I know this post is going to seem like its jumping around with every paragraph, but at the end of it, every paragraph is related to the same topic in some way lol This is how my brain has been working on a regular basis and the reason I haven’t posted anything in a while. Because I know that it’s doesn’t flow the “proper” way, or have perfect grammar/punctuation, or that most of it may not even make sense. So, please take what you can from it and if there isn’t anything beneficial at all, I hope the next post has something to offer.
One of the most common questions I get is, “how do you help people understand what it’s like?” The answer to this question is very simple; There isn’t a way to make them fully understand. It’s also not your job to make them understand, if that’s not what you want to do. When I became disabled, I spent so much time thinking about how I was supposed to quickly explain to people why I had to use a wheelchair, or why I couldn’t get out a full sentence without having to correct the things I was saying or take a break to regroup. I wasn’t even doing it for myself, I was doing it to please others. I mean, they asked the question and I had to answer right? Or that would be rude? Wrong. Living your life disabled doesn’t mean you automatically owe the personal details of how you got there, if you’ll ever be “fixed,” or what accommodations you have/need on a day-to-day basis. If it is someone your close with who is genuinely wanting to get to know the struggles and thoughts, you have to go through everyday then that’s great and I am definitely not talking about those types of relationships. Im talking about the instances where you’re wheeling your way around a store and someone looks at you with pure judgement and says something along the lines of, “are you even disabled?” Or my personal favorite, “you’re to young to need that.” Realizing you don’t have to respond to those questions or statements will make things so much easier in the long run.
Do you ever have those days where keeping conversations is just too hard to do? Whether is be because you’re overwhelmed or because you just need some time to yourself to be the best version of you? Days like this happen for me quite often, especially with all the changes I’m trying to get use to. At first, I would give more of myself than I had. I didn’t want anyone to be upset with me or to feel like I was forgetting about them. However, the more I tried to make sure I was available when people needed me, the harder it got to stay present with myself. Which made it harder for me to get the things done in life that is necessary when trying to start new, or to stay mentally healthy. I felt like for me to be a good friend, or a good sister/daughter/mother/wife, I needed to put everyone else’s feelings before my own. Which led to days where I was mentally exhausted because I would spend all day learning something new (with my situation this is extremely hard), then would spend my evenings or my break times making myself available for those who needed me. Never giving my brain time to just reset from life around me. This is not a healthy way to live, and all its going to do is lead to burnout. If you feel everyone else deserves your time and your company, why do you not believe that you deserve your own time where you are focusing on yourself?
One thing to know about me is, if there is something that needs to get done, if I don’t do it at that moment, I won’t be doing it at all. Not because I don’t want to but because I will forget. Every single time. If I get a text message or chat notification and I don’t respond at that time, chances are I won’t be messaging back unless I get another notification from the same platform. I have people in my life who completely understand this and never try to make me feel bad for missing a message or taking a long time to reply. But I also have people that get upset. Because they could never understand what its like to live with not having full function of your brain. And at some point, I had to let go of the fear of making them upset. Because it is not up to me to validate their feelings or their self-worth. Just as it is not up to anyone to tell their medical history to make someone else understand why they need a mobility aid, a hearing aid or any other kind of assistive technology to be as successful as they can be.
With every one of these short and simple, but far too common instances of someone else needing gratification, does it seem like they even remotely consider how you’re feeling? Or what effect asking the question/making a statement would have on you? It really doesn’t seem that way, does it? So why be considerate enough to answer their question or reply to that message when they didn’t give you the consideration of treating you the way any person deserves to be treated?