Do you have any advice/resources on how to make peace with an obvious disability? I have quite severe Tourette's which affects everything I do and I get stares/comments on a near-daily basis; a lot of ppl think TS is fake, or controllable, or a sign that I'm a danger to them. Lately when this happens I've noticed less "well screw them" thoughts and more feelings of being isolated or broken, or like maybe I'm not trying hard enough to "not be disabled". Do you have advice on dealing with that?
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I’m sorry to hear that you have been struggling with the way that others are perceiving you due to your disability. It sounds like you are experiencing burn out. [insert definition of burnout here]. It is not uncommon to experience feelings of burnout when you have to constantly put aside others and fight against their views. That work is exhausting and often exclusively internal. It is something that you are doing on your own and something that you usually won’t stop doing, or else these thoughts that you have been having, that you are broken or not trying hard enough, can start to creep in.
What’s important to remember no matter how difficult it may be, is that you are not defined by other people’s perception of you- especially people that are uneducated on your disability. You do not need to try to not be disabled. When someone acts ignorantly towards you, that reflects badly on them. You don’t need to change in this situation.
Self confidence and a positive self-image are hard to maintain- especially when others act in ways that are damaging. Some of the best things that you can do include fostering positive self-talk, journaling, and practicing self-care. Here are some resources containing exercises that you can try to boost and maintain your confidence and a positivity:
https://www.therapistaid.com/therapy-worksheets/self-esteem/none -- Gratitude journal, challenging negative thoughts, strength worksheets and more!
https://positivepsychology.com/wp-content/uploads/3-Self-Compassion-Exercises-Pack.pdf -- vision board, self care, and more
https://www.psychologytools.com/professional/problems/self-esteem-self-criticism/ --Lots of resources to tackle negative thoughts
https://www.infocounselling.com/151-self-care-ideas-the-best-self-care-tips/ -- A big list of different ways to practice self-care
This experience that you are having is unfortunately not uncommon for people with disabilities. If you have a peer group, use it for support. Hearing from others that are going through the same challenges or that have overcome those challenges can help you feel like you aren’t alone and will help you build perseverance. If you don’t, here are some online disability support groups:
I hope that you are able to find support during this time, and that you are able to embrace your whole self.