Ableism’s Effects On Confidence

CW: Depression, Anxiety, & Assisted Suicide:

As far back as I can remember, I’ve lacked confidence in myself. In school I surprised myself when I did well. My family and friends believed in me, but I never believed in myself. I knew I wanted to go to college. I didn’t think I was going to be successful. Ableism is a factor in the development of depression and anxiety. Knowing that people like me aren’t welcome in the world is frustrating.

I ended up dropping out of Westfield State University. Next week, I begin classes at the community college. I am nervous and don’t know if I’ll be able to do well. I want to become excited about college again. I fear that I won’t be engaged in class. I haven’t attended in-person classes since 2019. In addition, I don’t want to get sick this fall. COVID-19 still concerns me.

I’ve learned that society doesn’t have high expectations for disabled people. People are often surprised when I express a desire to work. For most adults, employment isn’t unrealistic. I have been looking for work for the past three years and have been unsuccessful.

Cerebral Palsy is, unfortunately, a barrier to employment. Every rejection leaves me feeling hopeless. My e-mail inbox is filled with dozens of rejection e-mails. Not even 20% of Americans with disabilities were employed last year. That statistic is heartbreaking to me.

Living in a world that wasn’t designed for people like you is challenging. Some disabled people pursue assisted suicide after years of hardship. Disabled people should be able to get help rather than feeling like a lost cause. Disabled people shouldn’t feel hopeless, but many of us, including myself, do.

Sources:

Broverman, Aaron. “Paralyzed Teen Jerika Bolen Dies, as Planned.” New Mobility, New Mobility, 1 Sept. 2021, https://newmobility.com/paralyzed-teen-jerika-bolen-dies/.

Cecco, Leyland. “Are Canadians Being Driven to Assisted Suicide by Poverty or Healthcare Crisis?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 11 May 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/11/canada-cases-right-to-die-laws.

Roberts, Lily, et al. “Removing Obstacles for Disabled Workers Would Strengthen the U.S. Labor Market.” Center for American Progress, Center for American Progress, 23 May 2022, https://www.americanprogress.org/article/removing-obstacles-for-disabled-workers-would-strengthen-the-u-s-labor-market/.

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