Redefining Disability Day Seven: Work and Disability

Redefining Disability Weekly Question:

Is your work or school life affected by disability?

I’ve come a long way in terms of functionality in my workplace. For many years, I always had to have an “escape route” planned in case an anxiety attack came on while I was at work or school.

It was so embarrassing not being able to sit still for long amounts of time in a lecture hall because my heart was racing; or circling a room where I was supposed to be watching students in detention because I felt like I was going to vomit; or not being able to drive across town just twenty minutes away without having to pull over and “take a breather” with my kids in the backseat.

I think back to those times with sadness and frustration because I couldn’t just suck it up and keep going. I lost a lot of friends and job opportunities during that time in my life.

You may ask, “Why was I so full of anxiety?” I wouldn’t have a simple answer for you. Life was simply that–life. I had struggles and witnessed beautiful moments as well.

One thing I didn’t have were any sense of coping skills for those moments when anxiety threatened to swallow me whole. I am starting to learn different tools to combat what threatens to paralyze me. I am proud of myself for coming so far.

I found an article this morning from Marc and Angel Hack Life called 5 Reminders for Finding Strength and Peace in Times of Grief” that really spoke to me:


There’s a saying in Tibetan philosophy, “Tragedy should be used as a source of strength.”  My grandmother always repeated this line to me when I was growing up.  Every time I dealt with some kind of adversity, she would graciously remind me that my current struggles were helping me grow stronger.

Sometimes, though, in the midst of chaotic stress and hardship, it’s almost impossible to maintain such a positive perspective


My take-home message for today: Be patient with yourself. Whatever you are currently facing is temporary and you are strong enough to keep going.

The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge is part of a  an interactive blogging project developed by Rose B. Fischer in order to promote better representation for people with disabilities in the media.



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