Why Cerebral Palsy Awareness Is Vital This Month (and Every Month)
March is an especially important month for those of us who live with and are affected by cerebral palsy. It is a month in which we share all the intricate parts of us that come together to make us individualistic and unique. It is a month in which we strive to inform others about our disability. We are striving for understanding, but most importantly, we are looking for acceptance.
Acceptance is universal. It is something we all yearn for and all desire to some degree. However, when you are born with a disability, I believe the need for acceptance is often magnified. Let’s be honest, it is difficult to keep up with the expectations and norms of society. Especially in American culture, we are expected to earn respect and work for it. Society is very judgmental. Keeping up with the best and newest trends are hard enough on their own, but when you add a difference as large as cerebral palsy to the mix, the difficulty can become almost exponential.
The idea that we need and want to fit in is made essential in the world around us. When you are limited somewhat by your disability, this can become even more of an ideal situation that constantly swims around in your head, swirling around with the devilish thoughts that can sometimes convince us that we are not good enough. This pressure can build up in your head, just waiting to release, much like the steam coming from the top of a pressure cooker. This pressure can then lead to a mental breakdown, or even worse, increased levels of depression and isolation.
One of the biggest problems we seem to face is the fact that we are dependent on others, which can lead to the struggle of feeling burdensome. It is no doubt a horrible feeling that can manifest into nastier thoughts. It is a challenging thing to cope with, and no matter how many times our loved ones may tell us that caring for us is something they do out of love, we may still struggle to make that thought stick in our heads permanently.
Isolation is another issue we must tackle. Having a disability can become very lonely, especially if we must depend on others to get from place to place. A lot of times, we must stay home and therefore find ways to stay productive and busy, so we do not let the feelings of boredom and loneliness overwhelm us. Isolation can lead to depressive feelings if not managed and understood in the correct fashion.
Cerebral palsy awareness serves as a great reminder that we are not alone in our circumstances, both good and bad. It serves to remind us that we are never alone when fighting back with our bodies and muscles. Most importantly, though, it serves as a reminder to others who may not understand what it is like to live with a disability, that although hard, it is possible to live life to the fullest potential.
It allows us to show others that we are just like any other human being who wants to be loved, heard, and accepted. It allows us to use our voices, which are often stifled when other happenings and occurrences are seen as more important or valuable. It affords us the opportunity to know that we as a collective unit matter, especially to those who are on the outside looking in.
Image by Cottonbro on Pexels.