Last week I asked a question which I guess in ways lead to me questioning myself about aspects of my identity.
My question was: does anyone know of any good screen reading software?
The question asked of me was: are you visually impaired?
This was something I had never thought of before, of course, there are times I ask myself this about my physical disabilities.
There are days I cannot make it from my bed to the sofa without feeling I have run a marathon, yet they sit in the rooms next to each other. There are days when I struggle to the bathroom and days where my limbs feel like they are made of lead.
I rely on a blue badge to get to the shops, as it means I can carefully plan where I am going and park nearby therefore I can walk to it painfully rather than rely on others to push me in my wheelchair.
So does that make me disabled?
I guess although loathed to admit it I am disabled, with a hidden disability rather than those we picture when we think of a disabled person.
However, back to that question asked of me, I’ve accepted I have mental health issues, accepted I am disabled, do I need to also add visually impaired to that list as well?
So let me ask you:
I can see very little difference, between wearing my glasses and not. In fact, I often forget if I have them on or not, as my vision is so similar with or without them.
I can get passable vision via wearing contacts, but they are painful and I only manage to wear them for so long. They have also left my cornea scarred as they are hard and at times no longer fit very well.
I even need to go without them for a week, in the coming month, which will limit everything I can do.
So even though it is correctable in a way, does the fact I can’t see even with glasses mean I am visually impaired?
It’s hard sometimes to accept how disabilities can become part of your identity, part of what defines you. However, I am slowly learning it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. While disabilities impair you in certain ways you become stronger in others, you learn to look after yourself in different ways, you learn who cares and who matters the most. Meaning your world changes in both good and bad ways and that is OK.
To hear more about how disabilities can define part of peoples identities, the series Identities from Bathing Solutions speaks to 3 different, disabled people about how it affects them. Personally, I found that I identified with Umber's video the most. She also has a hidden disability and got me thinking about how I felt about disability myself, how it was to learn to accept the things you cannot change, while still letting yourself live as much of a life as possible. As well as pointing me in the direction of learning that sometimes it is OK to be selfish and look after yourself as number one when pain and fatigue levels are high,
What do you think of when someone mentions a disability, if you are disabled, how does your disability come into play with your identity?