Do You Wish for a Magic Potion to Cure Your Disability?
When considering all types of disability and illness, it is common to feel sorry for the people affected. You might think to yourself things like: “Oh my, what a shame. Why should they have to go through that? That’s so unfair.”
Having a disability or chronic illness isn’t fair. But is there a different way of looking at things?
It may sound terribly cliché and cheesy, but I believe our tough times make us who we are, and can often influence our personalities in positive ways. I always like to think that my cerebral palsy and battles with mental ill health have made me a more compassionate and understanding person (hopefully those who know me will agree!) I think these things have made me more resilient and shown me how much inner strength I have. Every time I have fallen over, I have gotten back up. Every time I have felt I couldn’t keep going, I have.
Having these experiences has opened my mind in ways it would perhaps not have been if I had not gone through them. Before depression, I thought of it as “being very sad.” Before I knew what anxiety was, I just thought of myself as foolishly worried about things that did not seem to bother other people – a “worrier.” I think my firsthand experience opens a door for me to a whole new level of understanding when it comes to people’s struggles with their mental health. Of course I’m not saying I have all the answers — mental illness affects everyone very differently after all — but I do have a baseline to work from when it comes to understanding how powerful (and sometimes self-destructive) a person’s own mind can be.
I think my firsthand experience with physical disability has made me more open to the daily struggles one can face with physical impairment. How perilous and tiring just getting around can be and the importance of inclusion and trying to make these daily obstacles some face less of a factor in our society. It has shown me the significance of an outstretched hand offered in assistance, of someone willing to change their ways and pace to accommodate another — all because I have needed it myself at points.
I also think these things make me frequently contemplate how genuinely lucky I am. I go through things, but am ultimately reminded how it could all be so much worse. I am independent, capable and functioning pretty well – the same can sadly not be said for many.
I’m not saying everything is a bed of roses. Being physically disabled and experiencing mental illness isn’t fun or desirable for me. If someone offered me a magic potion that could make me able-bodied and get rid of the anxiety, depression etc. you had better believe I would drink it!
However, if I was offered the chance to be born again without it all, I really don’t think I would take the deal, because the resulting person wouldn’t be me! Despite all the rubbish, I think I am an overall better person for it.
Getty image by Zeferli.