The Mighty Logo

When a 'Friend' Made an Ableist Comment About My Cerebral Palsy

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Throughout my time at college, I have met a variety of different people. Some have been accepting of me and my disability, whereas others have not. Over the course of my college career, I have found that the more I am open about the obstacles I face, the more people seem to understand. This leads me to the focal point of this story.

I recently had an old friend tell me that cerebral palsy is a precursor to me being alone for the rest of my life. May I also add that she said this after she inquired about my diagnosis story. For many people who struggle with chronic illness and disability, this can be a sensitive topic. Upon hearing what she said, I was shocked because I had considered her to be a close friend. However, this comment, among others, immediately changed my mind.

I have heard several variations of this phrase from various people throughout life, so I found myself wondering why this comment hurt even more than the previous ones, which were almost identical in nature. It was then that I concluded I possessed a false notion that college translated to developing maximum maturity. Little did I know, I was mistaken.

It also allowed me to reflect on how far I’ve come in my journey to self-acceptance. Not to mention, the incident showed me the importance of cherishing the people who genuinely like me for me. Years ago, I would have been so broken up about a comment like this. Now, though, I see it for what it really is: hate, intolerance and ableism. I have been blessed with an amazing group of friends. They have looked beyond the surface and know wholeheartedly that there is more to me than just my disability.

A small comment is simply a comment; with my true friends by my side, I know everything is going to be OK.

To anyone who is feeling ridiculed or alone, I want you to know that there are people out there cheering you on. You will get through this, even if it seems impossible in the moment.

Getty image by Arata.

Originally published: February 23, 2021
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home