I used to shy away from telling people I had a disability. Partly because I saw how my friends who are disabled were treated by those around them. Yet here I am coming to terms with my own disabilities. It’s not an easy subject to discuss. People think you are lesser than they are because you struggle with things they take for granted.
I have multiple disabilities. For starters I permanently broke my foot in an accident I don’t talk about. I walk with a cane. I have a handicap permit. I cannot do any job that requires me to be on my feet for the majority of the day. This limits the jobs I can pursue. It is a physical disability I had to come to grips with. I constantly have people asking me why I didn’t just get the surgery to fix my foot or why I don’t do physical therapy. Put it simply money. I couldn’t afford the surgery and I can’t afford physical therapy. So I walk with a cane. I limp with a cane rather, I don’t walk anywhere. I can’t I physically cannot run. I cannot stride. I cannot skip. I cannot do jumping jacks. I am severely limited in what I can do as a result.
I also have a slew of mental health disabilities. First up is borderline personality disorder. My emotions get the best of me. If I lose my temper I am blinded by anger and literally nothing can calm me down. This has landed me in trouble with the law on multiple occasions. It is something I cannot control. I take mood stabilizers but they can only do so much. This limits the stressful situations I can be in and still function.
I was a news reporter for several years with this disability. I cannot tell you how many times I had to sit in an office while upper management literally yelled at me for mistakes I made I couldn’t control. Things that prevented me from climbing the ladder too high.
I also have bipolar disorder. I can’t begin to tell you how debilitating it is to not have the focus to function in society. This keeps me from performing high stress and mentally demanding jobs. This is another reason why I failed as a news reporter. I struggled to control my mania and then depression would make me unable to write well. I could just shut down. There are days where I literally cannot get out of bed because depression is crippling to me.
I also have severe social anxiety disorder. If I am in a space of any size that has more than two people, myself and one other person, I shut down. I can’t speak. I can’t breath. I run the risk of having an anxiety attack which I have had multiple times while at work. I can’t tell you how many jobs I lost because of a panic attack. There is nothing I can do for this one. There is no treatment. There is no magic pill that makes me able to talk to people. I can handle one-on-one conversations with people I trust but add a third person and my brain goes into panic mode.
I am trans gender. While this isn’t a disability in it’s own right it is a limiting factor in my ability to find gainful employment. I struggle with discrimination all the time. While it isn’t a tried and true disability per se it has caused me to lose employment. I was told by one employer, in Texas, they were legally allowed to discriminate against me because I was trans. I couldn’t fight back because they had religious exemption.
I have a medical condition that limits my ability to function. My stomach muscles do not work. If I eat too much solid food, no matter what it is, I throw up. Sometimes I puke even on an empty stomach. I get dry heaves literally every single day. I have bathroom issues as a result too. I am technically supposed to be on a 100 percent liquid diet but I can’t survive like that so I run the risk of vomiting every single time I eat anything.
I have physical, mental health and medical disabilities. I struggle with day to day things people take for granted. Yet I constantly have to face people telling me to just get over it, buck up, try harder, etc., when I literally cannot. I do the best I can with what I have to work with but truth be told I have severe limits to what I can do. And it sucks the way I get treated as a result.
Some dismiss my disabilities. They say so and so has x and they do just fine. They forget each person is different. While it is possible to over come some of my individual disabilities, it is extremely difficult with everything I face. Yet I do. I fight on. I do not lean on my disabilities even though I suffer. I do try harder. I do buck up. I do push myself beyond my limits until I break down. Because our society is ableist and if you have any sort of deviation from the norm you are treated like an outcast of society. A worthless human incapable of making a “real contribution” to society. A drain on resources. This is why I struggle.