What does it mean to be disabled? Am I disabled? I’ve been thinking about this lable a lot lately.
Sometimes I desperately want a category to fall into, to share a sense of community and camraderie, and at the same time I want to fight tooth and nail against being pigeon holed into a category I feel I have no right to be in.
Having seen others with far greater challenges I feel false in placing myself in this category. The trouble is, how much does one have to hurt and struggle and strive in order to be classified as disabled?
According to the government of Canada the definition of disability is as follows:
“Any severe and prolonged condition that inhibits a person from performing normal and routine daily activities.”
Does this sound like me? Hell yeah!
I’ve been coping with physical limitations because of my back and ankle injuries for 12 years. I’ve also been coping with often debilitating depression and anxiety for 10 years. I have been unable to work for the past 6 years despite multiple tries to return to work.
So am I disabled? My insurance company says so. The government says so. My Doctor says so, although he believes it’s just a label the bean counters need.
Do I look disabled in the conventional sense? By this I mean; do I have a wheelchair or a cane or missing limbs or a straight jacket or whatever else society says makes a person obviously and believably disabled? No.
Do I feel as though I can relate to those with visible and invisible disabilites? Abso-fucking-lutely.
I guess my point is, while my struggles are largely invisible they’re still very real. So I guess, as long as I don’t let the label define me, I can proudly take my place in a community full of passionate, worthy, contributing individuals.
I am disabled. So fucking what?!