Illustrated by Abigail Phoenix

What Disability Pride Means To Me

Last year I wrote a similar article about what disability pride means to me, but I was still coming to…

Last year I wrote a similar article about what disability pride means to me, but I was still coming to grips with what my disability meant and how it affected me. Since then I’ve stopped trying to ignore my disabilities and pretend they don’t affect me, and focused more on how they positively affect me as well as getting appropriate support.

Dealing with the mental aspects

Two of the disabilities I’ve been diagnosed with are OCD and Dyspraxia. Years ago I refused to tell anyone I had OCD, I felt as if people would think I’m making it up for attention, or see me as crazy. Disability Pride Month has helped me understand that I don’t need to care about what people think of me, and having OCD is a part of me that I’ve had since I was a child, I can’t get rid of it. I started refusing to hide this part of myself out of fear and realised that if people can’t accept it, I don’t need them in my life. 

I’ve realised that my creativity, ability to think outside the box, quick thinking, sense of humour, and so much more are partly a result of my disabilities. I love these aspects of myself, and I wouldn’t change them, which helps me accept the negatives that come with them. 

Dealing with the physical aspects

In the past year I found out that I have a physical disability, although I’m currently awaiting a proper diagnosis, it’s caused some form of nerve damage. Although It’s relatively new that I’ve gone to a doctor, I’ve struggled with pain and loss of feeling since 2017 and tried to push it away refusing to acknowledge it. 

When I was learning to accept my diagnosis of dyspraxia and OCD, I realised how silly I was by ignoring what was wrong with me physically. Seeing everyone else be open with their use of mobility aids and having help with their physical disabilities allowed me to accept mine. Although I still have a long way to go, I started taking steps to make life easier for myself. I now manage to go to the gym regularly and am slowly building up more strength in my legs again. 

Becoming more comfortable with myself

The overall takeaway from the past year is that I’ve realised just how capable I am and although my disabilities affect me every day, I’m finding new ways to overcome them. I feel more comfortable allowing others to know about my disabilities rather than hiding any difficulties and making excuses for pain or absence. 

To anyone struggling with a disability right now, there is help for you out there. Whether it’s help for your symptoms of your disabilities, or help with accepting yourself. Here are a few general places you can find support: 

Lincolnshire County Council Website: https://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/disability

Lincolnshire Talking Therapies: https://www.lincolnshiretalkingtherapies.nhs.uk/home

Student Wellbeing Centre: https://studentservices.lincoln.ac.uk/

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