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dubsrayboo's avatar

Are you grateful for your disability?

Asked by dubsrayboo (2574points) November 25th, 2011

I watched a local news cast about a young college man with Cerebral Palsy. He said that he believes that his disability is a gift and that he’s thankful for it. He was so positive about everything in his life. All I could do is snicker and go “RIGHT!”

I have type 1 bipolar and it is not a gift and there is nothing positive about it (except cleaning the house at 3am because of manic energy). Over the past year and a half I’ve had two major swings, the manic left me hallucinating and in the hospital and the depression almost ruined my marriage because I ceased to function. Now that I’ve “awakened” I’m seeing the damage and it breaks my heart. How could anyone feel blessed by their disability?

Thanks for letting me go there. So anyone? Anyone thankful for their disability and why? Give me some hope.

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13 Answers

Mariah's avatar

Do you think you have learned any lessons from having a disability? Have a greater sense of empathy? These are, I suspect, the things the young man you saw was talking about. It’s just a matter of whether those things outweigh the misery.

From having a disability, I have gained self-confidence. Before I was sick, my life was cushy in every way. I had no confidence in my strength of character because it had never been challenged. Okay, so I can be successful given great circumstances – who can’t? It wasn’t until I continued to be successful even though I was facing adversity that I knew how strong I am.

From having a disability, I have gained empathy. I was unaware of what it was like to suffer before. Now I am passionate about issues involving victims’ rights.

I have a whole new dimension to my character that I never had before. Maybe I would have learned these lessons eventually anyway, but it’s still very valuable to me.

But does all this outweigh the pain, the missed opportunities, and the fear? I’m not sure. Ask me again in a year. I think the answer to that question would have to be “yes” before I could truly say I am grateful for my disability. Right now, I don’t feel so grateful. But I can fathom that someone else in another situation might.

SuperMouse's avatar

My husband says, and I know for an absolute fact that he is telling the truth, that if he could walk or even just move his fingers again, he wouldn’t if it meant giving up all that he has learned from living with a disability. So yeah, even though his life is more challenging now than it was, in some ways he is grateful for his disability.

I personally was grateful for the diagnosis of bi-polar 1 because it meant I had a name to put with all those behaviors that were having such a devastating impact on my life. I am also grateful for the fact that it can be managed and for the new found appreciation I have for feeling mentally healthy.

stardust's avatar

When I’m in the midst of a depressive/high mood, I don’t see the positives at all. When I went to hell and back a few years ago, I could see the learning in my experiences. I’ve gained quite a bit of insight from those times. However, when I go in and out of these states now, I feel overwhelmed by them and it takes me a while to address them.
I suppose what I mean is, in the grand scheme I see the learning/importance in what we go through, yet at the moment I’m finding it hard to accept.

downtide's avatar

I have a visual disability and in the grand scheme of things, it royally sucks.

gondwanalon's avatar

I suggest that you look for the positive aspects of your life and condition and dwell on those. Also work on areas where you can improve. Think positive for the future. Believe, believe, believe that things will get better.

For my whole adult life I was a fast runner until 4 years ago when I had a bad slip-fall accident that severely damaged and weakened two of my hamstring muscles in my right leg. Prior to my accident everything came so easy for me (awards, qualifying for fast running teams, recognition etc.) and yet I was never satisfied with any result.

My accident brought me to my knees metaphorically and literally. SuddenlyI could hardly walk let along jog slowly. At first I felt bitter as even my family doctor let me down (long story). Then I picked myself up and became determined to take control of my injury and make a comeback. I have never felt so much determination and drive. Where did it come from? Perhaps deep within me, way down past all the bitterness, negativity, anger and pain (down where all my forgotten dreams are kept).

I have been relentless in my training and I revel in all on my very modest, slow and steady gains in fitness. I now enjoy a renewed enthusiasm for running. I have discovered a true joy in running that had eluded me in the >30 years on consistent running and racing leading up to my injury. Yes I’m slower now but appreciate every strike that I make. On 11–27-2011 I’ll be running the Seattle marathon. I’ll likely not win any awards but I’m so grateful just participate and to finish.

Good luck to you!

Sunny2's avatar

I have managed despite, not because of ADHD and a reading disability. I find that the reading problem interferes with what I can read and understand with ease. Fortunately, reading is only one way to get information.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I am not bitter or depressed about my disability but grateful, no way! I am grateful that my wife has stayed by my side and loved me despite how my disability that began four months after we were married changed her life and the expectations we shared about our future together.

Blondesjon's avatar


Even though I have to spend the extra money on specially tailored pants and hold it up out of the water when I pee, I am incredibly grateful for my unnaturally large penis.

before you all get jealous, the balls are regular sized

downtide's avatar

@gondwanalon “I suggest that you look for the positive aspects of your life and condition and dwell on those.”
There are plenty of positive aspects in my life but being half-blind isn;t one of them.

gondwanalon's avatar

@downtide To tell you the truth, if I was suddenly blind I would likely struggle very hard to deal with it. I’m very sorry that you have a sight disability. That has got to be very painful for you.

I just look around me at people who I know with various disabilities and I see so much courage. One person I know can’t smell, a couple can hardly hear, some with joint problems and one with a stroke who suddenly can’t walk or use his left hand. I dawned on me that most of us young and old seem to have some heath issue or injury that we are contending with. How some people manage to accept their personal injuries I do not know.

I wish that I could help you in some way but I am no expert at dealing with disabilities of other people. I’m only an expert at dealing with mine.

Good health to you!

downtide's avatar

@gondwanalon I don’t think I could cope with being totally blind either.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Not everyone with a disability must be thankful for it but you have no right to snicker at anyone who is thankful for theirs.

RabidWolf's avatar

I too have learned things by being disabled, I always found some cheat to get things done, that was part of who I was in those days. Now, I take cheat to a higher level, work smart not hard. Use the muscle between your ears. The more my body tries to crap out on me, that’s when I find out just how clever I can be. My ingenuity peeks and I get shit done. Sometimes it’s like a vendetta. This needs to be done, and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let this beat me.. Mind over muscle works.

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