Being disabled doesn’t seem like it would be a laughing matter, and you would be right but in the same sentence I do think it has its place within certain aspects. Believe it or not it does have a degree of success as well, having that ability to laugh at myself not taking certain things too seriously I think takes courage especially with the way society sees disabled people. Plus it’s certainly helped shaped the person I am today!
It’s not about being good, it’s about being included. When you are disabled being isolated in some way is almost expected, yet how can this impact our use of humour?Alex Brooker
I have Muscular Dystrophy a progressive muscle-wasting condition, over the years I have had to come to terms with changes in my health and life experiences.
To be honest, using humour is just part of my personality, that I’m able to share thanks to my friends and family never seeing me as a “vulnerable disabled person” and just seeing me for me, it’s been those comical moments in my life sometimes that have been Paramount in helping normalise your experiences. Constantly being upset or angry at your health or world isn’t healthy, yes it has its place like most things there’s a time and place for everything but it’s okay to find those moments of light.
Being disabled comes with its fair share of seriousness. That starts from when or if you receive your diagnosis, then the endless appointments, trying managing symptoms/condition. Ultimately and understandably it can take a toll and become mentally and physically draining after a while. But of course disabled people are allowed to have more in life than their condition, in the times it becomes consuming the ability to laugh can make the scary moments more lighthearted and manageable.
In the past I have used humour as a coping mechanism making that situation more lighthearted, in other situations I almost feel like I need to put people at ease with humour, making a joke before they do. I can take a joke and will more than likely give as good as I get, but it’s not very inventive to have to endure and listen to the punchline aims towards disabled people every time.
I am a little naughty with my humour at times. Once – we went swimming and the lifeguard said I’ll just go get the hoist to which I said ‘Ahh don’t worry just undo my seatbelt and just tip me, I’ll be fine I should float!” Or the time I told my husband friend after he said so sorry you won’t fit in my car that it’s ok to get a towrope attach it to his car in my wheelchair and I’ll follow on behind! – both their face where great at the time abs I guess in away it’s like my own free entertainment.
Being disabled definitely has its funny moments! Some might not be seen as a positive, but it can certainly make life very eventful. Some of the things I’ve done are pretty laughable; getting stuck in the Electric doors at the hospital. Getting stuck in a shower chair where I had to be cut out that was 1 fire engine, fast response ambulance, an ambulance and the jaws of death later, oh abs I was butt naked.
Yet it’s way more than that. I believe having the ability to laugh at yourself is hugely important. There’s a big difference between laughing at you and laughing with you.
Humour has a way of serving its purpose as a coping mechanism it can symbolise acceptance. Muscular dystrophy is part of who I am, but not all of who I am.
After all laughter creates happy endorphins!
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