In today’s media driven world, we seem to be pigeonholed by labels of all descriptions to define who we are including labels discriminating by disease. How many labels do you think you have reader ?
We find ourselves in a combination of labels:
Male, female, ethnic origin
Short, tall, thin, fat
Skin, eye, hair colour,
Religion, heterosexual, LGBT,
Low, middle, upper class
Low, middle, degree level education
Occupation, hobbies, interests
Music, films, sport
Mental health, physical health
to mention a few.
Disability benefits supposedly help you to live your life, once you do that they can be taken away, you may have learnt to live within your limitations but your label gets changed sending you back into a downward spiral.
With BPSD (Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia), chemical restraint is used “to protect” the person with Dementia and others instead of dealing with the cause, which in the UK could lead to being sectioned under the Mental Health Act to access extra funding, funding that should be available because of need not label.
The media portrays someone with Dementia as being in their 80’s or 90’s, incontinent, incoherent and with wrinkly hands, when in truth with Battens Disease, you can have a diagnosis of Dementia from birth.
Many people are being diagnosed with some form of Dementia in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, who with the right support and without chemical restraint can live their lives within the limits of their Dementia.
Society portrays someone with Cancer as a fighter and someone with Dementia as a sufferer but people with Dementia can fight to retain their abilities to a decreasing level as long as possible.
People with dementia fight to retain their identity, they don’t want pity, they want support and services to assist them and their carers/family not to be labelled negatively.
As you may have seen reader, for many reasons, we end up with many labels as we go through life.
Pigeonholing everyone by labels, leads to discrimination and negative perceptions.
This labelling starts with family, then at school, is influence by the media and peers and goes on through life.
At the end of the day we are all human beings who regardless of labels, bleed the same colour and who have universal rights.