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Author Topic: Steampunks with Disabilities  (Read 13993 times)
Jha
Gunner
**
Malaysia Malaysia


« on: October 20, 2009, 03:54:24 am »

Hello, all. I am researching to write an article on disability issues that intersect with steampunk. Whether your disabilities hamper or help your steampunking, I would be very interested to hear from you. Invisible illnesses (such as fibromyalgia, chronic pain) also count.

Obviously, I am looking for more chronic conditions that may not be easily addressed (such as wheelchair accessibility and other physical conditions, or even mental conditions which may hamper face-to-face interaction). If you are willing to be interviewed, please PM me.

However, if you don't want to be interviewed, but would like to find some solidarity publicly, you can go ahead and post here, too. Comments suggesting how steampunk spaces can be made more accessible are also welcome.

I am not interested in hearing how steampunk'd wheelchairs would be 'cool' or other such nonsense which relegates tools that aid mobility into mere props. If you are able-bodied, please have some respect for those with actual mobility issues.

For anyone who may be curious about disability issues, here's a useful resource.

Thanks in advance!
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Dr. Oliver Cross
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United States United States


As stable as a house of cards on the San Andreas.


« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2009, 09:49:17 am »

I would be VERY glad to speak with you on this topic.  I'm an epileptic, fibromyalgic, asthmatic, synesthetic with Asperger's syndrome, deteriorating audial and optic nerves and two rebuilt ankles.  Do I qualify?
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markf
Goggleologist
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United States United States



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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2009, 01:45:04 pm »

Ditto for me with 30+ yrs of chronic muscle & joint pain, not to mention rather nasty progressive osteoarthritis during the last 5 yrs.  You can PM me or ask on the open forum, either is fine with me.  Here's examples of overlaps between steampunk & disabilities;
     > Since I typically use a cane to walk, but a plain one just screams tediousness, a Sherlock Holmes umbrella/walking stick lightly weaponized with ice grips for the winter was in order.
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3128/3151256869_f47772ec83.jpg
     > Carrying extra weight is an enemy of walking, so I managed to pocket quite a bit with minimal avoirdupois while keeping the steampunk theme by the mini-tools in my leather & brass billfold as well as my old pocket watch/cell phone/music player combination. markf
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3293/2441133392_d1f70993a1.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3045/2773825037_92ea0fd625.jpg
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US ARMY-WORKING HARDER, NOT SMARTER. Steampunk Smart Car & Office Cubicle, Levitating Mossarium, Dive Pocket Watch; 1915 Wilson Goggles/Swing-Arm Monocular; Boiling Tube Lamp; Pocket Watch/Cell Phone; Air Kraken Augmentotron. http://sites.google.com/site/steampunkretrofuturedesignsmd
Rockula
Board Moderator
Rogue Ætherlord
**
United Kingdom United Kingdom


Nothing beats a good hat.


« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2009, 01:56:08 pm »

I also have osteoarthritis but with pain management (and ale) I tend to view it as an inconvenience rather than a disability. So far anyway.

I use a walking stick and apart from my minor niggles with general tendency of the public to not make allowances for slow walkers, and a lack of slopes at public buildings, I'm not prepared to let it stop me enjoying as active a life as is possible.

The worst thing is my inability to engage in some of the intricate workmanship of the like that is always on show in these forums. Arthritic knuckles do not make me a candidate for a master watchmaker.

However, I can still enjoy the costumes, art, literature, graphic novels, movies etc. associated with the Steampunk genre.

And I can still hold a pistol. Grin
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Sgt.Major Thistlewaite
Zeppelin Admiral
******
Gibraltar Gibraltar


I am, therefore I think.


« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2009, 03:24:41 pm »

And I can still hold a pistol. Grin

Pip Pip! Good Man! Good show to have one's priorities in order!

I don't see myself as being particularly disabled,(speaking here from a RL perspective) although years back I very nearly severed my own left foot at the ankle with a samurai sword. It was reconstructed with Dacron and aside from an interesting scar doesn't give me much trouble. Cartilage is gone in the left knee, also, and it occasionally reminds me of that...getting older is not for sissies, you know.
My dear wife, however, is severely disabled..multiple strokes in the thalamus area of her brain have left her with extremely limited mobility, speech impediments, poor vision and other problems. She has made progress over the course of almost two years now, but in all likelihood will never fully recover. One thing I will note...I used to own an antique wheelchair, wicker seats, made of oak, ornate metal appointments etc. When my lady became disabled, I invested in an excellent, modern folding wheelchair, made of nylon and space-age materials, not motorized (power by Thistlewaite, don't y' know Wink ) but the best chair I could find. I would no sooner trade this modern chair for the 1890 model than I would try to take a flying leap at the moon. Some things really are better than they were a century ago.
Now, all this being taken into consideration, it doesn't inhibit our clothing choices, or the furniture etc. we choose to have in the house, so for the most part a "Steampunk lifestyle" remains quite possible.

Excelsior!

T.E. Thistlewaite

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Yet well thy soul hath brooked the turning tide, with that innate, untaught philosophy,Which, be it wisdom, coldness, or deep pride, is gall and wormwood to an enemy.
Nex
Snr. Officer
****
Scotland Scotland



« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2009, 03:43:01 pm »

I must say some of the points in that article (and those linked off it) are things I've wondered myself, though I will admit to only skimming parts of it as I haven't seen that movie yet so don't want to know too much.
 Cheesy

I'm not even really sure if I qualify to post here at all really, I suffer from depression (probably on and off for most of my life) and severe social anxiety (which has only got particularly bad over the last few years), I don't even know if I would class myself as disabled nevermind what other people or the states view on it might be.

I'm already freaking out a bit as a result of even thinking about posting this, mind-reading that you are all going to turn round and go "don't be so stupid that's not a disability" and judge me as an idiot in my entirety as a result.

So just making this post has created a very simple and immediate example of the trouble I have...scale that up to thinking about any number of social situations and very quickly you can see how even if not a disability it is most certainly a disabling mindset.

...so it's taken me a half hour, probably more, to type all of 150 words, because I keep going back and retyping things trying to keep it as safe as possible for myself, and I've just realised I ended up trying to defend/justify myself at the end there, before anyone has even seen it never mind said anything.
 Roll Eyes

Sod it I can sit here reading over the post again and again or I can just hit the post button and see if the world comes crashing down around me.
*closes eyes*
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Sgt.Major Thistlewaite
Zeppelin Admiral
******
Gibraltar Gibraltar


I am, therefore I think.


« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2009, 05:14:44 pm »

On the contrary, Nex, I for one can certainly understand how a social anxiety problem can be extremely disabling. One might be wheelchair bound and yet have a gregarious, outgoing personality, and be less truly disabled than a person with no physical problems hampered by an inability to relate to others in an interpersonal relationship. Your problem is very real, and I commend you for having the courage to raise the issue in open Forum.

With Respect,
Thistlewaite
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Narsil
Immortal
**
United Kingdom United Kingdom



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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2009, 05:47:12 pm »

On the contrary, Nex, I for one can certainly understand how a social anxiety problem can be extremely disabling. One might be wheelchair bound and yet have a gregarious, outgoing personality, and be less truly disabled than a person with no physical problems hampered by an inability to relate to others in an interpersonal relationship. Your problem is very real, and I commend you for having the courage to raise the issue in open Forum.

With Respect,
Thistlewaite

I agree entirely.
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A man of eighty has outlived probably three new schools of painting, two of architecture and poetry and a hundred in dress.
Lord Byron
Jha
Gunner
**
Malaysia Malaysia


« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2009, 05:51:23 pm »

Nex: I've been following the various blogs of the contributors at FWD for years now, and I still have this problem of classifying my depression as a form of disability. So, I can't tell you to not worry about it, but I can tell you that you're definitely not alone in feeling the way you do - both the debilitating anxiety in deciding whether to even post or not, and the question: "do my issues count as a disability?"

If it makes you feel any better, it took me the better part of three hours last night deciding whether or not to even post my question, because a) even as my issues cripple me emotionally and mentally, it doesn't happen all the time (I get spells every few months); b) as someone who identifies as an able-bodied person, should I be writing an article about disability in steampunk?; and c) I was in one of my low-swings (Suffice to say, it was not a good night, oh well, what else is new).

I think we do severely underplay the debilitating effects of such mental illnesses or other such disorders that hamper our everyday interaction. It may not be chronic pain, or affect us physically, but it still does have an effect on the quality of our lives. It's very sad that we've grown up learning that "it's all in your head" and therefore not as important.
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mattig89ch
Gunner
**
United States United States



« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2009, 06:15:47 pm »

well, my sciattica is acting up.  and I've got asthma.
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I believe that Steampunk is more than just brass and watchparts. It's finding a way to combine the past and the future in an aesthetic pleasing way. It's living a life that looks old-fashioned, yet speaks to the future.

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Miss Groves
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United Kingdom United Kingdom


running out of steam


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« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2009, 06:17:43 pm »

i have m.e and plantar fasciitis, both invisible and have other stuff to complicate it.
I'm more than willing to answer questions, just drop me a line.
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Vancouver Air Privateer
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« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2009, 06:20:51 pm »

Well, I don't really like to talk about my "black dog", as Churchill would put it. Though it's not as bad now, looking back I would definitely call depression a disability - something that hampered my life activities, which is pretty much what the definition of being disabled is...

What just interested me was the mention of Steampunk in relation to this. This is because I often consider Steampunk to be one of the things that helped me most through the not so good periods. It was something I had a passion for, even when I wasn't really interested in other things. Plus, having Brass Goggles, a place of intelligent, interesting and inventive people really did help.
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Miss Groves
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« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2009, 06:27:00 pm »

i have to agree with you there, depression is such a hidden thing, more people need to be made aware of it
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Jha
Gunner
**
Malaysia Malaysia


« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2009, 06:37:10 pm »

Well, I don't really like to talk about my "black dog", as Churchill would put it. Though it's not as bad now, looking back I would definitely call depression a disability - something that hampered my life activities, which is pretty much what the definition of being disabled is...

What just interested me was the mention of Steampunk in relation to this. This is because I often consider Steampunk to be one of the things that helped me most through the not so good periods. It was something I had a passion for, even when I wasn't really interested in other things. Plus, having Brass Goggles, a place of intelligent, interesting and inventive people really did help.
I understand not wanting to discuss depression. I find that really great, though, that steampunk is what helped you out of it. It's definitely true that having a space to be creative and being around people who're intelligent and mentally stimulating can help - when I was undergoing the beginnings of recognizing my illness, I had a similar community for support. Who knows where I would be without them?

Thanks, you just gave me another angle to look at for my article.
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Gazongola
Zeppelin Admiral
******
England England


I am the flashing monocle.


« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2009, 08:34:06 pm »

I have an overwhelming desire towards the purchase of items in brass. Does that count?  Cheesy
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Lynkhart
Officer
***
Scotland Scotland


Indeed.


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« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2009, 08:56:03 pm »

Quote
I'm already freaking out a bit as a result of even thinking about posting this, mind-reading that you are all going to turn round and go "don't be so stupid that's not a disability" and judge me as an idiot in my entirety as a result.

*hugs* You aren't alone, believe me. Smiley

When I was in 5th year at school I had a complete mental breakdown (caused mostly by a bitch of a teacher who had no time for people who struggled in her class and saught to put me down at any opportunity ¬¬) and it got to the point that I couldn't physically leave the house. (Once my dad drove me to the school gates and actually tried to pull me out of the car but I just...couldn't.) Since then I'm almost back to normal (whatever that is XD) but I still suffer anxiety attacks over the least wee thing. Simple things like not being able to find my hairbrush in the morning lead to extreme stress which then usually ends up with me in floods of tears and unable to go out of the house. (My mind goes from thinking 'oh god oh god, where is it?!' to 'I can't go out without brushing my hair, I HAVE to find this! ARGH PANIC PANIC PANIC' which, as you can imagine, isn't a fun place to be. Sad )
All too many people treat mental illness as a 'weakness' or relegated to people who are a bit thick or 'not all there' which is a total fallacy. I'm part of an informal photography group run by a mental health organisation and if you didn't know better you would never guess as to some of the member's conditions.
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Mr. Boltneck
Zeppelin Admiral
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United States United States


« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2009, 10:44:24 pm »

Depression's no joke at all. I usually keep the worst of it at arm's length with intense exercise, as I discovered in my teens that this both evened out the mood and helped me to sleep more of the night, which contributes quite a bit right there.
Of course, some of these activities can have their risks: I've had both anterior cruciate ligaments in my knees replaced, and the cartilage fixed on the left. I am lucky that they can do this sort of repair these days, but the first weeks after both injury and surgery make me very appreciative that I can walk unassisted.
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darkshines
Rogue Ætherlord
*
Wales Wales


Miss Katonic 1898


« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2009, 10:48:18 pm »

I'd love to help! I have been dianosed with, and am being treated for, dysthemia, dyscalculia and emotional borderline personality disorder Smiley
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Gazongola
Zeppelin Admiral
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England England


I am the flashing monocle.


« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2009, 10:51:01 pm »

Indeed, depression is not a nice thing. My mum suffered with it for a time, not a fun time for her. I probably should have all sorts of personality disorders, I just never have managed it.
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Lynkhart
Officer
***
Scotland Scotland


Indeed.


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« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2009, 10:57:54 pm »

Quote
dyscalculia

*waves* Another numerically challenged person here! I was only diagnosed in my secondlast year of school. Yeah...helpful. Roll Eyes Undecided
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elShoggotho
Guest
« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2009, 10:59:40 pm »

Always remember, one of the most prolific steampunks around manages quite well with one hand. Normally she uses her "disability" as an opportunity to pack some weaponry that's quite unbefitting of a lady...
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darkshines
Rogue Ætherlord
*
Wales Wales


Miss Katonic 1898


« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2009, 11:02:05 pm »

I got diagnosed in my final year of university, after 5 years of degree level education, 6 years of high school and so on. Yeah.

My biggest thing is logic, things like number orders, dates, times, sequences, map reading, music reading, anything that follows a set, logical order escapes me. Its like trying to read an alien language.
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wildabeast
Deck Hand
*
Canada Canada


« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2009, 11:11:22 pm »

I work in the Group Disability Insurance industry and as long as you are following recommended treat plans, such as medications, therapy, etc, you would qualify for disability. The problem is that the professionals that treat the mentally ill are the hardest for insurance companies to get the appropriate records from to approve the claims. So, depression, anxiety, etc is definitely considered a disability.
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Addison Trent
Gunner
**
United States United States



« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2009, 08:57:12 am »

Depression, mild social anxiety which has gotten progressively worse as I've gotten older, synæsthesia. I'd be happy to talk about any of these things.
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Questionable Gentleman
Guest
« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2009, 12:17:20 pm »

Well, I've never been officially diagnosed with any disabling conditions, though that's probably less a testament to good health than it is a sign of my having not seen a doctor since childhood...

All in all, I suffer from bouts of depression, into which I periodically sink for days or weeks at a time (I'm rather interested to see that this isn't such an uncommon problem around these parts), as well as what I can only imagine is a lingering case of mild anemia (what with the deathly pallor and persistant fatigue).
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