All ONE BILLION of Us!

Roughly one billion people in the world struggle with some type of disability. This number makes up a fifth of the world’s population, and every year this number grows. There are all different reasons why and how a person becomes disabled. I could probably write a whole book just about that one topic, but, even though I feel the beginning of a story is always important, in my eyes, it’s our journeys…our struggles…our successes…and even our failures that mean so much more. Think about it for one minute…there are ONE BILLION people in this world that wake up every day, and before they even get out of bed, there are already insurmountable obstacles facing them. They must fight their own bodies and minds just to complete the day…and ONE BILLION people continue to do that EVERY DAY! THAT is AMAZING!

It’s not easy being disabled…no matter what your disability is. I have days when I feel so defeated that, honestly, I simply don’t want to get out of bed, and I just shut out the whole world. Sometimes I even hide inside my own thoughts…it’s easier that way. But I know deep down inside that I am stronger than I realize…just like the other 999,999,999 disabled people that live on this earth. I may not be able to change the beginning of my story, but I know I can change my journey…at any time! Every day I remind myself of that. Every day when I wake up knowing I’m already facing struggles before my feet hit the floor…I remind myself that I can have anything I want and need no matter the challenge…no matter how much my body hurts…no matter how much my brain says to give up…no matter what other people say or do…I am entitled to succeed and to be happy just as much as a “normal” people…and I will be successful and happy…and you can too. All we need to do is try…all we need to do is not give up…I don’t know about you…but I refuse to give up…I refuse to stay defeated…I refuse to listen to those who doubt me…to those who have rejected me…our lives are not determined by our disabilities…but rather by our reactions and actions to the obstacles that we face.

So how do I know all ONE BILLION of us can and will be successful? I just do. Call it faith…call it intuition…or maybe call it a hypothesis based upon my own life with me as the mouse in the maze we call a life. When I tell you that I have struggled THAT it is an understatement!

I got laid off…twice in one year. I had to start my life over in my late 30s. Scariest thing ever by the way. I have done the worst jobs for the worst money you can possibly imagine and felt like I was never going to become anything at all. I have had people say the most judgmental and hateful things right to my face about my disability. I have even had people accuse me of lying about my disability all because they never saw me have a seizure. There are still times when I feel like my life is, well to be blunt, a failure. I’m definitely not where I want to be career wise, money wise, relationship wise….ANYTHING wise….but…I don’t feel defeated. Weird huh?

You probably gonna wanna ask why? Well, I don’t feel defeated because I know what I want and I now know that it takes time to get what you want and to get where you want to be…especially when you have a disability. I will admit…I’m not the most patient person at times…especially when it comes to my life. I sometimes have a hard time focusing on and finishing tasks…it’s because I get bored and I see that I’m not getting the results that I want…the side effects of one of my medications definitely doesn’t help with my concentration which makes this a constant and daily battle.

It took me a long time to realize and accept this part of me, to accept all of me, my faults, my needs, my desires, my likes, dislikes…all of that crazy madness…I suppose that’s why now things are a little easier for me. Right now, I have a good job…it’s not my dream job or the perfect job, but it’s a good job, with a good company and I work with great people that understand and accept me. This alone helps me to get past those bad days. Finding an employer that is understanding of your disability is so important. All ONE BILLION of us deserve that! Don’t accept anything less! For a long time, I was ashamed and afraid to tell people I had epilepsy. I was afraid to tell them about what I was dealing with. I was afraid of being judged…about being looked at differently…I hated being different! It’s not easy to be different, I know…but being silent doesn’t make it better…I’ve been that person being interviewed…seeing the eyes of the person who’s interviewing me look down and up, and I realize that they are no longer listening to what I have to say but rather paying attention to my tremors…I realize they are trying to decide if they want to hire a disabled person like me…those moments suck! People suck! But not everyone is like that…not all companies are like that…don’t give up…

Like I said…I just know…I WILL be successful…All ONE BILLION of us will be successful…all we have to do is get out of bed and refuse to give up!

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