Disabled to Enabled

How does the term “disabled” make you feel?
For some people, it might be an easy transition. It might feel right for you, and if that is you, that’s okay.

Some people take it very literally, and their symptoms are shown to get worse.
For me, I was totally healthy and normal one minute and diagnosed with MS at the age of 22 the next. Suddenly having that “DISabled” label—when I could still mostly walk okay and wasn’t in need of any kind of walking aids, just didn’t quite sit right with me.
To me, it felt really strange having that label. I think there are a lot of people out there who don’t resonate with this “disabled” label. For me personally, it became worse when I succumbed to getting the handicap parking permit that I needed. There, on the front, was a big bold image of a stick person in a wheelchair.
I remember taking it out of the envelope for the first time and staring at it. A rush of sadness filled me. I didn’t like it. I became depressed. Very depressed. I felt my 22-year-old self slipping away and being replaced by a 90-year-old woman. My body already felt out of my control. And eventually, I got to a place where I said:
“Enough is enough. I am having none of it.” From now on, the handicap permit will be my VIP badge, not a disability badge.
The dictionary definition of disabled is “lack of ability.” I certainly did not lack ability.
Sometimes I do things differently, but I didn’t lack ability.
I am just creatively abled.
Sure, sometimes I don’t do things the same way normal people do.
Some days I can do things that I just can’t on others.
Some days my body just defies convention.
Then I thought to myself… I’m not “DISabled." This isn’t me. I don’t lack ability.
I’m ENabled.
Now I’m on a mission to find other people like me who are ENabled. More specifically—ENabled Warriors.
Who are the ones that defy convention? Is that you?
Those who don’t believe they “lack ability.”
The kind of people that say no to their symptoms.
The ones who push the limits.
The ones who are mentally strong.
The ones who can do more than they think and are not afraid to try.
I wanted to find others like me who felt ENabled. People who persevere, or help others do their very best. I was so inspired by this revelation, that I began a podcast, “The DISabled to Enabled” podcast (you can follow it now on iTunes, Podbean, Spotify, TuneIn radio and YouTube).
Since I’ve changed the way I think about the disabled label, I feel limitless! I’m exercising again, I’m not afraid to take things on or go out with my friends. The label was holding me back, making me think I couldn’t do anything. Since choosing to be empowered by it, I feel in control, I hear that someone else calls themselves disabled, I feel a little sad because I think they are choosing to associate themselves with that label. The thing is, you don’t actually lack ability, you’re just creatively abled.
Comment below and tel me how the term “disabled” makes you feel!
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Jessie Ace

Jessie Ace is the founder of jessieace.com, a website that provides real-world help and advice for people living with chronic health conditions after her own experiences of being diagnosed with MS at 22 years old. She’s also the host of the DISabled to ENabled podcast, author of the ENabled Warrior Symptom Tracker book, founder of the ENabled Warriors community and public speaker.