“You’re Too Young For This”

Hi everyone.

A common experience for people with disabilities in my age group (and younger) is to hear people say, “you’re too young for this”. Sometimes it’s in response to a casual conversation. Sometimes it’s just because they see you walking with a cane. Sometimes it’s a family member or loved one who can’t believe the symptoms you describe. Sometimes it’s a doctor that you are begging to take your health concerns seriously, but they’ve already given up.

“You’re too young for this.”

Am I, though?…

Canadian stats show that 1 in 7 Canadians over the age of 15 have a disability (Stats Canada, 2012). In these Canadian stats, a disability is described something that limits your daily activities. Some of these disabilities will be visible, some will be invisible.

The rate of disability among young adults is considerably higher than I ever thought. As my perspective has changed, I realized that I am a former ableist, and am trying my best to never have an ableist attitude again. (You can check out Ramblings of a Former Ableist for more of my thoughts on this.) I’m sorry to report that the amount of people affected by disabilities did not seriously cross my mind, until 2015 when my perspective changed. I’m sorry to report it took me years before I informed myself on this. So let me do you a favour, and catch you guys up now that I have learned more.

In 2012, 7.1% of Canadian women age 25-44 reported a disability. In the 15-24 category, it was 4.3% of young women (Stats Canada, 2012). When the CRPS started I was 24, and I’m now approaching 28.

That means every 24th peer of mine at age twenty four…and every 14th peer now that I’m nearly twenty eight, reported a disability. A quarter of these disabilities reported are classified as “very severe” (Table 3, Stats Canada 2012).

“You’re too young for this.”

Tell that to every 20th acquaintance you make, because that’s how many of us there are on average. One in twenty.

I understand that often people who say this are just trying to express their sympathy, or shock at my physical situation. But a comment like “you’re too young for this,” is for their benefit, not mine. I think it is a way to make sense of the disability in front of them that they haven’t had to think about before. I do my best not to take things personally, I don’t like this, though. I don’t like it because saying I’m too young for this won’t make it true, saying it won’t treat me, and saying it can allow people to justify not thinking about my disability seriously. It should be taken seriously, because it is serious.

I encourage you to take a look through the full Stats Canada report, to see how disabilities affect Canadians. People with more severe disabilities statistically have less university graduates than their able-bodied counterparts in the same age group. We’re less likely to be university graduates. Women are more likely to have pain-related disorders. Our median income is about $10K less than our able-bodies counterparts in the same age group. There are lots of other things to learn, so please take a look! You can also read through the highlights.

So I’m not “too young for this,” you just need to be more informed about what Canada’s landscape of disabilities is actually like.


This rant brought to you by all the people (vast numbers of them medical professionals who should know better) who have said I’m too young for this. I’m getting close to 30, I’m not even a young adult any more. I’m both “too young for this”, and too old for all this ableist shit. The End.



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