This post is going to be a bit personal so don’t be alarm by it’s nature and it might shock you too. But it’s best that I share it with you now since it’s something I’ve been meaning to touch upon for the last decade. And because of it’s relevancy to today’s topic to support Bloggers Unite, I want to embrace the beauty of Empowering People with Disabilities.
So in encouragement to those who are currently disabled and those who were, this post is for you. It’s told from my own experience but it goes to show that disability is not something that should limit you. It’s something that should empower you to get up, stand up and fight for your right as Bob Marley says. I hope you get something out of today’s post and I would appreciate it if you support the cause and pass it on! Without further ado, here’s my contribution.
When I was in college I had frequent episodes of insomnia. I just couldn’t sleep no matter what I was doing. Who knows what was going through my head. Worries. Anxiety. Identity. It was my college phase and being that it is a crucial point in any young adult who questions their future, success was also part of the mix. Perhaps I wanted too much of everything but not much of anything was ever accomplished. For that, sleep didn’t exist.
During the last day of class and towards my Associate’s degree, a tragic thing happened. I broke down. Uncontrollably, I found myself in the ladies room unable to hold back the tears which resulted from liberating my thoughts. You see I had just written a play for Drama and it was so personal, I fell into the throngs of the pain. But I didn’t want anyone to find me that way. However, word did go out.
The next thing I knew, I sat with some counselors, still dazed by the overwhelming thoughts of coming undone, my head spun and I spoke in tongues. I began to mumbled and then suddenly, my body went into shock. The ambulance came to take me to their psychiatric center while I was still out of it. That day, my parents must have found themselves in the devil’s crutch because I don’t remember how it all happened. I only remembered I was tired, relieved and overburdened with having to deal with what’s going to happen next.
From that point on, I began to break down my life through living with minimal worries, burdens and strife. I decided to go M.I.A. with my journey towards graduating from college and take a dip towards me. Strangely, the only way I could have been through that point was to go on disability. However, here’s the upside. I was happy. I was so happy for being blissful even though it wasn’t real, it began to manifest itself each day more and more for over a decade.
The stigma of dis_ability
I found myself deep in the trenches of psychology for awhile even though I knew I wasn’t disabled, but the system which enabled me to get better consisted of it. So, rehabilitation as they said became effective. With my consent, I choked myself with psychotropic drugs to sleep better. For years it helped. Then suddenly, I didn’t want them anymore.
You can debate on how one can best determine a life but I’ve seen bodies so disabled through massive use of drugs, I learned first hand, that wasn’t going to be me. So I wanted out. I wanted nothing but pure breaths of fresh air and genuine mental candy to sustain me. Not some chemical high.
For the last 7 years I have taken control of my life and truly made a place for what I believe has allowed me to become free. I’m happily married and those uncertain thoughts no longer bother me. In fact, it has enabled me to live life beyond the stigma.
In the beginning, as I face the harsh realities that came with being disabled, I found myself resorting to the mental trap of thinking I’m on disability. While that may be true, breaking the barriers beyond the scope of your mind was harder, but I decided I wanted to break out. I wanted to fly over the cuckoo’s nest.
This is because I have seen enough to know that that’s not what I want to grow old as. There is more to life than the four walls and red chair I’ve frequently sat in. With that, I’ve learned to laugh stronger and be apart of what truly is worth living, life.
I’m no longer disabled today. However, the things I saw from that part of me I cannot forget. In part, it has a lot to do with opening yourself up to understanding the world and where you want to be. I’ve learned as humans, we are stronger than our weaknesses. Thus, you just have to be aware and find out as you’re experiencing it. For me, that was to write and that was how I got hungry.
Hunger (12.17.1998) I want to feed my soul, my body and my mind With the beauty of life waiting just outside I want to look at the world and think of the future Cause I'll be around and I'll get hungry again
For nostalgia purpose, this is now over a decade and a half but I want to share it with you today so that you can see how my initial voice towards freedom shaped itself. Listen as I sang about the urge to break out.
Restoring hopes and dreams
There’s a certain power with words. I catapulted myself into music and wrote to empty out all the fears, anxiety and life of which made sense. It helped me put into perspective living for the moment. Thus, I was in bliss.
This monkish era resulted in the age of my enlightenment. I became one with the universe and decided to go back into the throngs of working hell. There is something about falling back down to earth and feeling the pain which makes us all human and acknowledge it’s beauty instead of the usual dread.
Even to this day, I can’t recall that blurry journey because it’s beyond me. It’s not apart of my life anymore and it’s not something I believe in. But this much is true, I’ve survived and live to tell that disability is something that is not you. You cannot take defects and define yourself on the grounds of handicapping your life. You can only take what it is you have mold and have blind faith in the spirit of being strong. Thus, you have to rise.
Wiping the dust off my shoulders
For the last half a decade, my life has shifted for the better. It’s a new day everyday and the internet has made it possible to reach out in more ways than ever. And it is in this age of mass information that anyone can put on multiple suits. So the opportunities to reach out are tremendous.
I don’t want to limit myself to any one way unless it works for me. You should consider that too. Be aware that there are many possibilities which awaits for you. All you have to do is take action and stand up, rise to wipe off those cobwebs.
Disability is not a way of life but it can be if you want it to. What you should do is put life first and immerse yourself in the beauty of the human condition. Let’s support each other for growth, community and outreach. Thanks for reading and remember we all have the power to empower the disability inside ourselves to get up and fight for what it is that makes us happy in life.
To your empowerment,
What are your thoughts on disability and empowering life through illness or someone you know who’s disabled?