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Relying on Others for Help Going to the Bathroom When You're Disabled

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Let me explain. I am a person with multiple disabilities. I have cerebral palsy, am an amputee, wheelchair user, and I have an intellectual disability. I cannot transfer on my own to and from my wheelchair and therefore often rely on the assistance of aides, friends, and family. They help me get on and off the toilet, in and out of the car, etc.

Because of that, I have been very self-conscious about using the bathroom and make every effort I can to go as little as possible. Usually, I only use the restroom three times a day. Once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once at night before bed. Is this healthy? Absolutely not. It’s to the point where I cry when I have to use the restroom outside of my normal time frame. This is because of my burden complex.

As a person with a disability, you may feel like a burden asking for basic things that are “normal.” What also doesn’t help is when I have to use the restroom at a time that is not “usual” for me, I am asked questions such as how much I drank or why you are going more than “usual.” This leads to my feeling guilty for having to go to the bathroom, making others physically lift me when they weren’t prepared for it, and making me feel like an inconvenience for having to do what everyone does. Typically, what ends up happening is I become dehydrated. In my opinion, there’s no happy medium.

This is not something one should have to deal with, disabled or not, but the reality is that this is something that many people with disabilities may face on a daily basis. I honestly think if the able-bodied people had to endure what we did for just one day, they would get it and hopefully come from a more understanding place. They would realize how their reactions and expectations of us using the bathroom less make us feel. They would understand the guilt we feel already for not being able to do it ourselves and having them help. They would also see how ridiculous their expectations are.

We must drink what we are supposed to and stay properly hydrated. If more people understood that and did not look at it or questioned the person about it but instead encouraged them to drink what is necessary, people like me wouldn’t feel wrong about going to the bathroom. The fact that I do is a problem, and it shouldn’t be. This has to be something people who assist us and all of society need to understand and accept. We are people and not robots. We should be able to use the bathroom whenever we need to, which is a fundamental human right and one that should not be questioned.

Please do your part to not make others feel bad or be scrutinized for something that is a basic human need. Because everyone can go whenever they want, and that needs to include people with disabilities. It’s essential, not an inconvenience like so many make it out to be.

Getty image by Ponomariova_Maria

Originally published: March 6, 2023
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