Social Question

princessbuttercup's avatar

Social Acceptance With Health Issues?

Asked by princessbuttercup (200points) February 6th, 2010

I am young but I have a neurological problem that causes my hands to shake. It’s hard because I am an artist but also people treat me funny and always ask me about my hands. I feel really humiliated a lot of the time but it is not curable. Any advice on how to deal with this?

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12 Answers

phoebusg's avatar

You are not your condition. Talk to other people that live with conditions that put them “out of the ordinary”. That said, forget about ordinary, there is no normal. There’s you-crazy, me-crazy, and everybody-else-crazy. We all have individual bodies with individual weaknesses.

A couple of mine, dysthymia and bad knees, well big quads pulling on my ligaments that is. Makes it really hard to do martial arts on your knees – learn technique and focus while they’re trying to lock.

The best route toward our imperfections is acceptance. It’s easy to say, but hard to establish. Though if you put yourself on a path to acceptance, you’ll find that you have nothing to “defend” anymore. Things are what they are – and of no more significance than our perception gives them.

After acceptance, the best next thing is humor. Humor them, yourself, the situation – life and the big joke called the universe :)

Have a good therapeutic laugh about it all.

tinyfaery's avatar

Face it. Seeing someone’s hands constantly shaking is a rarity. People are going to look. But there is no reason to feel humiliated by it. You can’t stopi t. All you can do is explain. If some can’t deal with, it’s their problem.
People get stared at for all sorts of reasons. You are not the only one.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I am alittle po’d that you let other people’s opinions get to you that much!I work as an artist who has had type 1 diabetes for 20 years and just found out that I have MS last year.I have on occasion used a cane when I am gimpy-sometimes not.I’ll be damned if I let someone’s attitude about what people are supposed to be like affect how I feel about myself.I know myself very well in how I think and feel about life.Therefore people’s curiosity or rudeness never gets to me.Usually.More often than not,they are decent :)
Just last night I blasted though an airport,cane and all because the people on the moving sidewalk were too fucking slow.Ilol! also have been known to rock some windshield-kicking heels-with or without a cane.I also feel that I should be an example of what real strength is to people that are feeling bad about a perceived handicap.Show them what you can do!!!!

slick44's avatar

There is nothing wrong with you. you are who you are. Its not your problem. Its the people who star. they are the ones who should feel funny. you have nothing to be humiliated about. Hold your head up high, and be proud to be YOU.People get nervous when they dont understand. or when somthing is different.

phoebusg's avatar

One shining example, my best professor in my university has been a person who has a condition making it hard for him to stop involuntary movements. His head doesn’t move the right way, his body/hands don’t either.
Yet, he’s one of the most charismatic, well spoken – most organized professors and teachers I have ever encountered.

His top characteristic being that he can describe any idea relating to data structures of programming through a very tangible real-life example, wireframe of the theory and the exact-down-and-dirty how to do it. For EVERY concept throughout the cirruculum, well he designed his own.

He’s now left campus, sadly. I always dropped by his office for a good chat. I wonder if he’s still in the city, he’s an avid biker as well.

Which brings us back to—this is the body you were ‘dealt’ – make the best with what you’ve got :)

hug_of_war's avatar

I have shakey hands too, and i know the frustration. I can’t tell you how often people ask me why I’m nervous and I have to explain it’s a physical issue with no known reason. Then I feel embarrassed. I can’t even say I have an explainable medical reason for it. I can’t offer you any advice but this is just the way I was born. It’s easy to say you shouldn’t care what others think but it’s not so easy to deal with. So I’m someone who can say I’m young (21) with shakey hands too. So you’re not alone.

phoebusg's avatar

The explaining part is always interesting. Because you feel like you want to give a full – detailed answer. But it’s a stranger asking you, or you don’t have the time, mood or dedication that moment to do that. One idea is a quick pre-developed answer. Such as “it’s a brain thing”, “Got a brainbug”—or something better, be creative ;)

Pandora's avatar

I think the problem with having shaking hands is that it is often associated with so many illnesses and or extreme nervousness. I think by the time they ask they already have been pondering how to ask you without offending you and want to be assured you are alright otherwise. If you see them looking and offer an explaination that this is a condition you live with and isn’t life threatening, then they may feel more at ease. Your humilation may be eased once you’ve taken out the stress they feel from having to ask you. No matter what their concern they will feel inconsiderate if they don’t ask about your current well being and then feel embarrassed that they may have put you on the spot. If you beat them to the punch you may both feel better.
I remember I had a seizure in my friends home. The rest of them knew of my condition but grandma didn’t. She was always so concerned later. And felt awkward around me. After I explained everything to her and told her that I was fine dealing with it, then she eased and didn’t feel sorry for me. I explained that my condition wasn’t going to ruin my life nor does it make me different in any other way. After that I beleive she had a new found respect for me and no longer thought of me as some careless irresponsible teen.

gailcalled's avatar

Katherine Hepburn, Eugene O’Neill and possibly Samuel Adams had essential tremor. Tell people that it is not Parkinson’s and it is a minor irritant in your life. Then change the subject.

Here’s a flyer from Harvard Med. School on the subject,

wundayatta's avatar

My hands shake. It’s due to the lithium I take. The shaking is very small, and hardly anyone would notice if they didn’t know to look for it.

It makes me angry sometimes. I can’t hold things that other people don’t even think about. It makes it real work to do some simple things, like swiping a credit card. Forget chop sticks.
Social acceptance? I think most people have no clue. It would be nice if you didn’t care, but you seem to care, so telling you to stop caring is worthless advice.

You’re right about social acceptance. But that takes education, and that just won’t happen. Not enough anyway. But really, when you think about it, there is little you can do except soldier on, explaining when people ask. You are an ambassador for the condition.

I have never been asked, so I haven’t had to explain. I don’t know what I’d say. Maybe, ‘yeah, I’m going to see a doctor about that.”

Buttonstc's avatar

Regardless of what condition you have, there is a basic operative principle. If you are emotionally healthy and comfortable in your own skin, then this will translate non-verbally to those around you.

I don’t think that everyone who notices your condition is necessarily being harshly judgemental or something like that.

They are just noticing something that’s out of the ordinary. It would probably make you yourself feel better and less awkward to acknowledge this verbally in whichever way you deem appropriate and then just continue on with whatever else is going on.

What I find really refreshing and interesting is the total honesty of young children. When they come upon someone with a noticeable difference ( missing limb, shaking, etc.) they will frequently ask the person directly. Why do you____________? ( have shaky hands, only one arm, etc.) and most people just simply explain because they realize that the child is just being honest and straightforward about something they find concerning to them but thus far out of their realm of experience. Most people realize that the child doesn’t have a negative intent but far more likely a sympathetic one.

Well, adults have been “trained out of” saying something to another and there is much more opportunity for misunderstanding. If they are a normal type of person, chances are most likely that they are more concerned than they are harshly judgmental.

For all they know, this could be a signal that the shaking person may need imminent help or it could be a prelude to a seizure or whatever.

If you BRIEFLY acknowledge their noticing it and reassuring them this is a normal part of your everyday life, that should be all that’s necessary to change the subject and move on to whatever the transaction at hand happens to be.

Of course if you encounter the extremely rare jackass for whom this does not suffice, you can then tear them a new one verbally with relish knowing that they really deserve it for being a shallow prejudiced nitwit.

But I honestly think that will be the exception. Most people are decent at heart. And strictly speaking you certainly don’t owe them any explanation, but it just serves to mitigate concerns and put everyone more at ease, including you.

I’m not recommending this for every stranger you pass in the mall or something, but just for those such as receptionists, cashiers, salespeople etc. with whom you have brief but necessary interactions with on an everyday basis.

You needn’t feel humiliated as you’ve done nothing wrong and this is in no way your fault. It’s unfortunate that you do, but perhaps by just dealing straightforward with others about it in a “matter-of-fact” type of manner, you’ll be able to change some of the awkwardness. You can’t prevent people from noticing but you do have the power to keep it from becoming a much bigger deal than it actually is.

It is what it is. No more. No less. Accept it, move on to something else, and give others the opportunity to do the same with a few gracious words which assume the best about their intentions rather than the worst. You’ll be surprised at how simply that can be done. Assume kindness and concern on the part of others until or unless they have said or done anything to indicate the opposite.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I wouldn’t think a second about it and no good-minded person should. I wouldn’t ask you about it either and I know people are all about the outliers and focusing in on that, but forget them!

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