We’ve all been there. We pull into the parking lot at our local grocery store and park in one of the few spots designated for us. But someone who is able to freely park anywhere in the lot has their head out of the window and is yelling about how we shouldn’t park there. Or, we’ve been at our favorite restaurant, walking down the street, at our jobs, shopping for new clothes — just trying to do our thing — and we’re met with the stares of people passing by. Sometimes it feels like we live in constant judgment.
We might face critical judgment when applying for major things, such as a job or acceptance at a university. We might face judgment on a smaller scale about things like friendships or dating. But things can get far more personal than that. What if someone was judging you based on whether or not they thought you were disabled or “sick enough” to get something you needed? What if you were applying for income because you are out of work or cannot work enough? What if you’re applying for supplemental health insurance to help keep yourself well and cover all of the things you need?
If it seems as if this is a lot of pressure, it is. Now, imagine judgments that people might make about you based on how you look or behave versus how they think “someone like you” should look or behave. What do you do when someone does not believe you are disabled?
I read a Reddit post recently in which someone noted that their family members don’t believe they are disabled. First, remember that everyone’s situation is different in terms of the type of support system we have, the type of treatment we pursue, what we eat, and how we take care of ourselves. Even the same diagnosis can appear different in different people. Additionally, everyone has their own strengths and weakness.
The best advice I can give about what to do when someone doesn’t believe you are disabled is to say: Keep on keeping on. Only you know you, the situation you’re in, the pain you’re in, the skin you’re in. So, forget about them, right? That said, I also don’t think the answer is always that simple.
Maybe when someone doesn’t believe you are disabled you should take a step back and question yourself. What do you believe about you? Yes, you should 100 percent claim who you are as a disabled person if that is how you identify. But please, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.
If you are disabled, know that it is not the end of the world. You are still you. You can still do amazing things and live a full life. You are so much more than your disability, as you will come to find. You are amazing.
When someone doesn’t believe you, choose to believe in yourself.
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.