Cerebral Palsy

Mentally Balancing the Positives and Negatives of My Disability

The aim of my blog is to capture both good experiences and bad experiences I have had and continue to have throughout my, life. Yes, I’ll admit I’m a positive person and even with the negative blogs I always seem to try and find a ‘positive ending’. However, I’d be lying if I said that my life was a bed of roses and therefore sometimes, I do have to talk about my negative experiences and be truthful. But, at 20 years old I’m still learning how I balance those very powerful but controversial elements of my disability…

I consider myself quite lucky and I have a lot to be grateful for, for example, I have a great family and great friends as shown via my featured image. I have friends that I have also gained because of my disability and it’s hard to see my disability negatively because I have great people around me and have had some amazing opportunities like this blog. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t challenges that I have to deal with.

Living with a disability comes hand in hand with dealing with challenges and I think I’ve gotten quite good at not letting these challenges bother me, but at times I question whether this is just a front.

Let’s take driving, for example, I’ve been on my driving journey for 4 years now and although the journey will make it more worthwhile in the end it would have still have been nice to not have all the hiccups. For example, the multiple assessments I’ve had as explained in my driving blog.

I try to be optimistic in most aspects of my life, for example, I use a lot of humour (you’ll know that if you come here a lot) when around friends and family. Which means that when someone comments about my disability who does mean to be hurtful it doesn’t bother me. This doesn’t mean I should keep quiet because people still need to be educated.

Similarly, when I’m around other disabled people who have had far more negative experiences than I have, I often try to lighten the mood by saying “well this wasn’t the best experience I’ve had but…” and I find that sometimes I have to remove myself from the situations.

Life has dealt me some tough cards but all in all I have a fantastic life, and I do love my life. But am I chirpy because I’m just brushing my negative feelings under the carpet? Should I be questioning the barriers I face in society more vigorously?

Ableism exists, I’m not denying that, and yes, the barriers that disabled people face on micro, menso and macro levels do get to me and sometimes I do get upset and frustrated by what I read in the media. As a disabled advocate, I will voice my opinion when needed and I know that there is still a lot that needs to be done. We should never stop fighting for our rights and should always question ableism.

However, at he same time, I’m only human and there’s only so much negativity I can mentally take before what I read and see has an effect on me. Again, sometimes the effects are encouraging, and it only fuels me to carry on and keep voicing my opinion. But sometimes I read something and think to myself that’s a fight for another day and sometimes I feel bad for not being strong enough to share that post.

But, why should I feel bad? There is no model that shows you the stages of accepting your disability. So, therefore, what does accepting a disability look like?

The truth is that it can be what you make it. Me accepting my disability may look different to someone else accepting their disability. Some people become advocates some people don’t, some people never accept their disability. There is no right or wrong way to go about it.

There are still elements of my disability that will always frustrate me like the fact that I’m always the last one to be ready despite starting an hour earlier than everyone else. But all in all, I’d say that I’ve accepted disability I just need to make sure that I can mentally maintain balancing the positives and negatives of life with a disability.

Thank you for reading,

Georgia
@georgiavine4213
@GeorgiaVineOT

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