Over time, my feelings about my disability have evolved. Growing up, I didn’t like that I had Cerebral Palsy. I wanted to fit in with my peers in school. The older I was, the harder this became. In elementary school, I went to birthday parties and played with my friends at recess.
Middle school was a different story. I didn’t fit in as easily and began feeling lonely. I didn’t have many friends in middle school and began to spend more time alone. This was when also when I started to develop depression.
Puberty was a challenging time for me as well because I began experiencing functional shifts. This was frustrating and made me sad.
In high school, I often felt like I was on the outside looking in. Sometimes, I felt like I was on a different planet than my peers. They were getting their driver’s licenses and part-time jobs, and I still kept track of how much fluid I had to drink at school.
Adulthood has brought with it an entirely new set of challenges. Nobody tells you how to be an adult, let alone an adult with Cerebral Palsy. Inclusion was always important during my childhood. I played sports, went to birthday parties, and even went to Mad Science summer camps.
Ever since turning 18, inclusion doesn’t seem to matter much anymore. It’s been incredibly challenging for me to attend college and find a job. The pandemic has also added extra challenges to daily life for most people, myself included. COVID-19 has made it very difficult for me to find a job.
Socially, I feel more isolated than ever before. I spend most of my time at home with my roommate. I usually spend most of my day in my bedroom, watching TV and on the internet. Technology has helped me keep in touch with family and friends since 2020. Technology has always been vital for me to live with a disability, even more so during the past two years.
Since I’ve grown up, I’ve learned to live with Cerebral Palsy. I’ve learned that I’ll always have limits, and that’s okay. I may never get married or drive a car. With time, I’ll embrace my limitations. Cerebral Palsy doesn’t have to mean I don’t enjoy life. It might mean that life looks different for me than it does for most people, but as long as I am happy, healthy, and surrounded by loved ones, I’ll have a good life even with Cerebral Palsy.