A man plugging his ears with his fingers, surrounded by swirling symbols of negativity and judgment.

Empowering Myself Through Negative Judgements

Recently I made an Instagram reel regarding how abled individuals, or those we surround ourselves with, are so quick to have opinions on how we choose to cope and go about our daily lives with our illness. They think we over-exaggerate our experiences, or will even put this pressure to speed the grieving process.

It’s as if they believe we want to spend our time putting our hopes and dreams on pause—like we want to be miserable all the time. Throughout the entirety of the downfall of my health the last two years, people have proven just this.

My Instagram community has my back

On days where the weight of this feels too heavy to carry alone, I know I can count on the community to help lighten the load. So many others feel this way, or have experienced the negative judgements of those who are healthy and thankfully don’t understand what it’s like to live with so many disabling symptoms.

Knowing others are going through such similar situations makes it easier to fight off the negativity of others, feel empowered, and reassure me that my experience is valid. One person in particular left an incredibly insightful comment on my reel, saying, “In a world where people value self disregard and self deprecation—loving yourself is an act of rebel. Only the dead go with the flow.” Which leads me to my next point.

Standing outside of the norm makes people uncomfortable

Many of us who live with a disabling illness are often trying to pick up the broken pieces of what we thought our lives would look like before falling ill, and having to come to terms with the idea that it may not look that way anymore. When this happens, or until there is improvement in our illness, we have to find ways to adapt to it and create a new life for ourselves, which can look different that the average persons lifestyle.

So many of us are home bound, bed-bound, and can’t handle a “real” job. When abled individuals see this, it makes them uncomfortable and many of them jump to the conclusion that, we never wanted a “normal” life in the first place, or are lazy and just don’t want a “normal” job. Well, as that one person commented on my reel: only the dead go with the flow. Your life doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s.

I will be successful in my own way—sick or not

I am allowed to both grieve my illness and mourn the loss of my old self, and simultaneously love myself. I can be ill and stuck in the confines of my bedroom and be successful at the same time. I can create whatever life I dream of (while being loyal to my limitations and boundaries) while struggling with my health, and I’m allowed to take my time in figuring it out.

It doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s, just as every abled person has the right and freedom to choose whatever they want for their lives, disabled individuals can do it too. The way people may perceive my life is not the truth—I’m not lazy, or making my whole life about my illness—I’m navigating through life with something that is constantly trying to stop me. And I refuse to quit. That is my truth.

I am unstoppable.

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