It’s July, which means it’s the month the disabled community has chosen to celebrate disability pride month!
Celebrating pride is all about increasing visibility, awareness, and care for a marginalized community. If you are looking for a way to do that this July, read on!
Why Celebrate Disability Pride Month
For me, disability is not a tragedy or source of discomfort. It’s not even a medical condition. Disability is a framework that teaches you to prioritize the needs of your mind and body over the expectations of society. It’s a way of accepting and even celebrating the mind and body that you have for what it is, not rounding it up to something magical and superhuman, and not degrading it to a compromise or burden. Disability takes an infinite number of forms, so many in fact, there’s a good chance people around you have disabilities that you’d never know about.
The existence of our bodies and minds spends quite a lot of time being invisible, and hardly time at all being celebrated for the unique contributions we bring to the world. Disabled people celebrate pride to counter the narrative that our life is defined by the lack of something or by a condition in need of fixing. We are happy and proud to be here, as we are.
Written Resources on Disability, Chronic Illness, and Mental Health
In honor of disability pride month, I’d like to share with you some quotes from some of my favorite articles about disability published on this blog.
“Joining the disability community opened my eyes to a world of possibilities for adapting your life structure to fit your own needs. Even though I originally resisted joining the community, once I recognized that my set of physical conditions did count as a disability, accepting the identity actually validated that yes, I really did need help, I really did need adjustments to my daily life that were counter to the average American’s lifestyle in order to be the healthiest version of myself. Saying I was “disabled” became a way to make those needs more real to myself.”
“Unfortunately, because we’re taught that all health conditions end in a cure or death, most of the language we have to offer comfort to a sick person is oriented around “getting better.” This can manifest in the seemingly innocuous comments like “Get well soon!” or “Are you feeling better?” but quickly turns into scrutiny in more accusatory comments like, “You’re still sick?” or “When are you going to get better?” These comments frame healing as not just the goal but the default, which implies that if you haven’t achieved it yet, you are a failure. They leave no room for the reality that for so many chronic conditions “getting better” isn’t possible and therefore isn’t the goal.”
“Perhaps part of our tendency to distrust people’s analysis of their own bodies is that when we look at someone, we have a very limited amount of information about what they are experiencing. Based on visual cues, we may not see signs of serious illness or suffering. But those externally visible cues are only a small fraction of the information I have about my own body. I have access to all my internal sensations, my own history of these sensations and what they resulted in later, and relevant medical knowledge given to me by my doctor. Please, treat me as an authority on the topic of my own health. “
“The day I ran around that church carting my two pillows everywhere and searching for gluten-free food, there were two moments of accessibility that made me smile. The first was a note in the program about receiving communion, saying that if you could not come to the front, you could let someone know and they would bring communion to you, accompanied by the phrase, “Gluten-free communion wafers are available on request.”
And the second: a priest uttering the words, “Stand as you’re able”; a simple but powerful acknowledgment that the ability to stand is not guaranteed or expected.
The existence of my limitations does not bring me down. The accommodation of them frees me.”
“For me personally, anti-depressants don’t make me numb, depression makes me numb. Depression doesn’t manifest as an abundance of bad feelings in my brain, it’s an emotional blankness and soul-crushing boredom. When I began taking medication for my depression, I started feeling emotions again. It actually allowed my feelings to flow even more freely than they normally do when my mental health is stable. A feeling that can flow is a feeling that can run its course fully so that you can recover from it, rather than getting stuck feeling it or trying to escape it for weeks on end.”
Additional Reading Material
If you’re looking to learn more about the experience of being disabled, chronically ill, or mentally ill, as well as disability activism, OR if you’re looking for resources to share with friends and family so they can better understand what you’re going through, check out the recommended articles below for more ideas!
Resources on Disability
- 10 Things I Love About Being Disabled
- Why Don’t I Ever See You Dancing? What is EDS?
- What Ableism Feels Like
Resources on Chronic Illness
- Spoon Theory: What Silverware Has to Do with Chronic Illness
- Why I Stopped Taking Gabapentin
- 9 Things That Blocked My Access to Medical Treatment
Resources on Mental Health
- What Does Dissociation Feel Like?
- A Comprehensive Guide to Assisting with a Mental Health Crisis
- Early Signs That I Had Dissociative Identity Disorder
Interviews About Disability
- Interview with Alice Wong: Engaging with Stories of Disabled People
- Youtube Interview with Secular Sexuality on Sex and Disability
- Podcast Interview with Into Your Body on Sex and Disability
About the writer: Kella Hanna-Wayne is the creator, editor, and main writer for Yopp. She specializes in educational writing about civil rights, disability, chronic illness, abuse, and Dissociative Identity Disorder. Her work has been published in Ms. Magazine blog, The BeZine, and Splain You a Thing and in 2022, she released a self-published book of poetry, “Pet: the Journey from Abuse to Recovery“. You can find her @KellaHannaWayne on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Medium, and Twitter.