Coping with Disability

First, I want to say, most people with disabilities probably don’t consider themselves disabled. There is a stigma of being disabled: it is seen as a weakness, a burden to family and society, and as though something is inherently wrong with the person. (But that is not how I see it).

Not all disabilities are visible. I don’t sit in a wheel chair. I don’t need a walker or a seeing eye dog.

To the outside world, I’m just like anyone else, except I have trouble holding a job that requires consistency…which is most jobs.

What outsiders don’t see are my sleepless nights. Flashbacks hit me hard at night. My body remembers things that even my mind has mostly blocked out. 

I relive trauma probably three or four nights per week on average. The effects range from full body episodes where I think I’m dying, to insomnia, to migraines, and bouts with IBS. I also get riddled with depressive episodes.

Mostly, I endure and keep fighting the good fight. But there are days I simply cannot function. Either body issues limit me or I am just a bundle of nerves on the verge of crying or running away.

It hadn’t even occurred to me that my condition could be considered disabling. I always just blamed myself and thought myself to be a failure.

Rather than have a defeatist attitude, I have been working odd jobs on my terms. I am able to set my own schedule and work as many hours as I’m able without overdoing it. I’m adapting and working around my own issues.

It’s been a long, bumpy road, but I feel like I’ve switched to an off-road vehicle and I can handle things better. Now that I am understanding my own state of being, I am able to adapt working conditions to me rather than forcing myself to do things that I know don’t work for me.

There is a sense of relief in knowing that I am not a screw up and that I can do very well in the right environment.

I’m sad sometimes that I won’t finish graduate school. I think I could have been an amazing researcher in the field of psychology. I am at peace though, knowing that I can still study and write, even without a PhD.

It’s funny that I get these ideas about how I should do something, but the reality is I can do what I want, even without the protocol and formal education. Quite frankly, I have found that institutionalized education sucks the curiosity and passion right out of me. I’d much rather follow my own curriculum and learn through discussions with professionals and fellow philosophers.

I am letting go of preconceived notions about how I should do things, and just doing things in my way in my time and there is freedom in that.

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