I hate this idea that it “takes a special person to work with special people”
It’s a self fulfilling prophesy
And it’s a deadly one
Because the unspoken idea here is that people with disabilities don’t deserve interaction, patience or decency from “normal people” […]
I don’t trust most campaigns for awareness of caregiver stress and burnout.
I’m not denying that those things are real.
But they’ve become so ingrained in public consciousness, that the instant a crime against a disabled person makes the news, all you hear is “It’s so hard to take care of That Kind Of Person, you really can’t blame them.”
Coupled with a lack of focusing ever on the fact that disabled people get burned out from having to put up with caregivers all the time whether we feel like it or not, the usual ways people discuss these things start seeming one-sided and scary.
Contrary to what most people believe, caregivers are not selfless, self-sacrificing saints who never do us any harm, yet shoulder a great burden that leads to burnout, which excuses anything they might do wrong. That’s not even true of the best ones.
Caregivers are human beings. Human beings do a lot of bad things to each other. Especially people they have power over. Caregivers have that power. And it is not wrong to talk about it, to point it out, and to say that what some of them do is very wrong and destructive, and not excused by burnout or stress.
Any discussion of caregiver burnout also has to acknowledge the other end, the end nobody talks about. Which is that disabled people get burned out on our caregivers. But that we have no choice but to accept care every day. We can’t take a break without danger to ourselves.