Sunday, 18 July 2010

The D word

So, I'm filling in my Student Finance application form (finally!) and a while ago, I was told that due to my hypothyroidism I could be entitled to Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). I went on the website and the words "long term health condition" were being repeated alongside other conditions that count as disabilities. I wasn't convinced so I googled "is hypothyroidism a disability?" and it seems that the jury is out but the common answer was no, and that when assessing for a disability, they do not account for what it is, but how it affects you. I think it's more hassle than worth, and to be honest, there seems to still be a stigma attached to being branded the D word.

I came across this post on the BBC Ouch! Disability messageboard, and I had to share it with you. It was posted back in '06 and I hope the person doesn't mind me sharing it with you, but it sums up exactly what I go through and I was smiling (in agreement) with each line, simultaneous to feeling her pain:

I am another person with an unseen disability, i have hypothyroidism which affects all of my bodily functions, i have to take regular daily medication to supplement my thyroid into producing thyroxine. the affects i have are that i am severely overweight, i find it difficult at times to walk the distance normal people walk, even doing my housework is a struggle at times. i live in a three storey house so the stairs are a struggle at times but i do them. the weather also affects me as my body can't cope with it being too hot but at the other end of the scale my body hates the cold. i do not go out alot because normal people upset me by being rude about my size, and although i am getting better at answering back to them, i don't want to keep having to explain to them why i am big because really it has nothing to do with them. these little people are naieve to hypothyroidism they just don't seem to see medical conditions/illnesses, they bring up there children with knowing what the word FAT means so that they grow up calling people like me names instead of reading up on medical conditions that make people overweight. my son is 16 years old and i banned the use of the word FAT in our house and he never ever calls people names when they are overweight he just sees them for who they are and not what they look like because they are that beautiful word FAT. if these naieve little people started to change their attitudes, and their childrens towards the overweight person we would be better off, as we don't all SIT and STUFF OUR FACES WITH FOOD all day to make ourselves FAT but they seem to think that. they also think we are LAZY people which is totally wrong as i do as much as i can in everyday life. i think that they think we actually enjoy being the way we are well i can assure you naieve little people that i do not. 

i have struggled with this life condition since 1983 when i had to give up my career to go into hospital for treatment and never got the chance to go back to it because i was ill for about a year just trying to sort out medication to suit my body. i feel like i am a disabled even though my condition is not recognised as a disability only in that i get free prescriptions. i feel like i should apply for other benefits but when you get the paperwork all the questions are irrelevant to me because i can dress myself and wash and toilet myself. the other thing is they would not backdate claim to diagnosis in 1983 because its too long ago and they would have to pay out too much money for me. at this time i have to attend my doctors once a month and make sure i have blood tests done approximately twice a year. also the one thing i have always wanted to be able to do is give blood but i cannot because of this condition. so normal people who ridicule me should be thankful that they do not have my condition because at least they can give blood. i know there are some people who eat to excess but please don't tar all of us with the same brush treat us with the respect we deserve. sometimes when things really get me down i have to make myself walk through my front door where these people have hurt me so much over the years.

Sometimes I hate having an unseen "disability" as from appearance no-one can tell there is anything up, but I guess it's a blessing in disguise as I have seen first-hand how differently some people treat those with visible disabilities. As I mentioned in my "life begins now" post, I also hate how people judge and think I'm obese cos I ate too much; when the truth is far from this. And I desperately have always wanted to give blood, but that may be very unlikely if not impossible due to the frequent dose changes. I just want those out there with a healthy thyroid to be so thankful to Allah and respect the fact that giving blood is actually a privelige, not a right.

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