The Gorilla In Your House
(reprinted from Mary, batsgirl.blogspot.com, April 10, 2008 entry)
Acquiring a disability is a bit like getting home to find there’s a gorilla in your house. You contact the authorities and they umm and aah before saying something like “what you’ve got is a gorilla, and there ain’t really a lot we can do about them,” before sending you back home to the gorilla’s waiting arms.
The gorilla will cause problems in every part of your life. Your spouse may decide he can’t deal with the gorilla, and leave. Your boss may get upset that you’ve brought the gorilla to work with you and it’s disruptingj your colleagues, who don’t know how to deal with gorillas. Some days you don’t turn up at all because at the last minute, the gorilla has decided to barricade you into the bathroom.
There are three approaches to the gorilla in your house. One is to ignore it and hope it goes away. This is unlikely to work. Another is to try and force the gorilla out, spending all your time fighting it.
I have know people spend the best years of their life trying to force their gorillas to go away. Even if it does wander off for a while, they won’t get their pre-gorilla lives back. They’ll be older, broke, exhausted, and constantly afraid the gorilla may come back.
The third way is to accept it, tame it, and make it part of your life. Figure out a way to calm your gorilla down. Find out how to equip your home with gorilla-friendly furnishings and appliances.
People may get upset about this and throw around accusations of “giving up” and “not even trying”. They may even suggest you enjoy having a gorilla around because of the attention it gets you. The best way to deal with these people is to smile and remind yourself that one day they, too, may have a gorilla in their house.
Centers for Independent Living have loads of experience dealing with gorillas! Most of the people that work there have a gorilla themselves. They can give you real help with the care and feeding of your gorilla. So if you suddenly find you have a gorilla you don’t know how to deal with, contact your local CIL. We are gorilla friendly!