Today’s post is in response to watching the excellent launch video for the #WeThe15 campaign, a campaign being launched by the International Paralymic Committee ahead of the Tokyo Paralympics which start next week. The campaign is the largest multi-organisation collaboration of it’s kind, working across the globe to improve the lives of 15% of the population who live with a disability. This post isn’t some self-deprecation thing, either, it’s an evaluation of why the disabled community is being viewed as brave and inspiring just for living with a disability.
At the start of the video, various people who are featured with a range of different disabilities, both physical, mental and learning, talk about how they are neither brave, or inspiring, or a reminder to others to be happy they don’t have a disability. And I tell you what, it was REFRESHING to see. I’m not going to shy away modestly from the fact I have been called both brave and inspiring when talking openly about my heart condition, especially in the run up to my 2013 surgery, and my more recent ADHD diagnosis, it has happened quite a bit actually, and whilst I’m grateful for the well-intentioned compliments, we need to have a think about why we find the disabled, including neurodiverse, population inspiring when they are living their day to day lives.
Today I had another therapy session for my ADHD and tonight it really got me think about acceptance. I thought I had accepted my diagnosis, but the reality is, I haven’t finished that process yet. I thought I was ok with the new diagnosis, the having to explain to those around me and the new found understanding of my habits and characteristics, and the reality it that isn’t untrue, but it’s a far longer process than I thought it was. It’s going to take me a long time to really accept this and be comfortable, and that’s ok.
I’m struggling, and the truth is I have been for as long as I can remember. I’m not writing this to try and sound purposefully attention seeking or negative, just to be honest. It’s a lot easier to be honest with how you are feeling when you know why you are feeling like it, and therefore I have a lot of things to start admitting and acknowledging now I know what is the cause of a lot of it.
I chose this photo because I really like it and also, vainly, because it got lots of likes when I posted it on social media. Over 100 people liked a simple photo of me finally having bothered to put make up on in the middle of last Summer. But much as we shouldn’t be living life for the likes, I’ll admit the interest it garnered and the nice comments people wrote underneath it buoyed my confidence in my appearance, something I have struggled with all my life.
Currently, I feel like I’m standing at a crossroads, with a sign as helpful as the one above, without a map. And in all honesty it’s a struggle. I don’t intend to sound as dramatic as this does, but in March everything changed for me, not a single part of my life, bar my home (for that I am grateful) stayed the same and I have been floating in limbo ever since. I lost my job, my hobbies stopped, my community responsibilities changed drastically and any semblance of a sense of purpose went with south with them and now I have no idea a) what I want, b) how to get there or c) how to cope with the complete lack of stability that it’s causing.
This morning, after my final diagnosis appointment with a Psychiatrist, I have been diagnosed with Combined-ADHD. In short, this means I have both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive traits and in terms of the ADHD spectrum, my Dr said I was moderate. I’m thankful that this process hasn’t taken very long and that options available to me for private treatment via the NHS have meant that I have not had to face long waiting times and I have the answers to my suspicions. In terms of what else I am feeling about this diagnosis, well, many things, and it’s going to take me some time to process those feelings. So I’m starting the only way I know how: writing.
So, I am now a lot closer to an ADHD diagnosis than I thought I would be by now as there was a way for me to speed up the process. I also appreciate that this may turn out to not be that, although the more I read about it and have seen from others’ experience this week, the more it feels like ‘the shoe fits’, but regardless of what it turns out to be, this week has made me evalute myself a lot more and has forced me to have to try and articulate what I mean about how I feel and how I find things. And it’s made me identify what I find hardest about whatever this is.
This image may not look like much and may not strike anyone as significant, after all it’s just a ticked off to-do list, but this is a to-do list I completed pro-actively and without the constant feeling of overwhelm and that is where the achievement and significance lies. As organised and ‘together’ as I look on the outside, it’s a constant uphill struggle that rarely ends in a win.
After moving to our current house just under 2 years ago, I fairly quickly discovered there was a lake essentially behind the estate that we live on at the top end of our village. The lake separates our village from the next settlement, a new housing development on the edge of Peterborough.