I was minding my business, checking a former college classmate’s Facebook when I saw a name that I recognized and that I actively try not to think of whenever I can. Of course I gave in to my worst instincts and clicked. And what did I find? A post that made me roll my eyes.
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It’s interesting she cares so much about the mental health of young people or people having a hard time or people with issues with professors now. She didn’t care about them when she was my professor and she marked off on tests where my handwriting was shaky due to lithium. She didn’t care when she refused throughout Fall 2006 to find a placement for my internship until the last moment (because I couldn’t drive at the time due to my disability) and she had no problem ending that internship prematurely either.
She didn’t care when she mocked me publicly as she taught Art of Interviewing and when she mocked me in front of my internship class. She didn’t care as she mocked me privately to my classmates, who would later tell me about it. She didn’t care when she mocked my family being too poor to afford Caller ID or when she knew I couldn’t afford nicer shoes or better clothes because of my being poor. She didn’t care that her decision (along with another professor) to coerce me into allowing them to attend a therapy/psychiatrist appointment with me caused me emotional distress & was traumatizing; nor did she care when it nearly caused me to be hospitalized. She didn’t care when she told me to my face that my diagnosis of bipolar disorder meant that I wouldn’t be allowed to graduate from the program when I had 11 hours to go in the program, that should get a degree in business instead (which I’ve never understood where that came from), and that I really shouldn’t be around people at all. She didn’t actually care when she said I could complete my internship Fall 2007 in January 2007, for me to call her about it in February or early March; nor did she care when she ghosted me on that until the fateful meeting in Fall 2007.
She didn’t care about healthy interactions between professors and students. She didn’t care that her actions and her words caused my mental health to worsen for a variety of reasons and that she made it harder for me to trust authority figures. She didn’t care that she violated my rights or that her actions caused me to be unable to not only get my degree but to get a job, thus making it almost impossible for me to escape poverty.
Maybe she’s not the woman she once was. Maybe she actually gives a shit about mentally ill people like she claims on her Facebook profile. I sincerely hope she’s changed but I doubt it with every fiber of my being because I don’t know that she’s capable of ever having that kind of empathy. I used to question why someone like her would become a social worker, but I’ve learned over the years that social work isn’t free of ableism. In fact, it may be more prevalent in this field than in others; and part of that is probably because people who lack empathy or basic compassion toward disabled people know that they can get away with taking advantage of them very easily in it.