We are desperate to break the stigma of what defines “disabled” which also brings up the ever so important topic of “ableism.”
I’ve spend years feeling guilty, beating myself up and feeling disappointed in myself for not being able to do the things that “normal” people can do. I felt like even though I have been recognized as “disabled” by even the government, I was somehow not “disabled” and I was taking away from those of us who actually were “disabled.” But then, I looked at even my wording choice… I felt bad for ‘not being able’ to do things normal people could- not being able- aka “disabled.” I was actually, in reality and in fact not physically able to do many of the things that “able” people could do.
So why would I keep putting the pressure on myself to live like they were and try to do the things they’re doing? Because I was being ableist to myself in my head. Telling myself that I wasn’t sick enough to give myself a break essentially. I wasn’t being kind or compassionate with myself, I was putting pressure on myself to live like the able.
I never once, NOT ONCE, judged anyone else who had an invisible disability or a visible one. I have always looked at people with compassion, empathy and understanding. If someone said they suffer from crippling anxiety and couldn’t work a “normal” 40hr week because of it, I accepted it. I didn’t question them. If someone said they can’t leave their bed most days because they’re fighting chronic fatigue and chronic pain, I believed them. I’ve never had to ‘see’ disability to believe it, so why didn’t I treat myself the same…?
Our Instagram feed is full of everyone’s stories and experiences to bring awareness to #invisibledisabilitiesweek and it’s been so eye opening to read that many of you have felt the same way.
Chelsea and I are so incredibly passionate about changing the way invisible disability is seen (pun intended) and sometimes that starts with ourselves and how we see and treat ourselves.
Thank you everyone for sharing about this important week, and always know that Chelsea and I hear you, believe you, and see you! You always have a safe space with us! ?