When I was referred to the Department of Rehabilitation, I was afraid I'd be 'found out'. Their services are for persons with disabilities, and I thought "a disability? Me? I don't have THAT!" Having been a special education professional for my whole career, I felt I had tons of compassion for folks with disabilities, but never considered myself to have one myself. I was afraid of what it would mean.
Wrestlingwith this, I've been seeing my friend's wall of facebook. He's in Egypt, touring ancient landmarks. On his birthday, he visited the Temple of Isis and partied floating on a boat on the Nile. On his birthday, I managed to work up the nerve to leave the house, go to the pharmacy and to my support group. It takes all of my willpower to leave my home. He's in Egypt as an emmisary as part of a cultural exchange. I have screaming panic attacks, retching into the toilet as he tours the tomb of Hapshethut. I can''t help but reflect on the ways my anxiety had impacted my life, made it smaller,. Does that make it a disability?
In the end, I can only find my answer in realizing that 'disability' is only a word. A label. Helpful to a point and useless beyond that. What I canobserve is that my mental illnesses have limited me. Truncated my ambitions. Corralled me into a timy corner of space barricaded from the world. I'm made myself small enough to hide, quiet enought not to be notices, invisible as best I can make myself. Experience of the world, the bitterness and sweetness, a fruit hanging on a tree beyond a fence I can't scale.
I really don't know where I'm going with this. I wish I did. Maybe the takeaway lesson is simply this: if I can't find a way to climb, the sweetness of life will remain beyond my grasp.