What I 'hate' about Cerebral Palsy
From the title, 'What I 'hate' about Cerebral Palsy', this post probably seems negative straight away ... wrong! Negativity is banned on this website! I am going to tell you all about how Cerebral Palsy is perceived by some people, and most of you could probably be nodding along. It is the perceptions held by some people that I hate. Some people find Cerebral Palsy difficult to understand. Obviously, this blog is aimed at CP Teens UK users, and they all 'understand' (not that there is much to understand about CP!) Cerebral Palsy, especially as 95% have CP. But, I hope that some able-bodied people who maybe have no connection to Cerebral Palsy/have never met anyone with CP/maybe wouldn't know how to talk to with CP etc., read this blog post post and have their perceptions changed ... maybe, if you all share this post it could go viral and spread awareness of Cerebral Palsy?!
1. Cerebral Palsy affects my hands and feet, and arms and legs, but it does not affect
my personality and who I am.
I struggle with individuals who see my Cerebral Palsy first, and myself as an individual second. Just like everyone else, I have likes, dislikes, hobbies, favourite clothes, favourite programmes, I love parties, I have weird celebrity crushes, hopes, dreams, a family, friends, favourite foods, favourite places etc. I am the same person I would have been even if I didn't have brain damage at birth. Admitally, my life has been shaped by Cerebral Palsy and I have probably taken different paths to those I might have taken if I hadn't have had a disability, but, I am still the same person. My parents would have brought me up in the exact same way regardless of having a disability or not having a disability. If people don't like me as a person, I can deal with that, it's life & we all have people we don't hit it off with, but I can't deal with people not liking me purely because I have a disability.
2. Don't automatically think I am stupid because my speech isn't clear
It's amazing how many people automatically think I am a bit stupid or I'm 'not all there' because my speech isn't clear. Basically, the part of my brain that controls the muscles for speech is damaged, and that is all. I can have blonde moments, but don't we all?!
3. Don't 'try' to include me but fail!
I found at school that some students clearly for some reason felt awkward around me. A common situation would be where we would be sat around the same table, and they'd all talk to one another, but they would never talk or direct questions, comments etc. to me. I might have been sat at the same table, but I wasn't being included ... a bit like an optical illusion if that makes sense? It looked as if I was being included, but I really wasn't! Don't be afraid to include me, I am a perfecly 'normal' human being. If I don't want to be included, e.g. if somebody invited me ice skating (not a great idea!), I will just say so!
4. My ears do actually work!
Comments about how I walk, laughing, or whatever you want to say to your friend, I do actually hear even though I pretend not to!
5. I don't 'suffer' from Cerebral Palsy
I have blogged before about people who say I 'suffer' from Cerebral Palsy, and it's often medical notes and newspapers ... and nothing winds me up more! I have a home (a very beautiful one if I do say so myself!, family, friends, food, water, holidays, days out, equipment taliored to me, e.g. my remote control walk-in shower (very cool!), a phone, university etc., and over all, a life! I do not 'suffer'. Of course, I am only human, and very occasionally, I do want my Cerebral Palsy to 'do one'! But, I have Cerebral Palsy, I don't 'suffer from Cerebral Palsy'.
6. Don't feel 'sorry' for me or think I'm 'inspirational' etc.
Don't feel sorry for me, because I'm not sorry about having Cerebral Palsy. I have a life, I don't get why some feel the need to feel sorry for me? Okay, it probably wasn't the 'plan' for me to have a disability, but it's most definitely not some sort of tragedy, nor the end of the world. I'm not a 'inspiration' either. I'm only doing what every single other human being is doing on the planet, which is getting on and living their lives. People always bang on about how amazing it is I've got my GCSE's/A Levels, how I'm going to uni etc. ... well, my disability was never going to temporarily disappear whilst I did my education was it?! And I don't see why my disability would excuse me from my education anyway? I'm not a 'superwoman' either as some people call me. I do have occasional days where I get stressed and upset and everything becomes a bit too much ... but, so does everyone else.
7. Don't call me 'brave'
Again, I am only living my life and in life, everyone will have to face a situation where they have to bring out the 'brave face' ... it's part of life!
8. Please don't go all politically correct on me!
I love a good Cerebral Palsy joke! Don't be afraid to take the mick, life is too short to take it seriously and if you don't laugh, you'd cry!
9. Don't think I'll be just like someone else you've met with Cerebral Palsy
This applies both from a physical point of view and a personality point of view. Firstly, Cerebral Palsy is an umbrella term and no two people are affected by it in the same way. It's a bit like a finger print - everyone obviously has a finger print from their finger, but everyone's pattern is totally unique to them. With everyone who has Cerebral Palsy, the same part of their brains are damaged, but everyone has their unique pattern of damage. Secondly, we are all individuals and are not clones! Would you say that all people that wear say glasses have the same personalities?!
10. Don't be afraid to ask me questions
You most definitely won't offend me! I would rather people ask than sit and puzzle ... and the weirder, the better!
11. Don't pity the medical side
Loads of people say 'I don't know how you cope with all those appointments' ... it's really okay, I promise! Anyway, even if I didn't 'cope' with it, not that there's much to 'cope' with it, there's nothing I can do about it anyway, so why get in a state?
12. Cerebral Palsy makes things 10 times more entertaining!
Putting socks on = hilarious. Garden peas have a field day at dinner time, they get to roll all over the table, and the floor if they're lucky! Getting toothpaste on the actual toothbrush is like winning the world cup. My bedroom carpet likes wearing makeup too. Successfully getting gloves on provides the same feeling as getting a question correct on University Challenge.