How Common Are Disabilities and Do You Have One?

In a world filled with diversity, it is crucial to seek understanding of those who are different than us. This practice develops empathy and compassion.


Shilynn Marshall

10/25/20223 min read

In today's blog post we are exploring the vast world of disabilities and raising awareness for each of our unique needs.

  • What is the definition of a disability?

  • Statistics of individuals living with a disability.

  • My personal experience living with disabilities.

  • The importance of mental health hygiene when living with a disability.

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In a world filled with diversity, understanding the prevalence and impact of disabilities is crucial. They come in various forms and can affect anyone, including you and me. Let's delve into the definition of disabilities, look at some enlightening statistics, and explore my personal journey living with rare bone, nerve, and muscle conditions, as well as being on the spectrum with ADHD.

Defining Disability:

A disability is not just a physical limitation; it encompasses a wide spectrum of conditions that can affect one's physical, sensory, cognitive, and mental abilities. These conditions can be present at birth, acquired due to accidents or illnesses, or develop over time. Disabilities challenge individuals to adapt and overcome, often showcasing their resilience and determination.

Statistics Speak Volumes:

Disabilities are more common than one might think. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 15% of the world's population lives with some form of disability. This statistic encompasses a wide range of conditions, from mobility impairments to intellectual disabilities. It's important to note that disabilities don't discriminate – they can impact people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds.

A Glimpse into My Journey:

In my own life, I've encountered the intricate challenges posed by rare bone, nerve, and muscle diseases. Conditions like Klippel-Feil Syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome have shaped my experiences, requiring me to navigate the world with a unique perspective. Additionally, living on the spectrum with ADHD has added another layer to my identity. It's been a journey of self-discovery, resilience, and embracing my differences.

Embracing Rare Conditions and Neurodiversity:

Living with Klippel-Feil Syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome has been a lesson in finding strength within vulnerability. These rare conditions have led me to connect with a community of individuals who understand the challenges, triumphs, and daily victories. Similarly, being on the autism spectrum with ADHD has shown me the beauty of neurodiversity – a celebration of the unique wiring of each individual's brain.

Promoting Mental Health Hygiene:

Coping with disabilities, chronic pain, and learning disabilities can take a toll on one's mental health. It's essential to prioritize mental health hygiene as a crucial part of the journey. Seeking support from loved ones, professionals, or support groups can provide a safe space to share struggles and triumphs. Practicing self-compassion, mindfulness, and seeking joy in small achievements can make a significant difference.

Ending on a Positive Note:

Amid the challenges, disabilities can foster resilience, empathy, and a deeper appreciation for life's intricacies. Every step taken, every barrier overcome, and every connection forged contribute to a richer, more vibrant existence. Let's remember that disabilities are a part of the tapestry of human experience, and they do not define us. By embracing our uniqueness and advocating for inclusivity, we pave the way for a more compassionate and understanding world.

In conclusion, disabilities are more common than we realize, and they don't discriminate. My journey with rare bone, nerve, and muscle diseases, along with being on the autism spectrum with ADHD, has shown me the power of the human spirit to adapt and thrive. As we navigate these challenges, let's prioritize our mental health, seek support, and celebrate the beauty of diversity. Remember, your story matters, and it's a testament to the strength that resides within you.

Meet the author.

Shilynn Marshall is a passionate blogger, chronic pain warrior, rare disease advocate, and intuitive healer. She lives in Iowa and travels often. You can find her drinking green tea and writing in any local coffee shop.

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