Shame is a difficult subject to talk about and people with disabilities and their carers are often shamed by the disability or something in particular about it and so don’t like to talk about it. Shame can eat away at people’s mental health state and exacerbates an already difficult situation.
We live in a society that superficially seems able normative, yet around 7% of the population is registered as disabled, so that would not include people who have disabilities of some kind and are not registered. This is an large part of the population and some of those disabilities will be hidden, so observers might not even notice.
Yet when the subject of the shame is talked about almost no-one feels the same way about this issue as those around them do.
Carers can struggle with shame, either that they know this “secret” and are directed not to share it beyond themselves, as they have to know, since they are dealing with the consequences and would benefit from some support and being able to talk about it. Or alternatively they are shamed by it themselves and don’t want anyone to know because “what would they think?”.
In truth, there have been studies by psychologists about observers and people are in fact very observant of others, they are also very non-judgemental. People “in the street” or in classical legal terms “on the Clapham Omnibus” do notice others, but the people themselves are worried about their bad hair and whether they look fat or thin or ugly etc. What people notice is that they are there, not that they are fat or thin or have bad hair. People worry about themselves a lot and that is what is occupying their thoughts, not judging others.
Shame isn’t helpful, it only makes a difficult situation worse and it isn’t necessary to hide secret, because people aren’t judged badly for this perceived awful secret! That doesn’t necessarily mean that people should shout from the metaphorical rooftops about their disability issues, just that if they need to ask for help, it is usually willingly given.
Nash & Co have just invested in a portable hearing loop, we are here to help make things easier for people with disabilities and we hope are clients feel that they are in safe and understanding hands with us as a firm.