The Person Who Treated Me Worst Because of My Disability


Life is a state of constant change. Even when we don’t know it, things around us in life are always changing. Circumstances, relationships, moods. Humans can be incredibly temperamental, but we’re also habitual. As a child, we’ll touch a stove twice even though it burned us the first time, and we still do it as adults. We keep toxic people in our lives, we do things that are unhealthy for our bodies, and possibly worst of all, we consistently stay in mindsets that hold us back from being happy. These kinds of behaviors can be really difficult to change, because sometimes we don’t realize that we can be our own worst enemy.

I have been treated poorly by people in my life, but two years ago I experienced the worst treatment I have ever known. The perpetrator was a person I knew better than anyone, the person I should be able to trust the most.

It was me.

Of all the times “friends” have walked all over me, partners mistreated me, and strangers have been incredibly rude to me, none of it compares to the way I treated myself. I wanted others to accept me for my disability and who I was, but I was more harsh and ignorant toward myself than any of my peers.

If I had one kind person in my life during those times, I may have never gotten to the dark place that I found myself in. I could have, and should have, been that person for myself. Instead I dissected all my mistakes and punished myself every day, mostly for things I had absolutely no control over.

I know I’m not the only person with a medical condition who has done this. But the best decision I ever made was to recognize that I’m not a mistake. I work hard — sometimes harder than most people — through disability and the depression and anxiety that come with it. Now I’m building a future for myself. I used to be ashamed to have a visual impairment. Now, I’m proud to be exactly who I am, and I love the way it feels.

In my head, I have a reverse mirror of Erised. I look into it and see all the things I used to be, and I compare it to who I have become. I’ve learned it’s important to stay humble, but don’t forget to give yourself credit for the changes you have made. Treat yourself the way you want others to treat you, and never accept less respect than you give.

Follow this journey on The Blink Butterfly.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Blindness

A blind person crosses the street.

The Stigma My Blind Son Faces, And What I Decided to Do About It

My son Campbell is smart, curious, personable — and blind. Despite his long list of assets, his blindness is what society sees first. Soon after Campbell was born, I realized something was different. I found out he was blind after I noticed he wasn’t responding to visual cues. Ever since, for the past 23 years, [...]
fall day on the quad

12 Ways to Make Universities More Inclusive for the Blind

Here are 12 ways universities can make their campuses more inclusive to the blind. It’s based off of what I have personally observed and experienced at my university. 1. Braille labels. It’s imperative that universities put braille labels on classrooms, offices, mailboxes, etc. At my university, braille isn’t everywhere. The other day while I was trying [...]
woman and two girls stand on steps with guide dog

5 Things Children of Parents With Disabilities Understand About Life

People often ask me how I ended up with such amazing kids. “What did you do,” they ask, “to end up with such sweet, easy-going kids?” I’m not saying this to brag, and my girls do have their moments of misbehavior like any other kid. But I do feel like they’re pretty remarkable. And I don’t [...]
Keely Grossman.

7 Challenges I Face as a Blind University Student

As I go into my fourth year at Brock University come September, I think it’s important that my sighted peers know and understand what it’s really like to be a university student who happens to be blind. Here are 7 challenges I face on a regular basis, and how they could be solved. 1. People [...]