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Disability Bullies

September 24, 2015

Dear Disability Bully from High School,

(and those who lurk on the Internets)

I am refraining from using your name. I wanted to write this piece to tell you and the world what you did to me in high school. We started off as friends. You called me out on who my crush was. I tried not to take it personally. I tried to be your friend first. Did that offend you?

People with disabilities do not ask for pity just by talking about it. People are asking to be heard. I can hear about any illness or disability. I have many skills.

I do remember I punched you once and that pissed off an upper classman who punched me in the back. In high school, I had an untreated mental illness. I had no access to medication. Do you have any idea how hard it is for disabled people to have a positive attitude? Illness makes you feel down. It is the nature of having health problems. Demanding a positive attitude from me while you were negative, having white female privilege to be depressed was wrong. You bullied me for talking about my disability.
I would suffer from mania in high school and nobody noticed because I drank coffee to cope with my chronic exhaustion. I have had schizoaffective bipolar 1 most of my life. Nobody noticed it until 2012. I got proper medication and have been stable ever since. My mother denied me meds all four years of high school. I tried St. John’s wort but that could have made me manic as it does to people on the bipolar/schizophrenia spectrum like me.  In fact, it probably did make me manic.

Nobody knew back then to call it mania. Nobody got me into therapy until sophomore year. You have no idea how depressed I was also throughout high school. It seemed to me like you had depression. Some people did remark I had more of a positive attitude anyway. Maybe in your ableism, you don’t know that disabled people do not want pity. When we talk about our disability, we expect support, not pity. People with chronic illnesses do not exist for your pleasure, your perverse pleasure to destroy them for feeling ill. My rule is simple: I only help people who want to stand up for themselves. I didn’t deserve to be ignored but I do believe that if somebody wants to take abuse it is pointless to help them by doing all the fighting back for them.

Some people take meds for depression and it is a lifelong way to resolve unipolar depression. You didn’t have meds in high school so you could take white female privilege and be depressed. As a minority, you didn’t allow me the luxury to express my feelings. Eventually I avoided you and made friends with people who would let me be as I was without imposing their dictatorship of having a positive attitude. With regard to chronic illness, it is hard to have a positive attitude when your body feels terrible, My hypothyroidism gave me really long periods starting in high school and ending in 2002 when my thyroid hormone was regulated. So I went through high school depressed twice over with my mental illness and my thyroid which was untreated until I went to the doctor myself.

And now I take a moment to address new agers in various Facebook groups I was a member of in the past. I take insulin to live. Try wrapping your brain around that. It is a synthetic version of what the body produces. It no longer comes from cows or pigs. It is based off of human DNA. Insulin keeps me alive. I know what it is like to have no insulin from February 1991 to May 1991. Don’t diss insulin. Do not piss me off for using insulin. It keeps me alive. To the twats who ask me to quit meds, I can’t ever get off my meds. It would make me dangerous to do so or really suicidal. I can ground myself just fine on my meds. Nobody is allowed to talk to me in that manner not on any group, on my personal page, at bookshops, or conferences. Nobody messes with me like that. I need my meds. If I ever go on Reiki retreats, I will have to get a strong box to lock up my meds in because one of you mfs might have the indecency to throw out my meds if you are a crack pot who thinks I can heal myself of anything. Really? Grow up and respect my disabilities.

Iria Vasquez-Paez

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