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People Who Use Wheelchairs Don’t Actually Want to Kill Themselves

by David Bekhour, Medium, 29 May 2016

Mr Bekhour describes himself as “Attorney by training. Adonis by nature. Writer by choice.”

He was born with a rare neuromuscular disease which means he has used a wheelchair his whole life. Recently he has had a tracheostomy and begun using a ventilator to assist his breathing.

Spoiler alert: he doesn’t much like the Me Before You movie.

Aside from the fact that we’re living in the most advanced time in the history of the world to address some physical challenge, people are resilient. You are resilient and I am resilient and the young widow is resilient and the single parent is resilient and the person who just got laid off is resilient. People figure it out; they adapt and pivot and find a way. Disability doesn’t change that.

Even with some of the challenges that exist in terms of mobility, access to healthcare and barrier-free public accommodations, many times the most demanding and pervasive obstacle of disability is dealing with the perception of disability.

This truth bears repeating. The perception of disability is at the root of the majority of challenges people with disabilities encounter each day. Ramps can be built, technology can open new doors (literally and figuratively) and machines can even breathe for us, but to change the hearts and minds of those who perceive disability as some kind of pitiful, I’d-rather-be-dead circumstance is what places more limitations on us than anything.

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