dear fellow survivors, I have been minded for a while to start a thread on this topic, so here goes permit me to think out loud, and I would love to have your thoughts on this. after over two years living with the effects of a significant stroke. I have come to accept that I am a disabled person. I am recognised by law as such, under thhe Equalities Act 2010, and therefore enjoy (not quite the right word) various protections as under one of the protected characteristics. so far so good. but there are more cultural pressures to deal with than asserting ones rights under the law. and this is whatI have been learning in the process of becoming disabled. one is the model of the super cripple. the expectation that an impairment is a challenge that anyone with character should be rousing themselves to overcome . I have struggled with this and I do not deny or diminish the inspiration of those who have overcome adversity, but as someone recently put it there are no olympics for chewing and swallowing. or just plain getting dressed yet for many of us these hidden mundane things takeevery ounce of energy and courage we have, every single day. the lack of understanding in society and the valuing of those who have spectacularly overcome injury in my experience is disabling, and that is partly why I talk about becoming disabled. I do not fit into society as I did before the injury. I am treated differently. sometimes with a kind of well meaning pity that makes me want to throw up. sometimes people want to help me. and I don't know how to turn them down without being rude, and often end up being curt. People sometimes feel they are entitled to touch me or take my arm, or leg to "help" me walk or negotiate getting in or out of a car. at one time any such intervention was very painful. particularly when my weak arm was suffering from subluxation. while this not the case now. these well meaning interventions are totally unwelcome and worse-humiliating. I have also come to be antagonistic ito that little word "just" as in the toilet is just at the end of the corridor, representing about a half hour struggle to walk that far. so these are just a few ways I am disabled by my community, and made to feel lesser because not able bodied. that's before I even get started on the world of work. I have though found it something of a relief to identify as disabled. my daughter recently came out as gay, and I think I shared a similar sense of relief coming out as disabled. I have only scratched the surface, and I am still learning about this strange new world I have been thrown into without my choice. I still strive to recover function where there is the possibility. but not to become normal whatever that might mean.
I don't know if any of that will make sense to any of you but interested to hear your thoughts.
with best wishes