing them from gaining the access they need.

Not everyone can afford these things.

Do you think Stephen Hawking would have been able to do the work he did without his mobility devices and healthcare?

It’s all a maze of suffering created by abled people who often think disabled people don’t need access to many of these things and are surprised when we somehow make it through all the BS.

Not everyone has the support of family and friends either.

Disabilities are a spectrum so two people with the same condition can have different capabilities. People often compare disabled people and scold anybody who isn’t able to be “successful” like another disabled person or whatever their definition of that is.

If you’re not extraordinary as a disabled person, you are worthless and a burden.

That’s fucked up.

Your existence is valuable. If you just get through today, that’s okay. If you spend the day in bed, that’s okay.

Why must we constantly be in a shaming state? A guilty state?

The Inspiration Exploitation

It is exploitative to post these kinds of videos or create these narratives.

The whole world loves to tune to the fucked up reality show they created for disabled people.

I will be referring to this as inspiration exploitation. It’s a long ass name but it fits. (EDIT: It is also well known as inspiration porn but I think the community is moving towards fakespiration as the better term.)

I keep thinking of the exploitative stories I have come across. They tell you everything but the real issues or anything about the disabled person.

Did the disabled person consent to this? Who are they? What’s their name? What do they think and say about this? What can we do to make life easier and create a more accessible space?

Disabled people shouldn’t be used to make you feel better about yourself.

I am not here to applaud others for treating disabled people occasionally with decency.

The next time you come across a piece of media or maybe a TV show, notice how they talk about disabled people. Especially someone who accomplishes something. Count how many times they say the different variations of the word, “inspire.”

Society is built to exploit vulnerable people.

The Image of OCD in Glee: Okay but Still Bad

I haven’t noticed much representation or misrepresentation of OCD in many media outlets until recently and after I started to have chronic pain.

It’s weird to me that I didn’t because OCD has been a part of my life for much longer.

My symptoms started in high school (about seven years before chronic pain) but I was unaware what was happening because I didn’t know what it was and didn’t think much of it until it progressed (EDIT 12/27/18: ACTUALLY, they started in middle school I realized later).

And I’m not alone.

My anxiety got much worse and I can’t count the number of hours I have accidentally fed my OCD without realizing that it was doing the opposite of helping.

But it was the only way I could cope. I also didn’t have insurance during college so seeking treatment wasn’t something I could do once I realized that OCD was a part of me.

Image of me wearing an orange top and blue jeans on a penny-farthing in a Chicago museum. I was in college.

I had different rituals (and still do sometimes) and it manifested in so many ways that made things even more confusing to me. It made me even more unsure on what was going on.

A disturbing thought could come in one day and turn into something that pesters me for months or even years after.

My untreated OCD was a part of my daily routine and it would feel strange but relieving when my symptoms were sometimes low despite not seeking treatment.

College was a mixture of studying, going to classes, being stressed about tests, working part-time, and OCD poking me and feeling forced to do things I didn’t want to do. It felt like I didn’t have a choice because the other choice felt so horrifying.

I get confused on what’s reasonable to do and what isn’t. I have to constantly question my actions and thoughts because OCD sneaks up on me and I don’t realize it sometimes.

Gif of Alan from the Hangover doing math in his head with imaginary symbols and numbers flying all over via Giphy.

It never stops. It’s not something you can cure. But it’s something you learn to cope with.

This is what I discovered when seeking treatment.

Treatment can also differ depending on the severity.

I have yet to go on medication but I have been working on not doing the rituals and doing meditation to be more present everyday instead of being in my mind. I am also working with a therapist to relieve my symptoms.

The Stereotypes of OCD in Media

Before we get into Glee’s look at OCD, I want to talk about how OCD is already portrayed. I have never come across a form of it than the typical representation.

Let me tell you a secret that shouldn’t be a secret.

OCD is a huge spectrum that can rule over you in so many ways and is so much more complex.

This is true for all mental illnesses.

Representations usually depict OCD as being clean and avoiding germs to the extreme like wearing gloves and wiping things down.

Gif of Sailor Jupiter mopping and wiping things down via Giphy.

I’m not saying that OCD isn’t like this because this form does exist. But it’s just one aspect of it. However, the common theme is distrust and being unsure.

These feelings could be about anything, really.

It could be:

  • you are afraid of germs and are unsure that you washed your hands properly
  • you didn’t lock the door and need to check it dozens of times until you feel like you did it just right
  • something bad will happen if you do or don’t do a certain thing (in a specific way sometimes like taking only five steps to the restroom) even though it is completely unrelated
  • you unintentionally wish for something bad to happen even though you don’t mean it at all and wonder why you thought of it and think you accidentally said it out loud but you didn’t but your mind thought it did so you end up thinking about it more
  • you are afraid of aggravating symptoms again from a previous condition because it was so traumatizing so you do things to the extreme to avoid it
  • you are afraid of saying something you don’t mean

These are just a few examples but media doesn’t explore much of this and barely even scrapes the top layer of it.

A lot times, media likes to cure anything that society deems shameful and mental illness is one of these things.

For some reason, true love can make your mental illness disappear and while it can improve symptoms sometimes when you’re around someone that can keep you in the present (and not in your head) and give you support, it’s not a cure because it doesn’t exist.

Or it’s done really badly like in Monk and medication is seen as negative and no alternatives were done for treatment.

Glee’s Representation: Why I’m Still Not Impressed

Glee is one of the most recent TV shows I have watched that has a character with OCD.

It used to be my favorite show and later on I found how problematic it can be. That’s a story for another day though. I don’t have enough space for it all on this post.

Emma is a high school counselor and is hopelessly in love with a married colleague, Will, at the beginning of the show. It is made very apparent that she struggles with OCD.

A screenshot of Emma from the first episode of the series.

It’s still fresh in my mind so I thought I would discuss her character. There are some good things but there were plenty of things that really, REALLY bothered the crap out of me.

I was thinking I would separate the pros and cons but I feel like I would miss out on discussing key points on certain scenes and would be jumping back to scenes too much.

So I’m just going to celebrate the good while viciously complaining about the bad at the same time.

Emma has the typical OCD portrayal and is afraid of germs. She washes and scrubs her fruit individually and carefully for long periods of time and wears gloves often when she touches something that could be full of unwanted germs to her. She keeps her house and things clean and organized.

In one of the first scenes of Glee, Emma steps on this nasty piece of gum at school. Will saves the day and scrubs it off with his credit card. For some reason, this is deemed as “weird” and “quirky” because she didn’t want to do it.

YouTube of Will scraping off gum from Emma’s shoe.

I may have OCD but isn’t this already GROSS TO EVERYONE?

I don’t know about you guys but I and many other people wouldn’t scrub off a GIANT piece of gum with their credit card and put it back in their wallet.

Why is that an OCD moment? It makes no sense to me. Would you scrape off that gum with your credit card and be okay with it? Maybe I’m talking out of my ass here.

Moving on…

YouTube video of Emma telling Will how one of their students threw up on her.

In this next scene, a student threw up on Emma and she talks about how many times she needed to be deep cleaned despite the fact that the student vomited out of drinking too much alcohol (so it would be unlikely for her to get any illness since that’s not contagious). 

Now this is a more proper take on OCD since I would think a typical person would only need to wash themselves once and not need to follow up with any more washes to “feel” clean.

OCD isn’t about “being” something but “feeling” you did something properly no matter how long it takes. You could be stuck in a ritual for hours. Repeating actions can also lead to you repeating them more and more because it just doesn’t “feel” good enough.

Glee is no different from other shows that use OCD as a way for a character to be “quirky” which is why I think many people use the term loosely to describe a clean and organized space.

But what Glee does different is that it also shows that OCD isn’t just about being “quirky” but how debilitating it can be for a person. There are many scenes with Emma cleaning individual grapes, using gloves, wringing her hands, and how time consuming it can be to a person.

Stress is a major thing that can increase symptoms and I thought they did a great job showing this when Will invites her awful racist parents over for dinner.

This frequently happens to me when I know I will be interacting with others I don’t want to because they are ableist af and whatever I say to them doesn’t ever work. My OCD will poke at me more often and sometimes I would be so distracted by my stress that I forget that OCD is making me do things I don’t want to but it tricks me into thinking that I need to subconsciously.

Stress can lead to a relapse.

Rituals that are done are to make the feelings of stress and uneasiness feel better so it makes sense that OCD can sneak up on you. 

YouTube video of Will and Emma having an uncomfortable conversation with her parents.

Emma isn’t capable of hiding her OCD. Some people can. Some people can’t. Most of the time, I can hide it from others. Sometimes it’s easy to do so but not all the time.

I hide it because mental illness isn’t exactly widely accepted and is seen as shameful. But then again, if you’re disabled in any form you are deemed as shameful because you can’t keep up with everyone else.

Emma’s mom calls her a “freaky-dinky” when she notices her scraping a utensil and this the kind of thing is why people aren’t open about their mental illnesses. Being mocked and bullied isn’t something anyone wants.

The show claims that Emma’s OCD was manifested because her mother encouraged unnecessarily wiping down cups that were touched by a non-white person (because she’s a racist asshole).

I’m not sure how I feel about that.

If you’re extra clean about things that doesn’t necessarily mean you have OCD. But then again, if you’re taught to fear a certain thing (especially when you’re a kid and in this case germs) it could lead to this behavior.

There is a possibility Emma could still have the condition anyway even if her mother wasn’t a racist asshole because it can be genetic and neurological as well. Overall, a lot of things can factor the cause.

There is a whole episode devoted to self-acceptance and Will encourages Emma to be open about her OCD and wear a shirt that highlights that like everyone else is about their “flaws.”

I say, “flaws,” because flaws are only flaws deemed by what society thinks. Not because they are necessarily flaws.

YouTube video of Will encouraging his Glee club to accept their flaws.

Will is putting Emma in a very difficult position because he is forcing her to out her mental illness and it’s obvious she isn’t ready to do so in this episode.

What bothers me the most is that Will gets UPSET at Emma for not wanting to be open about her OCD. WHAT? Emma shouldn’t be forced to share her medical issues out in the world unless she wants to.

I understand that Will wants the students to be encouraged to accept their flaws but getting mad at someone who doesn’t want to share their mental illness when they are stigmatized to hell isn’t something anyone should do.

It’s like being asked what my disability is when I’m using a mobility device. Abled people think they deserve this information for whatever reason and can get mad if I don’t comply. I’m happy to share but sometimes I don’t want to talk about it. Some people don’t ever want to share it to strangers and that’s fine.

Also, if a person doesn’t feel safe or isn’t in a safe space they shouldn’t be forced to be open about their personal life.

I think that’s the only thing that could be a positive about this. Emma is in a safe space since the whole point is to be accepting (and she is unable to hide her rituals so everyone already suspects something) but, in reality, this could lead to harassment and more shame.

It is good to be open about these things but not without the person’s consent and safety.

And I think Will made her feel safe and comfortable to share her condition in the end but again…

This is not the case for many people. If a person shares something like this, they have to be prepared for the ableism from others.

Later in the episode, Will sings some kind of song (this is a musical show by the way) and the lyrics go along the lines of wanting to “fix” Emma.

Will and his Glee club singing “Fix You” by Coldplay

It is harmful for abled people to view others as things that need to be “fixed” because too often that is the whole focus instead of providing people the actual needed support and accommodations.

The lyrics to the song don’t fit well at all.

I get it. Will wants to relieve her of her illness. But you can’t just “fix” OCD.

Emma later decides to see a therapist and she seems to come to accept her condition (which is a major step). Earlier on in the series, she was in form of denial. She didn’t think she needed help.

It had come to the point where it was a normal thing for her to use rituals.

Like I said, I have felt that exact same way. The denial. The shame. The acceptance. The way rituals become a part of your routine that it’s weird and frightening if you forget to do one.

YouTube video of Emma discussing her condition with her therapist.

The therapist says Emma is being kept from being who she is “supposed” to be.

Everyone LOVES this line almost as if it was a pair of Gucci shoes.

But this line bothers me and it’s hard to explain. I will try though. For science.

I don’t have a problem with seeking treatment obviously but the wording of this line only brings more shame. Personally, this would make me more obsessive because I’m going to be constantly be thinking that I’m not “supposed” to be like this. Why am I like this? Why can’t I just not be mentally ill?

There is a line between accepting something and also seeking treatment and/or coping methods.

Gif of Team Rocket from Pokemon starting their famous introduction.
Jessie: “Prepare for trouble.”
James: “And make it double.”

It’s not like OCD will go to hell and never come back after treatment. It is not a cartoon villain that can be permanently defeated. This isn’t Team Rocket. There’s no blasting off here (Well, maybe it can blast off repeatedly over and over but never actually gone).

The symptoms can be relieved. It will ALWAYS be there. There is no cure.

Anyone can relapse back into rituals even after going through treatment at any point in time.

I think the better response would be:

“It is taking the time from doing the things you WANT to do.”

Nothing about who you’re supposed to be or whatever. This Glee therapist needs to be better with her words.

I guess a lot of doctors can say the wrong thing. So they have that going for them. It still doesn’t make it okay.

The therapist compared it to diabetes… Well. I’m going to do the same with my chronic pain.

It is a part of me. It is one of my disabilities. I am disabled. If I thought that I’m not “supposed” to be disabled, that it isn’t who I’m supposed to be, I would be denying a huge part of what I am and be internally ableist.

This could lead me to aggravate my pain more because I’m not “supposed” to be like this.

In a sense, Emma is right formerly. It is a part of her and that’s fine.

I get where the therapist could be coming from. Especially since Emma needs to find a way to deal with OCD because she wants to have a family and doing her rituals while changing diapers or other cleaning requirements would take too much time from her.

Again, there’s a difference setting a goal to have less symptoms and “supposed” to be something that is unrealistic.

Of course, Emma can be a loving mom and still have OCD. Even if her symptoms were severe at some point during motherhood, it’s okay. This is when Emma would hopefully go back managing symptoms (or least give it more focus).

Wrapping Up My Exhausted Complaints

Glee has a lot of good and bad as we analyzed. There is one more thing that shows love to do.

Too often it used OCD as a funny thing. “Oh, look! Emma is so weird! She is putting on gloves because she’s a germaphobe! SO SILLY!”

Nope. OCD isn’t something that is hilarious and it shouldn’t be mocked like this. A lot of shows do this with any kind of disorder or disability. Mental and physical illnesses aren’t your punchline.

Because of this stereotypical representation, many people throw around being OCD for simply keeping their apartment clean and organized.

Let me ask you now.

Do you think you can use OCD like this? I would hope not.

It shouldn’t be a term to describe cleanliness or mock someone.

Not only does it undermine the term, but there is shame and stigmatization, leading to people not seeking treatment because they don’t want to be associated with it.

People who nonchalantly throw the term around don’t realize what it really is because they think it is something silly people do. It’s not something they think can be debilitating and be harmful to those who have it. It’s something they use to describe being “quirky” and “weird.”

It also causes a lot of confusion because as someone with this condition, I would have to clarify with them if they really have it and it forces me to question if someone is being legitimate.

That’s messed up.

It’s almost as if they are faking an illness. This is harmful to disabled people because it becomes a habit to question who is disabled or not.

“Do you REALLY have OCD?” isn’t a question I want to ask but the way people use the term is forcing me to do so.

I also would have to say nowadays I have “real” OCD because I don’t want to confuse others. I shouldn’t have to do this. Abled people don’t understand this or probably never consider it.

I’m still unsure on what to do besides telling people this same explanation. It’s a shitty position.

TV shows and movies sure have a lot more to unravel when it comes to OCD and it is misrepresentful to only present one aspect of it to audiences and to use it mostly for laughs.

It’s no wonder people hide it. It’s no wonder people are afraid. It’s no wonder people don’t seek treatment.

I’ll be waiting for better representation. Meanwhile, I’ll keep complaining until something changes.

Writing Out of Exhaustion and Necessity

Hello, world.

That is me in the above picture. [A girl wearing glasses and winter clothes stands in front of giant wooden letters spelling out “HOME.” Also, why can’t I caption the featured image, WORDPRESS.COM? HUH?] The disabled latina (Sí, hablo español. Pero no lo hablo tanto.) who no longer wants her thoughts to remain locked.

There are many reasons why I decided to write again. It has been awhile and I had a blog before this but it was deleted. I can’t stand my old work anyway but it is useful for some good laughs. Now I’m sad I won’t have those laughs.

I also have two YouTube channels (one for lifestyle mostly and another for makeup fun) that I don’t consistently post on right now for many different valid reasons. But maybe this will motivate me to get that going again when I can.

It has been about five years since I had a back injury. I thought it was going to get better if I just rested like any abled-bodied person.

I was very wrong. At 23 years old you think you know everything. Hell, when I was a teenager I was the typical kind and thought I knew everything.

Instead of going through the typical process of waiting and going to physical therapy to learn some stuff to make the healing process better, I started to develop debilitating chronic joint pain as the months came.

First, it was my sternum, about a month later my knees, two months after my elbows, another few months my ankles, then wrists, and then jaw. I (and still can) had trouble feeding myself, washing dishes (even loading and unloading the dishwasher), showering, walking, talking, writing, typing, exercising, or doing any kind of repetitive motion.

I couldn’t identify myself anymore. I wasn’t who I used to be. For a long time I couldn’t relate to anyone around me until I met a good friend and surrounded myself with others like me on social media.

I didn’t identify as disabled for a long time because all I knew was ableism. All I knew was that you’re not supposed to accept being disabled. Everyone around me, including doctors would encourage me not to use mobility devices because using one is so awful to them.

selfie
Me taking a selfie in a fitting room. A girl with short, curly hair and glasses using a wheelchair.

They were wrong. No. I was wrong to easily accept the misinformed views of an ableist society. But can I blame society when most people don’t even know what ableism is? Shit. My spell check system doesn’t recognize the word (NOT YOU TOO, COMPUTERS!).

Disabled people are often forgotten when it comes to almost everything and are also so misrepresented or not represented at all.

Gif of Judge Judy shaking her head and face palming.

This is why I’m writing.

I am tired of how disabled people are treated. We are humans too. We are sentient. We deserve to exist.

I write to collapse the imaginary walls that society has built to feel comfortable on (intentional or not) making assumptions about us, forgetting us, taking away and not providing our rights, representing us inaccurately, and harming us.

In this blog, I will write about my story and experiences with an invisible illness. I will write about the way disabled people are represented in media. This also includes the representation of mental illnesses as well.

This time I will call them out.