I wear glasses. Can I manage without glasses? Well, yes, probably. I could squint a lot, constantly move up close to anything I want to see, take the bus or a taxi if I want to go anywhere. I could just accept that I’ll never be able to see eagles flying in the sky or whales jumping out of the ocean.
But why? Why try so hard to manage life when I could just put on a pair of glasses? No one would ever suggest a near-sighted person should just work harder. No one would say ‘Maybe that’s just your normal’ to someone that needs glasses. They would say ‘Let’s go to the eye doctor and get you a prescription so you’re able to see again.’
You shouldn’t have to try so hard.
My doctor (paraphrased), when I expressed doubts about going back on an anti-depressant. (via
This is such a good analogy because nobody thinks about it like this. If you wear glasses, you literally need constant use of a medical aid to experience the world like most people do. If it were anything besides glasses, that would be considered a disability. But needing glasses is an extremely common, visible, and accepted form of disability to the point that we don’t even consider it one, we just accept that some people need glasses and that’s perfectly normal and there’s nothing wrong with needing to rely on them.
That is how all disabilities and illnesses should be seen, and how we should look at treatment for them. You have a problem, and you need help dealing with it, and there’s nothing wrong with either of those things. That’s perfectly normal and that’s okay.
Glasses are such a great example because even when you only need them part time no one questions if you really need them if you don’t always use them.
Like if you wear a brace sometimes but not always then people get suspicious, if you use a wheelchair for long distances or for sitting for extended periods of time but can get up and grab something or walk around a little, people question whether you really need the wheelchair at all.
But if you just use glasses for reading and then take them off later, or just for driving, or just at school/work if you need to see distances, no one questions whether you really need glasses since you don’t always seem to need glasses.
And I don’t recall anyone telling me to soldier through reading without my glasses because it would make me a stronger person and I wouldn’t want to give up and become dependent on needing something to help me see, either. Somehow, wearing glasses is normal and a perfectly fine aid, but taking medication or using a mobility aid means you’ve given up. It boils down to which aids make able-bodied people uncomfortable and which ones they see as minor and acceptable.