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On Disability and Self Confidence

#Selfconfidence #Disability #progress

Growing up, I was never a particularly confident person. I remember being a little kid, hiding behind my mother while at my grandma's house, too shy to talk to this woman I had known my whole life. In school, I was too afraid to raise my hand, so I would walk to my teachers desk to ask them my question. Somedays that was too nerve wrecking, so I just sat silently.

In middle school my self confidence PLUMMETED. I've never hated myself, or how I looked more than I did then. You'd think, that me becoming disabled as a freshman, in late 2020/early 2021 would make my mental health worse. Ironically the opposite happened. That's not to say it was an immediate change, infact it's much the opposite. I struggled a LOT in the beginning. My first symptom were tics, kinda ironic that the kid who hates any form of attention on them, now has a disorder that almost garuntees they get attention anywhere they go. In the beginning I could (for the most part) suppress them. So I went to school, and did my best to hide them. I mostly suppressed in class, letting my self tic freely at lunch with my friends who I knew wouldn't judge me.

This went well, until summer break, my tics got worse, I could no longer supress. My sophmore year was rapidly approaching, and I panicked. I could no longer hide my tics. What would people say? Who would stare? Would they think I was faking? And more "What if"s. I had a panic attack a bit before my first day of school. I go to school, and it wasn't as bad as I feared.

Then summer rolled around, and I got a cane (I technically got one during my Sophmore year, but I rarely used it, and didn't use it at school). My mobility declined to a point I needed to bring it to school. Again, I was terrified. If last year made me panic, I was fucking petrified. Again, I had a panic attack a week before school started. And again, when I went to school, I realized that it wasn't that bad.

Funnily enough the same issues that gave me so much anxiety, taught me self confidence. Being in public, as a teenager with tics, and a cane mean that people stare at you. At first I felt ever individual stare boring a hole into my soul. But, overtime I stopped noticing them. My tics have calmed down significantly (now I rarely tic), and I still use a cane. But people still stare, and I don't care anymore. I had to learn to deal with people making fun of me. There's so many things I was forced to deal with, that taught me self confidence. My body is broken, but it still does so much for me, if 11-14 year old River, could've seen how amazing she was, and just how much worth it had.

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