Every second month Anna shares her musings, personal insights, and observations of our diverse lives.
I’ve had a physical disability all my life: cerebral palsy. It impacts on how I walk, how I use my arms and hands, my posture and my speech.
Despite this, there are times that I forget how much of an impact my disability has on me, to the point that I wonder whether I have some kind of body dysmorphia! Let me share some examples with you.
I strut around my world forgetting how I appear to others when I walk. Then I’ll catch a glimpse of my reflection and be reminded of the iconic ‘Anna waddle’. But I tend to just shrug it off and carry on.
I also often push myself very hard each day, forgetting that an average day generally has an exhausting physical impact on me – never mind if I push myself to do even more. Then by the end of the day, or week, I’m so worn out that I need to rest for a whole day just to catch up. I’m reminded on a weekly basis that I experience fatigue as a result of the additional effort my body puts into daily functioning.
Now I know without a doubt that the majority of people with physical disabilities experience a similar physical impact just from getting through the day or week. I am definitely not unique in this respect. Personally, I find this fact reassuring. I’m not unique and that’s okay!
Why am I pleased that other people experience something similar? Quite simply because this makes me amongst the abnormally normal. Also, I believe that being able to go about life without letting body image stereotypes rule me and prevent me being myself, in full unique function, is an indicator that I am resilient and in good mental health.
It’s important to note that there are of course times when the aforementioned is not true. I have times when I struggle significantly with my inner voice – it can be so harsh and critical! Those times are very difficult. Again, I am confident that I’m not alone in experiencing a critical inner voice on occasion.
However going forward I will continue to strut, even knowing that I waddle. And I will continue to push myself, in moderation, because I’m a determined individual who has a lot of life to live.
Can you relate to my experience?