I am more than my disability- Fiona 21
“Everything changed a lot and at once.”
I got my disability at the age of 21 in 2011 while in my third year studying IT at university. Everything changed a lot and at once in my life. It was unexpected, and I was not sure how I was supposed to deal with what was happening. Going through this meant I had to drop out of school. My parents did their best for me. But I could see it was also taking a toll on them.
How it started
It all began with me falling sick and being bedridden in hospital for a long time. They ran tests on me and after the tests, I was diagnosed with Addison’s disease. It is a disease in which the adrenal glands don’t produce enough hormones and some symptoms that one experiences include fatigue and muscle weakness. The doctor informed my parents that I had to be on medication for the rest of my life. It was difficult for everyone as we all had to adjust to the new changes.
Getting back to who I was
It was very difficult being in the hospital for long but I took solace in my religion. I received comfort from religious elders and my church community was always around me for support. I learned to accept myself and know that I am stronger than what I am going through. I decided it was time to go back to college and get my degree. In school, I felt as though people were avoiding me. No one wanted to associate themselves with me and college became a very lonely place. One day, I tripped, and someone came to my aid. Her name was Mary and after that we became friends. We would hang out all the time, chatting and laughing. She saw who I was and that I was more than my disability.
I met a guy
I went on with my life, and I met this guy who was nice to me. Soon he asked me to be his girlfriend, but I was not sure I wanted to be in a relationship just yet. Little by little he won me over and I agreed to date him. After a year, we decided to get married. By this time, I had finished school and was looking forward to my future.
After sending in several job applications, I was happy to get a job where I was appreciated despite my disability.
My message to everyone
My experience has made me stronger than I ever thought I was. I am happy and fulfilled with what I have, and I have learnt a lot in my journey. My message to everyone is that people are more than their disability and they should be treated as such. As the saying goes, disability is not inability.