Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

When society thinks you'd be better off dead

31 Mar 2016I recently read an article about a man named Amir Hussain Lone who plays cricket without any arms. Playing cricket with no arms

He spoke about his family, those who supported him and encouraged him to achieve, and his hopes for his future in cricket. He also spoke about those that told him he'd never do anything in life, those that thought of him as less than human, and those that told him or his parents that he would be better off dead.

When he lost his arms in a sawmill accident as a child, many in the surrounding area thought he should been left for dead. After all he wasn't going to be able to achieve anything in life, so why bother saving him. Some people even suggested that his parents finish the job and poison him.

For those that see disability as a tragedy or something that leads to a miserable life, I guess they would see it as humane to end a life they don't think is worth living. You may think this is the attitude of 20 years ago, or it's confined to certain countries, but you'd be wrong. Where does it end, what is the cut-off point to be considered as having a worthwhile life?

Consider this argument from one of the discussions I read.

There is a group of people who make up a large portion of the population. They use up a huge amount of our resources and produce almost nothing. Their brains don't work as well anymore and their bodies are frail. Many people blame them as the sole reason why the US is in debt. This group is the elderly. Do you think they would be better off dead?

The answer is of course not. Yet they are no different to many people with a disability.

I wanted to know how common this belief is. So I asked some friends of mine their opinion. The response I received indicated it would be too much for them, and that they'd be better of dead.

If I was like them I'd want to be dead, so why wouldn't they? Something I see pop up in discussions and something I've heard from people. I remember a family member once telling me they'd rather be dead than paralysed. From their point of view their life would be over at that point. I however don't see it this way. I have no movement left in my feet, I'm losing movement in my fingers one by one, and who knows what else I'll lose over time. I know this isn't exactly the same but it gives me insight to know life is still worth living. There is difficulty, you just have to change the way you do things.

When people don't think your life is worth living they don't care what happens to you.

The parts of society that don't value us need to understand that just because we have differences and difficulty doing things doesn't mean we're all unhappy, and it doesn't mean we won't strive to achieve things. Let people show you what they're capable of before you pass judgment on them.

Hopefully this has made some of you more aware of one of the issues surrounding disability.

I can't speak for everyone. But I'm not better off dead.

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Previous Comments

Nicky from Perth posted on 25 Jul 2016
I love your optimism. I had breast cancer including chemo 4 years ago. While it was a terrible time, I can say that it taught me the value of kindness. Others kindness to me and how despite being really ill, I could make someone's day just by smiling and listening to what was happening for them, especially those going through trials with illness. You can make this amazing difference every day, too.

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