Friday September 3, 2021

I didn’t watch the Olympics, but I have been watching the Paralympics and enjoying the camaraderie among contestants and the sheer joy people have of just participating.
I think it is wonderful that Paralympians are finally recognised at true athletes.

While these elite sports people are wonderful, they represent a tiny, tiny percentage of all the people living with disability in the world. I know people will say that all able-bodied people are not expected to be Olympian athletes. But I feel that there is an expectation and an assumption among some people that because they are disabled, they can become athletes without realising that people need long training, amazing talent, and determination.

I know someone who had her two legs amputated just below the knee due to diabetes and people said to her, sincerely, she could now compete at the Paralympics. The fact she was over 50 and had never played any sport in her life seemed to have eluded them.

I think sometimes with, mental health we may see a famous singer, actor, writer, and a well-known person who has a mental illness explaining how they still managed to have career, write a book and be competent at their jobs. This is great to hear and well done.

I do wonder what about all of us ordinary people who will probably never win a gold medal, write a book, have an international career.
Sure, having role models is one thing but expecting everyone else to achieve the same things is just not realistic.
For many just getting up, looking after ourselves and others, bringing up children, caring for elderly parents, and coping with moods is more than enough without the pressure that maybe we are not doing enough

This is just my humble opinion, and I would like to hear yours. I think hearing about people winning medals, getting PhDs, and talking on leadership roles while having a disability is encouraging.
I would like everyone who is getting on with their life with a mental or physical to be valued and appreciated.
Do you think positive role models like Paralympians, academics, writers, or actors are helpful in showing what people with disability can do and why or why not?

How do you feel when someone with a mental health label achieves a lot and says it is all due to hard work and perseverance?

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