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Wheelchair user tells friend that she doesn't have a 'real disability;' AITA?

Wheelchair user tells friend that she doesn't have a 'real disability;' AITA?


Being a mature adult is understanding that everyone is fighting a different battle, but that doesnt mean that you should compare battles...

So, when a frustrated wheelchair user decided to consult the moral compass of the internet otherwise known as Reddit's 'Am I the As*hole' about their friend's phony/exaggerated 'disability,' people were ready to deem a verdict.

AITA (Am I the As*hole) for telling my friend that she doesn’t have a real disability?

For context I am a disabled wheelchair user. I have multiple conditions that cause me issues with balance, sleep, pain & breathing. I’ve lived with these conditions my whole life, however my life is very full. I love to travel & adventure and do just as much as other people, but I rely heavily on aids.

One of my close friends has started to have hypos (low blood sugar) within the past year, she’s only had three, but she feels very unwell when they happen, she gets cold and very dizzy, she starts trembling and sweating etc…It’s scary for her which I understand and sympathize with.

Diabetes and other conditions have been ruled out. Doctors are fairly confident that the hypos have been caused by her drinking habits, doctors have advised her to cut back and she’s lied to them saying she has. Last week she had another hypo as she told the doctors she’d cut back on drinking they have given a medication to help.

Today she wrote a Facebook post announcing she is fighting a disability and that she needs support from her friends & family to get through it. I ignored the post finding it a little over dramatic, but there was no need to comment so I didn’t.

Within an hour or so she messaged me asking why I didn’t comment on her post, I told her that I didn’t feel the need to as we’d spoken privately about her doctors appointment and the medication.

My friend asked if she could come over as she was feeling low so I said sure. She came over with his husband, we were having a nice evening playing some cards and chatting when she bought up the hypos again, I was listening and being supportive when she said “I know what it’s like to be disabled like you now” I just lost my crap.

I told her that she has no idea what it’s like to be disabled because she doesn’t have a real disability. It turned into a huge argument until eventually she left with her husband.

After she left I started to feel bad about what I said, I know she’s struggling with this, but to compare it to my disability felt really hurtful. AITA?

Later the post was edited to include:

There are a lot of comments that the disability my friend has is alcoholism, to be clear she doesn’t believe she has any alcohol dependency or issues, when she refers to herself as disabled she is referencing the hypoglycaemia as a disability.

Also she has had extensive testing and no other symptoms than 3 hypoglycaemic episodes in 12 months. The doctors are very confident that if she reduces drinking the episodes will stop, I know this because I’ve been to the majority of her appointments with her.

Here's what the jury of internet strangers had to say here:

IcyPapaya9756 said

Very VERY light ESH because I’m a wheelchair user too and it can get frustrating. I’ve kinda discovered that it’s not my place to tell someone whether they are/aren’t disabled but your friend needs to understand that your conditions aren’t comparable.

pablopikatxu said:

NTA. Seems like she is looking for attention and “happy” to have something where she expects to be in the center of conversation (asking for commenting on facebook? wtf).

I very much understand you infuriating over her comment on knowing how you supposedly feel.

Also, she is lying to her doctor about stopping her alcoholism. To clarify: hypoglycemia does not qualify as disability, in a regular case. If it happens frequently and / or for a longer period of time it may affect vital organs like your brain - and then cause a disability. Diabetes is a disability but was ruled out, as said by OP.

Kasuino said:

On one hand, disability isn’t a competition. But really? She needs some tact. I don’t think you’re the AH, but I also don’t know if explaining the problem with what she said will be a productive conversation right now.

Sweeper1985 said:

ESH. She should never have equated her disability with yours, that's just tone-deaf and really rude. You shouldn't gatekeep other people's disabilities, regardless. Just because yours is worse doesn't mean hers isn't a real problem.

AcanthisittaKlutzy40 said:

YTA the term is 'visible disability' not ' real disability' I think you need to communicate with your friend that while you emaphise with her her all disabilities and disabled people are different and she can't jsut assume she knows everything you deal with but likewise you can't assume she doesn't struggle or suffer 'enough'

While the opinions were fairly divided here, most people thought that this friend was being incredibly over the top and perhaps a deeper discussion is in order.

Sources: Reddit
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