Disabled Identity Crisis & Accommodations
Last week in my column, I talked about how my mom had a bit of an identity crisis when she was diagnosed with IPF. She was terrified, heartbroken, and somewhat embarrassed of her illness. She struggled to come to terms with her diagnosis/prognosis, and the identity of “disabled person”, and therefore did not take full advantage of her disability accommodations when her IPF was progressing.
Some things that she found especially hard to accept were being forced to retire on disability, being issued a handicap parking placard, and the visibility of her previously invisible illness when she began to use supplemental oxygen. Each of these milestones felt dehumanizing and it was hard for her to realize or accept that each of them happened to benefit her health.
As a chronically ill person, have you struggled with your identity? What milestones have been hard to process on your journey with PF? Do you have any tips to make it easier for someone who might be struggling with the same feelings?
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