I feel like a failure even though I know that I’m not. Which may be worse than just thinking I’m a failure.
The part of me thinks I’m a failure because of internalised ableism. Something that I have to deal with daily.
When you get diagnosed with a disability that doesn’t show itself physically, a lot of ableism comes with it – usually from doctors, friends, or family. They’ll tell us to get over it or that we’re just being lazy.
But one of the worst things we have to deal with, which nobody seems to address, is our ableism against ourselves.
I see myself as a failure because of ableism, because I’m disabled – Autistic and FND. There is nothing physically wrong with me, yet there are people with limbs missing living a much better life than the one I’m stuck with.
And seeing others with what society considers a far worse ailment makes my issues seem minuscule.
In reality, while thinking consciously, I know that we all have different issues and support needs.
I know that my inability to make friends isn’t just because I’m weird; I have difficulties understanding social queues and empathising in a Neurotypical manner which often makes Neurotypicals uncomfortable around me.
I find it challenging to work in the same pattern as the rest of society due to my Neurodivergency – whether because of the Chronic Fatigue caused by my FND or the sensory issues I deal with due to my Autism.
My internalised ableism is only fueled by Aspy Supremacy content [people who believe Autism is an evolution rather than a divergence], but also by the people who labelled me as a gifted child and a genius from a young age – only for me to wind up unemployed, burnt out, and in chronic pain.
I know I’m not a failure because I have achievements.
- I have a Catering Level 2 qualification, which I achieved in a record time simply because I got bored at work.
- I did an SQL boot camp course in less than a week when it should’ve taken six months.
- I finished a two-year Level 3 ICT course in six months.
- I achieved two B’s in my English GCSEs without additional assistance from my English Teacher and without Dyslexia Glasses.
- I’ve written and published ten books, six becoming Amazon Bestsellers within the first six months of their release.
- I have worked on three radio stations, two as a radio presenter.
- I have survived attacks and stalking.
- I have loved and been loved.
But it still isn’t enough. And it’s not that I want more; it’s that I feel incomplete. Like there’s something I haven’t done that I wanted to do, and, honestly, there’s so much I should’ve done.
And, while I have more obstacles in front of me than most, I still have time to do more.
So, I think I’m a failure – not because I’m disabled, but because I’ve compared myself to other disabled and able people.
And while I would never treat another disabled person the way I treat myself, I’m not quite over it yet.
Fighting ableism is hard – and it’s hard to break the ableist programming you’ve had installed since day one…
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