My Life Being Lived ‘Differently’ Abled.

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences.” (Andre Lorde) 

                       You make the difference, Quote, Positive Attitude

Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis over eleven years ago now, after my immune system attacked itself in error, following the birth of my wonderful baby boy. I have learned to adapt, adapt, and then adapt some more. Life did not go as planned and I have had to realign my whole way of thinking.

There have been many changes since my diagnosis, but the biggest and most visible change of all is my walking. A passer-by may see me and think of me as a ‘disabled’ person. But I am most certainly not. I am ‘differently’ abled, but able nonetheless. I am a very active, busy mum. I am a writer and exercise daily. I cook, I clean (sometimes), I dance (only in my room), I socialize, I travel, I read and so much more. I do all these things differently and the world would be a better place if we all began to think this way.

The one big thing where there has been absolutely no change is my ability to think and to learn. I am still the same me inside. I have the same dreams and aspirations. None of that has changed. The most hurtful thing in this entire journey was not getting Multiple Sclerosis. It was the fact that colleagues, some friends and strangers alike began to stop seeing me as their equal.

They began to retreat and separate themselves from my new world. They no longer wanted to stand side by side with the ‘disabled’ person. It was going to challenge them too much. Ask too much of them to alter their ways to include me. It may have hurt me somewhat, but it made me determined to prove that you can still achieve great things and live a full and enriched life, despite being ‘differently’ abled.

I decided to take myself away from the negativity and rejection I was experiencing. I decided to rebuild my life as a ‘differently’ abled person. To become an author and motivational writer. To raise my son in a world of positivity where it is not what happens to you that defines your life, but how you get up and deal with it. I work every day to achieve and my learning never stops.

I have opened up a whole new world since my diagnosis. I write, meditate, practise yoga and ‘earth’ on the rugged Scottish beaches to name but a few things I do now. These are all post MS additions to my life, never forgetting the joy of being a mum to the wonderful Elliot. I ask each and every person to look inside themselves and question if it really matters how someone looks or presents?

Do we really need to label them? And for whose benefit is that label? Can’t we just accept them as who they are and focus on what they can do? ‘Disability’ conjures up so much negativity for me and I’ve always thought of disabling something as stopping it working. Rest assured I still ‘work’ very well. Just very ‘differently.’ I have to find new ways to do old things, adapt and shift my perspective. But I am ‘able’ to live a full and active life this way. We can all start by shifting our perspective and seeing what someone can do first and not the ‘disability’. Celebrate difference and we could all look forward to a better and more positive future together.

Written by Patricia Gachagan.

Connect with Patricia on her site, patriciagachagan.com

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23 thoughts on “My Life Being Lived ‘Differently’ Abled.

  1. This post touched my heart. I dislike labels as concerning the limits imposed by such labels. However I do know on the other side of the scale if you have a medical/health issue you want a diagnosis so you can find ways of healing or adapting depending on your condition.

    Disease coming out of seemingly nowhere can be scary. You just want to know what is wrong and how to fix the situation. Or is it a condition or situation that will require acceptance and adjustment plus adaptive technologies. I know for me personally as I battle certain health issues I’ve had to make some lifestyle changes mostly in what I eat. Nor will I be a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars!”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Diagnosis gave me knowledge and power to act, but labels about disability bring me down and try to remove my power and limit me and certainly what others think of me. Diet and lifestyle changes have been huge for me too. Positive thoughts to face your challenges too, with love x

      Liked by 3 people

      • I must admit lifestyle changes have only gone so far for me. As I get older I’m having more and more difficulty just climbing stairs. There is a point where you must admit that your body is changing and you do have limits. I was forced to admit this and therefore I don’t make too many plans concerning the future as there are things I can no longer do.

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  2. What a wonderful post. My computer maintenance guy has MS and he has a full fledged business maintaining computers! He comes home , checks things out and goes away without once whining about how things are tough for him. He has now moved onto a crutch and has an assistant help him but when you ask him how he’s doing he says ‘ fine aunty’ with a wide grin

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hello Patricia. Wow, what a wonderful and strong woman you sound! I am differently abled too! Becoming deaf in my left ear (which brought with it a sensitivity to everyday sounds and also tinnitus and pressure in my ear and head) has presented me with many challenges too, and I have noticed how some people do not want to talk about it, or seem a bit awkward when I can’t hear them…My different ability is completely invisible, so people never realize how much i am struggling…
    I like to tell myself that it is the things that are different about us that make us unique 🙂
    Take care and thank you for sharing your inspirational post.
    – Carly

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  4. I love how you said is it necessary to have label?? I whole heartedly agree that everyone should be seen just the way they are instead of being labelled :). Keep on posting!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this! I’m always amazed when people think we are weak because of our MS when in reality we are stronger because of it instead.

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