Disabilities Produce Anxiety in Unexpected Ways

Hello Everybody,

Last night I found myself in a tailspin of anxiety that made me cry for about an hour. It sounds dramatic, and if I’m being honest it was. You see, I went to the pharmacist to pick up my prescription. When I got home, I saw that the medication was different from my normal ones. Technically, they were the same medication, however, the brand was different. I’ve talked before about how I have had reactions from changes to medications. It wasn’t a pleasant time. In fact, it was only a month ago when my last round of reactions happened. Hence the panic when once again my medications were altered.

After I calmed down, this experience got me thinking. Anxiety often goes hand in hand with disabilities. This works in two-fold.

Firstly, there is anxiety towards people and going outside. I have talked about this before, but it is so important. Going anywhere new is absolutely terrifying. Not knowing if you will even be able to get in the place or if you’ll have to make everyone change their plans for you. It’s a horrible feeling, and to be honest it makes me not want to try anything new. If it’s not the anxiety, it’s the guilt of ruining my friend’s plans.

On top of that, going out is anxiety provoking based on the people around me. Depending on the situation, places can often feel claustrophobic and crowded. As a wheelchair user, I am shorter than almost everyone around me. As a result, when the place is crowded, I am often avoiding handbags and elbows. Unfortunately, that often means that I am hit in the face without the people noticing what they did.

Anxiety plays a role in going out beside the physical challenges. Every time I’m in public I can feel that niggling in my chest as anxiety goes from a tackle to a giant ball. I get nervous about the public around and how they will react to me. Will they stare? Will they make a rude comment or threaten me for the hundredth time? Will I be unsafe? There have been many times throughout my life where I haven’t felt safe in public due to my disability. It makes me often wonder if that will ever stop; will I be stuck in this cycle forever?

The second part of this disabled related fear has nothing to do with people. The anxiety, at least for me, one inside my body. Getting a disability isn’t exactly rare, however, there are a lot of more able people in the world. For a long time, I felt as if my body had betrayed me. If it could do that once who knows what else might happen. I don’t so much now, however, I am aware that having my disability opens me up to a myriad of complications. For example, I’m more likely to have a seizure than any abled, healthy person. I’m high risk for blood clots, including fatal ones, and many others. The medications increase all of these risks and add new ones. So, as I’m sure you can imagine anxiety is very high in disabled communities. To be honest, it sucks. But I also think it’s important to share because I need people to see that they aren’t alone! You are not crazy for being anxious, you’re allowed to be. But also, please go get the help you deserve. This doesn’t have to be forever. You can do this.

Until I see you next, please be kind to one another and to yourself.

Bethany

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