A woman no longer wanting to go on vacation with her friend who has a disability has been backed by users on Reddit.
In a post shared four days ago on Reddit’s Am I The A***** (AITA) subforum under the username Subject_Shoulder_538, the woman, who is in her 30s, says that her friend, Ashley, has fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that “causes pain all over the body” as well as sleep problems, fatigue and “often emotional and mental distress,” explains the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The poster recently returned from a trip with her friend and said: “The last straw for me was that Ashley had a full-on meltdown at a train station.”
When Ashley asked if the poster would like to do another trip next year, the poster told her “no thanks.”
The poster asked fellow-Redditors: “AITA for refusing to vacation with my disabled friend anymore?”
Jeni Simas, a certified relationship and intimacy coach, told Newsweek that the poster is “definitely not the a****** here.”
Simas explained: “If anything, she has tried to put herself out for the benefit of her childhood friend. She doesn’t owe her anything. When someone chooses to be miserable. Let them.”
According to a 2022 report by the American Public Transport Association, “the public transit vehicle fleet has reached near total accessibility for people using wheelchairs and those with other disabilities affecting travel.”
The report found that from 2000 to 2020, the portion of accessible buses rose from 81 percent to 99.8 percent. Over the same period, the percentage of accessible commuter railways increased from 64 percent to 82 percent, while the figure for accessible light railways increased from 77 percent to 92 percent. The accessible portion of trolley buses doubled from 51 percent to 100 percent, according to the report.
The OP said she and Ashley have been friends since they were 13 years old.
“We drifted apart after high school but stayed in touch,” she said.
However, they planned a three-night vacation, which was Ashley’s idea, over a year ago.
“I found being around Ashley stressful,” the poster said.
She said Ashley “insisted on going for long walks through the city but then would get tired and say we need to get a taxi home as she can’t walk back.”
At the end of the trip, the poster walked Ashley to the train station, where she asked if there was a wheelchair available, as she was “struggling to walk any further to get to her platform.”
The staff said the chairs were all in use and asked whether she had booked assistance. When Ashely said she hadn’t, they told her a chair should be available in about an hour.
The poster said: “Ashley lost her cool and yelled at them and said that she’s going to miss her train, and she sat on the floor. I tried to calm her down but there was just no use. She was very insulting and called them names, it was so embarrassing.”
Two days after they both arrived at their respective homes, Ashley asked the poster whether she’d be up for “a similar vacation next year” and the poster told her “no thanks.”
The poster said: “I tried to explain to her that I think after our experience it’s better if we don’t vacation together. Ashley is now angry with me and said I’m being ableist but I struggle to put up with how disorganized she is in regards to her own needs.”
Friendships Can Be ‘Stress-Inducing’
Simas noted: “Being a relationship coach has opened me up to the fact that there are sometimes more stress-inducing power dynamics in friendships than in romantic relationships.”
She said that you also want to “do your best to display empathy and understanding” when someone is coping with an illness or disability that you’ve not experienced and therefore “cannot so easily comment upon.”
However, “we have choices in this life,” she said. “We can allow our disabilities to define us or we can do our best to make them just a part of a whole person who is engaging, kind, and fun to be around for the most part.”
She added: “In this situation, it sounds like the friend with fibromyalgia has chosen to make that her persona, yet has not taken into account what accommodations she may need to request ahead of time for the most possible enjoyment in a vacation setting.”
‘Nothing To Do With a Disability’
Many Redditors sided with the original poster, with some speaking about their own experiences with fibromyalgia.
Fairmount1955 said the original poster is “NTA [not the a******]. Like, her behavior has nothing to do with a disability so that shouldn’t even be mentioned, except where she tried to make it an excuse (gross). If you don’t travel well together then you don’t.”
TheVoiceofReason_ish agreed: “I have MS. I know I can only walk so much each day, so I plan my life around what I can do. When I overdo it, it’s my fault. I don’t abuse others because I didn’t budget my limitations properly.”
Kcinic noted: “i have fibro [ fibromyalgia] and most of those things OP [original poster] is complaining about aren’t even related to common symptoms. The walking maybe. I can’t imagine not booking assistance and then having a meltdown because of a wait.”
User hyperbemily said: “Yep! I rolled my eyes when I started reading this because I also have fibromyalgia…Your friend’s fibro doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that your friend is budgeting her energy inappropriately, and then proceeding to take it out on others…she’s blaming her illness…”
Some comments were a little more sympathetic towards Ashley.
BriarKnave said: “I’m disabled…Traveling while disabled is a lot more work and I don’t blame people for getting frustrated, especially when they’re in pain…It sucks that cities aren’t built with disabled people in mind, but that means we have to be prepared and know our limits.
“I’d never blame someone for having a meltdown over it. But again, traveling while disabled requires extra panning to make it a good experience. If she won’t do that, then traveling with her won’t be that much fun, and I don’t blame someone for not wanting to spend the money on it.”
Newsweek has contacted the original poster for comment via the Reddit messaging system.
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