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Publishing original works by writers with a disability, mental illness or who are deaf.

Dear Disability

By Tansy Bradshaw

Dear Disability,

We need to talk.

I just want to say , the past 28 years I have been a part of this relationship has been far too long. I have no wish to be married to you.

Throughout my life, you have made me realise that the only long-term relationship I have any hope of sustaining is with doctors. That they are the ones who will see me at my most vulnerable, share my highs and lows and know nearly every aspect of my life.

Over the years, I have seen my fair share of specialists including paediatricians, anaesthesiologist, dermatologists and an orthopaedic professor. There have been countless names I have been told and countless more drugs I have been given. However, I hold four people dear to my heart. Four doctors have shaped me into who I am today.

My cardiologist, T.H. Goh performed open-heart surgery, saving my life. My orthopaedic professor, Kerr H. Graham, corrected my right leg and right wrist, at two different times, making me look more ‘normal’. My first boss, Dr Linda Wilkinson has given me some of the most valuable advice I have had. The final doctor, The Doctor, or as he likes to be known, Rob, opened my eyes to see the wonders of the world. They have all helped me accept myself for who I am, and know that I am important.

A lot of who I am today is no thanks to you. You broke me down leaving my family to pick up the pieces. I have lost count of the times I came crying to my mum, dad or grandfather – preaching my unworthiness, my own self-loathing.

There have been so many nights I have cried myself to sleep over you. You initiated all those hurtful names that scarred my already damaged heart.

To make me feel really alone you did not just give me the heart conditions, you stole half my brain. You twisted my body and made my hopes of running in a triathlon impossible. Not to mention making my circulatory system feel similar to a one night stand: it warms me up, cools me down and by morning has fucked off and I am meant to carry on as normal.

Over the years, I have wanted something, or someone to blame. All that time I was blaming others and myself and really should have been putting the blame on you.

You gave me the worst years of my life. I searched the schoolyard trying to find someone like me. I just assumed I was the only one of my kind left. I was alone and no one would understand where I was coming from.

I would like to tell you to go and annoy some able-bodied person for a while, to tell you I do not need you in my life and that I am better off without you. Yet, no matter how much I wish this to be a reality, in truth I cannot live without you.

I would not be who I am without you. Most people are looking for the thing that makes them different, the thing that makes them stand apart from other people. I was just very lucky that mine was presented to me at birth. Moreover, I would not have it any other way.

I am what I am, and I am nothing without you.

1 Comment

  1. I enjoyed reading this.
    Thank you for your openness and honesty.


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