Confessions From a Life with CP #1 – People Like Me

Hey everyone! I’ve been away on holiday, so haven’t posted anything for a couple of weeks and to make up for that, I thought I’d share something a little different.

I wasn’t planning on sharing my life story on here,  but there are conversations that I want to have with people and that I want people to have with each other.

Also, I kind of wanted to tackle this one-size-fits-all culture surrounding disabilities. Who knows? If I share my experiences, maybe other people will feel more comfortable sharing theirs too.

I don’t know how many of these types of posts I’ll make or if I’ll make anymore at all, but we’ll see how it goes 😊

If there’s anything I wish I’d had the chance to do more of growing up, it would definitely be meeting more people with Cerebral Palsy. Growing up with a disability can be lonely and even though CP is one of the most common movement impairments, it can be a struggle.

My parents are the best. They’ve always made sure that I knew my difficulties did not make me any less of a person. Trust me, this can be hard when you’re on school trips and your friends are having fun without a care in the world, whilst you cheer them on, because you physically can’t take part.

It’s incredibly isolating.

Although, I have to admit, that I’ve never felt out of place in day-to-day life. School was always relatively easygoing and I was never bullied. When I was younger, I didn’t feel different and largely that is because of my parents. But, Secondary School came along and I changed.

I retreated into myself, because I felt out of place. Like a lot of teenagers, I had (and still do have) body image issues and as a result, I became hyper-aware of my disability.

I don’t think this was because a single event, or person, but simply because of the pressures that I put on myself. I didn’t think I looked right, to fit in with anybody. Of course, this opens up a whole other issue about societal pressures, but I don’t to go into that here anymore than necessary.

Going back to my original point, I got lonely very quickly. Up until the age of 12 or 13, I was part of a para-athletics club and through that (and wheelchair courses, which are a blast by the way!) I got to meet quite a few people who have the same or similar disabilities to me.

It helped me to put a lot of things into perspective…

With that athletics club, I had the visual reminder that there were other people like me and that I wasn’t the only one with difficulties. You always know that there are other people like you, but until you meet some of those people, you can feel alone. Unfortunately, this support system was soon stripped away and I had that source of comfort and reassurance taken away from me. So, I went into a world of my own and it was incredibly difficult to breathe inside that bubble.

Thankfully, I have the pleasure of calling the most kind-hearted and understanding people my friends and I’ve managed to stretch that bubble enough for the air to come back. I don’t know if it’ll ever burst, but I can move and that’s the important thing.