I have hated you, I have cursed you, and I have admitted defeat to you, I have wanted to escape life with you. But today I want to thank you, for all the things you have given to me, and I hope that you will continue to help me learn things as I go through life. So, Thank You Cerebral Palsy!
It may seem strange to some that I thank you for something, shouldn’t I be fighting you instead, and trying to achieve things in my life, despite the fact that you are part of me? It was not for lack of trying. I have battled with you for many years, I fought with you both mentally and physically, determined to not let you win, yet you always seemed to get your way in the end.
When I tried to fight you physically, by pushing my body too hard, when my stubbornness and need to be like everyone else made me keep going, you made sure I payed for it the following weeks. When I tried to pretend you were not there, you were sure to remind me quite promptly that I could not escape reality. I used to hate you for it.
However you have also been somewhat of an educator to me in my life looking back, influencing me, changing me and encouraging me. Even if I was on my own, away from others in my life, you were always there, you never left me.
You taught to appreciate the smaller things in life, you taught me to appreciate the small victories. But most importantly, you told me to withstand resistance and the hardships of life. Whenever life got difficult for reasons not related to Cerebral Palsy, I benefited greatly from the resilience living with you has given me. You also taught me the value of diversity, of the fact that people are different And you taught me that discrimination exists in the world, so when I came across it, I didn’t let it defeat me, because I was prepared.
And even though I hated you at times growing up, there was always a sense of appreciation too. When doctors or physio’s would talk about all the things that was “wrong” with me, and that were abnormal, I felt attacked and defensive, because they talked about the CP as something bad, something that was unfortunate for me to have, but I never felt sick, I didn’t need a cure and I didn’t need fixing. This is all I have ever known, this is what is normal to me, and it is all I ever will know.
As I got older I understood more and more that the cause of my depression, self hatred and doubt came because I refused to realize what you tried to tell me my entire life, you are a part of me. Instead of accepting that, I chose to fight a war with myself, constantly blaming you for my depression, blaming you for the fact that no girl loved me, or blaming you for feeling useless. You never went away, of course, and therefore the war raged on, and it even brought me to the brink of destruction before I realized you were not my enemy, and that I shouldn’t fight you, but rather accept you as a part of me and my life.
This website would not exist had I not come to that point, I don’t know for sure if I would still be alive today had it not been for this realization, because the self hatred and feelings of uselessness can be very powerful feelings to fight, because they always try to convince you they are right, and that you shouldn’t believe otherwise.
At least for me, my life improved a lot when I appreciated my CP and accepted it, and it led me to become more passionate and evolved in raising awareness and helping the community and both those with CP and their loved one to understand better, and to not feel alone, and among other things led to this very website, which I am excited to work on every single day, and hope I will continue to for years to come. So again, thank you so much for all that you have given me, CP. I am glad we could bury the hatchet and co-exist peacefully.
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