So today I want to write about something that’s really important to me. This post may end up being longer than usual (and I’m sorry for that. I totally understand if you don’t read the whole thing or any of it at all). I want to talk about labeling today.
We all struggle with different things. As many of you know, I struggle with anxiety. When I was younger, I guess you can say I was diagnosed with OCD. While I agree that I probably did have it when I was younger, I don’t think I have that many obsessive compulsive tendencies anymore (only sometimes when I get really anxious). Anyway, my anxiety is just that: anxiety. It’s never really been “labeled” anything other than that (besides the OCD when I was younger).
However, my anxiety has been labeled as a disability, at least in a school setting for college anyway. I HATE that and with all my heart, I don’t believe anxiety is a disability. Why? I don’t think anxiety is a disability because the truth is that, while anxiety often makes me feel otherwise, I can function normally, I can walk normally. I just feel like I can’t sometimes because anxiety is a liar and likes to make us feel like we’re unable to do things.
So, if I’m not disabled, then why was I labeled as that way briefly in college? I was labeled disabled very briefly because I felt that in order to take a math test with minimal anxiety, I should take it in a room that was better equipped to help me feel comfortable. Now, I don’t feel like I should have been labeled this way just because I wanted to feel comfortable and just because I didn’t want to feel riddled with anxiety. However, it was “school policy”. Personally, it didn’t, and still doesn’t, make any sense to me.
The other problem with labels is that people treat you differently. Now get this, the person who helped me get the room to take the math test was considered “disabled” as well but he STILL treated me differently. He looked at me differently and treated me like a child. This was not me being paranoid. My dad witnessed it and agreed with how I felt!
Now I’m not upset with the person who was in charge with helping me get the room to take the math test because he had to label me as disabled. I totally understand that he was just trying to help and follow school policy. However, he didn’t have to treat me like he did and the problem lies with the school policy. A school shouldn’t have to label you as disabled just to help you!
I’m not disabled and I wouldn’t even be telling you guys this story if it wasn’t for the fact that I think school policies should change. Also, I’m writing this to tell everyone that you shouldn’t jump to conclusions about what someone might “have”. I’m not disabled, I’m not “mentally slow”. I have anxiety and while sometimes it may look like something different, it’s anxiety.
Also, if your child is dealing with something and one doctor or therapist diagnoses them with something, or looks at them for five seconds and says, “They have this”, that doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily right. Take the time to really look into these things. It is a person’s health anyway.