A while back, I saw a post on Reddit talking about feelings of frustration with a disability. The original poster discussed being frustrated with disability ― specifically limited abilities versus those of their able-bodied peers ― the general challenges that people with disabilities face every day that our able-bodied peers do not blink an eye at. For example, the freedom of slipping on your shoes as you run out the door. For many of us, putting our shoes on is at least a 10-minute ordeal that can be accompanied by the need of assistive devices.
Personally, I think people with disabilities (speaking as a person with a disability) are some of the busiest people on the planet. Not only are we expected to attend many doctor and therapy appointments just to maintain our health and abilities, but we also are expected to hit the same milestones as are our peers (and we feel the pressure to do so, especially when we see our peers or friends accomplishing something.) This is not a complaint, we obviously want to live full lives and want to be able to do the same things as everyone else.
Society, however, needs a crash course in compassion. Imagine having to attend two- to three-hour-long therapy appointments a week, as well as one or two doctor appointments (at minimum), while also attending college full time and having a job. Are you feeling stressed? That same pressure you just imagined, we carry every day. Remember, many of us don’t have the luxury of slipping on our shoes and running out the door with 5 minutes to spare. (I’m sure most of us couldn’t even get dressed in five minutes, period!)
Nearly all things people with disabilities do, they do with purpose and a process. Sometimes, we get burned out from the process, no matter how used to it we are. We just need a mental health day. We need an angry day. We need a mad-at-the-entire-world and angry mad-at-nothing days. Our fast-paced, on-the-go-24/7 world hardly allows for such a break. But you should advocate for one. It’s OK to be angry. In fact, advocate for a few of these days a year for yourself, because you need them and you deserve them!
There is no manual or rule book for how to deal with all of the feelings that come with having a disability ― feelings of grief, sadness, disappointment, resentment, anger. Normal feelings, that sometimes come for us in waves. And just when you think you’re over it, the feelings come back again!
But you should just keep going. Keep looking ahead and know that better days are coming. Keep moving ahead, but do not forget or fear looking back because it is great to see how far you have come. Remind yourself of that on your worst days when you are most frustrated.
You are doing great!
Note: Cerebral Palsy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cerebral Palsy News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cerebral palsy.