Why do I identify as someone with a disability?


MARCH, 2016


A disability is defined as physical or mental impairment of movements, actions, and/or the senses. People tend to think mental illness isn’t a disability because most of the time…they’re not. However, when you have suffered to the point of permanent destruction in functionality and a daily living mental illness turns into a disability. 

So, why do I identify as someone with a disability?

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I can’t go to school full-time due to pre-occupation of anxiety with attacks that can result in distractions to the class. I haven’t attended regular schooling in eight years because I have been in treatment therefore I don’t learn the same way as other students. My medication causes confusion, loss of concentration, and memory problems. I have around five mandatory appointments a week so I cannot attend regular classes.

Not only do I need accommodations in school, but when I am functional enough to work I need even more accommodations. The same reasons as schooling apply with part-time work, concentration and memory, and include the ability to interact with customers due to a speech impediment and severe social anxiety. I cannot do a physical job due to heavy medication which results in the inability to stand for more than one hour.

“I’m not ashamed to admit I have a disability, and I’m not ashamed to admit that my disability is in the brain.”

I know it’s extremely hard for people to understand this part of my life, “Just get a job, it’s not that hard” especially since I due suffer from financial problems due to my disability. But for me, it really is hard. I can’t work and go to school at the same time and when I do chose one of those things I am only functional enough to do it part-time.

As you can see, this hinders a lot of opportunities in my life. I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, or a groomer but I don’t have the availability to commit to a full-time job. So, I use accommodations to do what I can. I attend McMaster University part-time majoring in Justice, Political Philosophy and Law, and in the summer I am a part-time dog bather.

Petsmart 2017

Put it into Perspective

Imagine going to college but only getting 60% of the information needed to pass your courses. A mark of 50% is a pass and a mark of 75% must be reached to stay in your program, and if you do well enough 80%+ can be used for a scholarship. With your disability of 60% you have the ability to pass but not the ability to stay in your program of choice while a scholarship is out of the question completely.

I’m not ashamed to admit I have a disability, and I’m not ashamed to admit that my disability is in the brain. I identify with a disability because I cannot function at the same level as a regular person of society. People with full-time jobs can operate full-time while I am diagnosed with a 60% functionality.

I have a disability and I could write to you why I have one and how it manifested, but all you really need to know is the fact I can only do 60% of what you can do and I must get 100% on everything to achieve that with no room for mistakes. You can ignore my disability and shrug it off as “laziness” or “lack of motivation” but I will continue to do the best I can with the small percentage of what I have. Maybe I won’t ever be able to work full-time and it’ll take me almost triple the amount of time to receive my education but with what I do achieve in my life I can promise you I’ve done with everything I have.

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