Friday, April 8, 2011

Lost & Found...... Steps to Disclosue

"I once was lost but now am found." I truly believe it.

After my illness I was simply happy. Happy to be alive, happy to be with my family, happy to receive friendly visitors now and again and eventually happy to get out of the hospital and then back into school. I tried to concentrate a lot on my recovery, on re-learning the average, everyday things. And I was happy (for the moment anyway) about the attention I was getting.
But then things changed. I think that when my dad passed away and I entered high school I became lost. I felt as though I was falling down, very slowly, the proverbial rabbit hole. Family and friends kept me from hitting bottom or going so far down that I became unseen, but I was still feeling lost. I didn't know what I was supposed to say or do, I didn't understand why things were difficult for me, the thoughts in my own head at times became gibberish and strange. I did not know why the school thought I could not handle certain things. Various lessons, information and even language became lost on me. Personally, I did not understand relationships or how to make them work; friendships were hard enough, never mind anything more! I found quite a few things about my life very confusing and it became very frustrating!
Just as things changed from happiness to feeling lost, things slowly changed again. Unlike before though, this change was a long, drawn out uphill climb. I suppose some people may have come to the same place I eventually got to faster, some maybe slower; some may not even be on the path yet.
It is never too late in life to get on the path.
It is the path to acceptance. Not necessarily acceptance from others, (we get there later) but acceptance from ourselves.
I have received quite a bit of help with things in the past, I still currently open my hand for others to guide the way. But I had to start on my own. I had to accept that I had a disability that in certain ways made me different from others, but also very much the same. Because all of us have things to bare, mountains to climb and obstacles to get around. I have come to accept and even share my disability with friends and colleagues. It is part of who I am. I've come to learn it is nothing to be afraid or ashamed of.
I don't always share this knowledge, disclosure is in many ways still hard for me to do. I just got to keep reminding myself that there is nothing wrong with it. In fact, I believe not disclosing can sometimes create problems. Whether it is personal relationships or professional employment an accommodation to understanding or functioning may be needed. It may be difficult to bring up, I still have my stresses about it, but sometimes it makes things easier.
Disclosure can be a risk that effects you or the ones around you; you really can never be 100% certain at a reaction. And the choice to disclose, or when to do it, is up to you. I personally think it is worth it, it gives you a sense of where things are at. I'm not talking full out disclosure though, those personal details are yours to do with what you wish. But if asking for accommodation or a better understanding is going to be helpful to you, than why not? And with something like employment, you can at least feel a little bit more at ease in knowing that the law is on your side.
It is unfortunate that not all people are accepting of disclosure, though I believe to a large degree that has to do with people being afraid of things that they don't understand and not something that is based on meanness. And I think any misconceptions about disabilities, or barriers in life, are changing. I have found my eyes opening wide in surprise to the acceptance that is out there...... I think maybe you will to.
I found that accepting myself and feeling comfortable (at a certain level, still working on it) with disclosing that I am going full circle. I'm back to that joyous place of enlightened happiness; together with knowledge and understanding and really knowing that it is my choice; just as it is yours. And now, I can really move forward in this thing called life.


  1. Firstly I want to reflect on this statement: "...the path to acceptance. Not necessarily acceptance from others, (we get there later) but acceptance from ourselves." Acceptance from self is the most difficult thing to do FOR self. And, personally speaking, it takes a long time to learn that. In order for one to know what acceptance is they need to learn to give it to themselves first!

    I am glad you are moving forward and that you are overcoming life's challenges. What I learned from life is that there are no guarantees therefore working with what we have when we have it it sure makes is easier to bear it!


  2. Thanks for your comment Doina.
    The purpose of this blog was to express my views on "acceptance". I think sometimes we focus too much on what others think and want and forget about ourselves. It is something I've learned and am still learning.


  3. It seems that you and I (and many other people) are on the same boat. Remember: it's not easy but it's doable!