What I Have, Not Who I Am
Something has been on my mind for many years but surfaces only occasionally. This something has to deal with the stigma surrounding disabilities. Being apart of a couple mommy groups, I get to "see" a variety of people from all over the world of various backgrounds, some of these backgrounds include disabilities.
The stigma surrounding disabilities is something near and dear to me, especially since I have a few and so do several members of my family. I've noticed lately that several individuals will say something like, "I'm diabetic", "I'm asthmatic", etc. In my complete and total non-professional opinion, this phrasing allows a disability/medical condition to control a persons life; it places limits upon what they can and cannot do. A person who uses this type of phrasing when referencing their disability, I have found, often use their disability as a crutch to not attempt to reach their potential. They let the disability hold them back. And as a result, the rest of society views them as weak, and sickly. This is not how I choose to live.
I choose to keep control of my life from my conditions. My ADHD causes me to lack focus, especially in areas where I am required to pay attention for long periods of time (example. School). My CRPS (Chronic Radial Pain Syndrome), causes me to be in some sort of pain all the time. I was diagnosed at 15 after I broke my heel playing soccer when it continued to cause severe pain after the break had healed. And then there is my joint and ligament issues, which I am im the process of figuring out the cause, but I have my suspicions.
I choose to keep my mindset being these disabilities will not disable me. I won't let them. I choose to say I have a learning disability, because I'm not going to let it dictate how well I do in school. I choose to say I have CRPS and not let my constant pain of some level prevent me from running or hiking or doing anything I choose to do. Same with my joint and ligament issues. Sure those may slow me down a bit and mean I have to be extra aware of how my body is feeling, but if I want to run a marathon someday, by golly, I'm going try my hardest to run one.
Sadly, many individuals don't think along the same lines that I do. Many, including in my own family, think along the lines of "I'm learning disabled." Which places limitations by allowing the disability to rule their life. Instead of saying, "I have a learning disability" which places the individual in control of their life, not their disability. Sometimes, I find it really hard to watch someone place limitations on themself because one simple phrase. So I will end with this, I have a learning disability. I have CRPS. I have severe food allergies. I have joint and ligament issues. They are all apart of me, but they are or never will be me.