Sarah Alexander, from Sarah Lex, is a disability and Lifestyle blogger as well as a Motability Scheme customer. Sarah has multiple chronic conditions, including Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. In this article, Sarah shares all the positive aspects of her disability, including how it makes her strong, patient and empathetic. Read more here.
More often than not we are confronted by society telling us that having a disability is a negative thing, that being disabled or chronically ill is the worst thing that could possibly happen to someone. ‘How can disabled people be happy?’ ‘How can disabled people live fulfilling lives?’ I’ve even been told (hand on heart, these words were said to my face), ‘I would rather die than be disabled.’ How many other disabled people have heard similar?
This notion that are lives aren’t worth living if we are not able bodied is ridiculous; my disability makes me who I am and there are so many positive traits and characteristics it has given/taught me. I can’t overcome my disability, nor do I want to, and I will always challenge anyone that deems my life unliveable because of my conditions.
If you’re struggling with acceptance or just struggling, I highly recommend making a list of your good qualities and try to connect them to your health. Here’s mine.
- I’m really strong – not like warrior strong; I won’t be entering any battles any time soon, but I live with pain 24/7 and have done since childhood (over 20 years). People have no idea the amount of pain I am in on a daily basis; some days I don’t make it out of bed and that’s okay but even when I am up and about, I am still dealing with chronic pain. I’ve got this. You’ve got this.
- I’m resilient – I deal with a lot of bad news, whether it’s test results or new diagnoses, and as difficult as that is, I always push through it and come out of the other side…even if I’ve had an hour-long cry beforehand.
- I’m a good listener – and will always be a message or phone call away. I love to talk but I also appreciate my friends and family always listening to my problems so am mindful of doing the same.
- I’m empathetic – and will never judge you. It’s important to me to never disregard someone’s feelings and never compare our situations as I dislike it when someone does that to me. Pain and illness are completely subjective so I will always consider your journey.
- I appreciate the little things – and I always will. I spend a lot of time at home in bed so a message from a friend I’ve not heard from in a while or a hug I didn’t ask for never goes unnoticed.
- I’m always learning – about myself, my disability, other people and their concerns.
- I’m a good friend – who hardly ever sleeps so if you’re worried about something at 2am I’m probably still awake and will be there to help you out. I also always have great TV recommendations and if we go shopping you can hang your bags on the back of my wheelchair.
- I’ll make you laugh – because I try to find humour in most things. I like the mantra, ‘if I don’t laugh, I’ll cry’, and crying gives me migraines so I much prefer laughing. My disability has given me the confidence to be able to laugh at myself and at some of the silly injuries I have or brain fog moments.
- I will use my platform – to educate and raise awareness about disability rights and the inequalities disabled people face. I am very active on Twitter and am passionate about using my voice.
I’m not always positive, I struggle with anxiety and depression but focussing on the positives really helps me concentrate on my worth and expel some self-love. We all need to feel like we matter even if we live in a world that tells us we don’t. Empower yourself and make a list of your best qualities because you’re awesome and everyone deserves to know it.