Becoming disabled is indescribable, so of course here I am trying to write about it.
I did not simply become disabled and accept it with the snap of the fingers: “Aha, so that explains everything! I’m disabled!”
Let me make the clear distinction between becoming vs being disabled. Becoming disabled is a learning process. Being disabled is what happens after the shock has subsided and one has accepted disability as part of his or her identity. Plenty of people have never “become disabled” because they’ve always been disabled – they have never been any other way. The difference between becoming disabled and being disabled is as simple as broken versus whole. When we finally reach the acceptance stage, we are once again whole, having accepted that disability is part of us now.
There is no timeline to follow after a sudden and shocking diagnosis – other than scheduled doctor appointments, and perhaps the sudden tendency to plan for the
unexpected worst so that if things improve there’s a reason to celebrate. Rather than having a reliable and predictable five-year plan, the sidewalk paves itself with each step you take.
It’s definitely not a walk in the park. Becoming disabled is more like walking through the apocalypse. Think broken pavement. Zombies. Car alarms. Birds, big black birds. And whatever else you can think of that you wouldn’t want to round the corner and run into. Clowns. Spiders. Snakes. Balloons. Door to door salespeople. Fear. That’s what I’m talking about. Fear. It’s what threatens to overtake each tentative step forward into the unknown, unpredictable new body you now inhabit. Fear is a powerful substance.
Continue reading Becoming Disabled Is the Apocalypse