Invisible Disabilities

By Joshua, Phase 1 Scholar
Josh participated in the web design class in Summer Study 2023.

When I was a child, it was very difficult to sit still and be calm; I was always moving around and couldn't sit still. This could have been blamed on me being young but even as I got older I could not sit still. PI and others always wondered why until I got diagnosed with ADHD which affects my ability to focus especially in school. I have a disability that can’t be seen and it has completely affected my life in multiple ways.

When I found out about this as a child I didn’t think much about it but as I grew it really affected how I thought. Since I always moved around and struggled with paying attention in school people always made assumptions, it was always “stop moving so much” or “you’re weird” and everyone always wondered why and so did I. I always questioned why I was like this and said sorry all of the time and when I found out why I always disliked myself for it.

I never realized why and how it worked and as a child always blamed myself not knowing I couldn't help it. I was so scared of what people thought about me judging me until I was able to explain who I really am. I was too scared to speak up and advocate for myself so I just hid myself. My disability was not just invisible to others but invisible to me as well, that's because I ignored it and never accepted it as a part of me. I always thought I was “weird” or not “normal” but as I grew older I realized the truth.

I started taking medicine for my ADHD and it helped me calm down. But in school I had accommodations like being asked if I needed help out of nowhere and easier work. Even though I never liked it because other kids were not asked this I did need it at times I still hated it, why I hated it was because other kids did not need it and I wanted to be like them and be “normal”. But as time went on I realized I'm not just my disabilities, I'm smart and kind no matter what.

I realized what I did need and what I didn’t. So as I grew up I was able to confidently tell people why I'm like this and why I act like this, I became a stronger person saying what I wanted help with and what I didn’t. I was able to accept my disabilities and lived with them not letting them discourage me anymore, becoming stronger every day. So what I can say to everyone like me with invisible disabilities being judged without knowing why, don't be discouraged, keep pushing with no one stopping you from believing in yourself and your abilities.