Friday, January 14, 2011

Faux Off!!

This morning I sat groggily watching morning television. It’s a way to kill time while waiting to go down to catch the bus for work. A perky announcer, chirpy can be annoying at the best of times but morning chirpy-ness should be a capital offense, was talking to a guest ‘expert’ (a term used far too freely these days) who was talking about ‘lack of time syndrome’. My hackles went up. They do this easily in the morning.

It’s taken a while to seep in, this desire for ‘normal’ people to have ‘faux syndromes’ that make them ‘special’ like us but without all the encumbrances of ‘real’ disabilities. A couple days ago I heard about ‘cluttered house syndrome’ and ‘organizationally disabled’ … oh, how freaking cute are those. How about ‘noisy kids syndrome’ and ‘to much to do syndrome’ … I kid you not. I’ve heard both these terms used recently. Right. Uh, huh, let’s form a support group for the non-disabled disabled by non-existent syndromes. And maybe we could have a fundraiser to bring relief to those afflicted by busy lives, loud progeny and cluttered houses. (I can get my father’s barn!)

What’s equally irksome is that these ‘experts’ that create ‘faux syndromes’ always have solutions to those who are ‘crippled by a too full life’. Talk about a snake oil sales pitch! The solution is always available in book form – yep, books are better than medication, the only side effect is mind numbing boredom and delusions of a life under control. These books let you know that in essence you just have to ‘want’ to get better and ‘want’ to get control and ‘want’ to declutter.

Just like they believe that we should just ‘want’ to leap up out of wheelchairs and run a marathon – it must be possible, I keep hearing inspirational stories about disabled people climbing freaking Mount Everest or some other god forsaken mountain. Just like they believe that our frame of mind cures cancer and our outlook on life determines the length of our lives.

Who are these people?!?!?!

I mean I never see them in waiting rooms.

I never see them on WheelTrans with me in the mornings.

I sure don’t see them hanging outside of stores trying to figure an accessible way in.

I never see them protesting, unless complaining counts.


Erin Marie said...

Standing up and clapping ... my goodness you are SOOOO RIGHT ... I have a Congenital Heart Defect ... meaning my heart is malformed ... so while physically I look "normal" my life has been anything but it ... I am 28 and have a pacemaker ... a scar proving they have opened my chest and literally opened my heart to save my life ... I have gotten told that I have a "faux syndrome" ... well I wish I did so I could sue the pants off of whoever thought to just open my chest and see what was going on in there ... goodness what is this world coming too ... I have no patience for those who are blessed to get off their ass everyday and never know what it's like to be me ... who complain about working when I no longer can work ... who complain about children when I doubt I can even have them ... who complain about ... well everything ... get off your lazy ass and for once in your life be thankful you aren't like I am ... and then once you've had that lightbulb go off take the money for your Starbucks Coffee and donate to a cause worth something ... THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS!!!!!!! <3

Shan said...

Well, these are the problems of prosperity.

People lay around picking at themselves in the hopes of finding something to make them interesting. Why? Because survival in this stupid culture is just too damn easy. There isn't enough to keep people genuinely busy. Why do you think we sit here staring at the screen and clicking our lives away?

And then somebody spots them and sees a potential market, and then it's just a matter of validating their paranoia enough that they buy into it. Literally buy. The book, the sequel, the instructional DVD, the complete five-step-set, the toning 3-in-1 cream, whatever the hell the cure du jour might be. It's all about making money...par for the course in this diseased culture.

(Yes, I am the self-appointed antidote to morning chirpyness. You're welcome.)

Tamara said...

Hey! I am among the organizationally disabled. I'd rather have a housekeeper than a book or a dvd, though.

By the way, where's your father's barn?????

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

I agree with Shan - these are problems of prosperity - too much time for navel gazing. But not just prosperity - of our highly individualist society and isolation - if I have whatever syndrome suddenly I belong to a group - it is a shorthand way for me to let people know something about me. We also live in a society that medicalizes everything!

Why do I sit here staring at a screen and clicking away? - to be connected to like minded people!

thanks for another thought-provoking post

Tara said...

Never thought of it like that, before. I found the faux syndromes irksome, but couldn't quite identify why. Very insightful as usual, Dave.

J. said...

Very well put!

The only thing that irks me more is people who joke about having real syndromes or disorders they don't actually have. You know, the people who enjoy being a little fussy about their holiday table setting and call it OCD. To them it is cool and funny and "quirky" - not the debilitating reality that real people with the real disorder suffer. Or people who laugh about how nice it would be to have "multiple personalities" because they would get so much more done and life could be so interesting. They conveniently gloss over the trauma, the pain, the flashbacks, the confusion and profound exhaustion people with Dissociative Identity Disorder live with.

I can't stand it when people with no concept of the seriousness of some things tell those who understand to "lighten up." Ugh.

Ettina said...

"‘organizationally disabled’"

I'm actually organizationally disabled - I have executive dysfunction as part of being autistic. Which is totally different from normal people who just aren't as organized as they'd like.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking that people think OCD is about being consistently and extremely attentive and being insomniac is about staying awake late into the night.
The person I love with OCD can't get out the house for doing checks, and sits on the floor in the living room crying about it. My friend who has insomnia can't function for lack of sleep.
I guess the whole faux syndrome thing buys into diss-ing disability, that is not respecting, minimising, ignoring, invisibilising the experience of disability.