I Forget I’m Disabled

At the beginning of October, I took my first ever unplanned vacation since starting my professional career. And by unplanned, I mean a vacation where I had nowhere to go, nothing that needed to be accomplished and I could just sit at home all day if I chose to. The month of September was a life-long list of to-dos squeezed into one month. By the end of it, the word exhausted did not even begin to describe the way I felt. With that in mind, I knew I needed to take some time off from the computer and all things related to work. If I participated in one more Zoom call, my eyes were going to fall out of my head.  

Taking time off work to do nothing is something that is hard for me to do. I often feel the need to be doing something productive. I hold myself to the same standard or sometimes even a higher standard of my able-bodied coworkers. I feel that I should be completing as many tasks or working to the same capacity as them. If I am not, then I am not the best employee I can be.

I often forget that I am disabled. I often forget that I have physical limitations that impact the work I do.  This is to not say I cannot do my job, but this is me reminding myself that I have barriers that not everyone else may have. Due to my limited dexterity, I type slower than most. Reports taking me longer and when completing in-person sessions (which never happen now, thanks COVID) the setup and takedown of session materials takes me longer than others. Plus, not everyone sits in the same chair for eight hours of the day like I do.

My two-week vacation allowed me to reflect on these things and take a moment to remind myself to take breaks, to take moments to breathe and to give myself more grace. Now that I have returned to work from my vacation, I have given myself grace for not completing everything I need to in a workday and taking breaks when needed. I find myself being more productive than I was before vacation. Taking breaks, being more mindful of my physical limitations, and giving my body what it needs has given me the ability to focus better and be more attentive to the task at hand.

I truly believe that nobody is harder on the disability community than those with disabilities. We judge ourselves before anyone else can judge us. We try to prove to the rest of the world that we are like everyone else and prove this to ourselves as well.

Here is a friendly reminder: we do not need to prove ourselves to anyone! We are who we are, disability and all.

About Isabella Bullock: Isabella, or Izzy for short, is an employment specialist for the Center of Independent Living. She is an iced coffee enthusiast who enjoys getting lost in a good book. Click here to learn more about Isabella.