After I received my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, my nurse handed me a leaflet explaining how to tell those at my workplace I’m “DISabled,” and what that means, and another leaflet explaining how to claim DISability benefits.
The thing is, I didn’t feel DISabled.
Sure, I had no feeling on the left side of my body and I was suddenly doing my daily tasks a little differently, but I wasn’t DISabled.
The term “disabled” made me feel different and horrible — like I was thrown in the reject pile.
Now, I’m not saying for a second that’s true; I’m just describing what went through my mind at the time. The term didn’t sit well with me, and I couldn’t understand why.
It wasn’t until many years later that I was using a synonym program at work and typed in “DISabled.” It came up with some word associations that showed why the word didn’t sit well with me.
The program generated words such as “incapable,” “weakened,” “confined,” “broken-down,” and “helpless.” Wow. No wonder.
If those are the words associated with “DISabled,” it was obvious why I didn’t feel empowered by it.
I typed in the opposite: “ENabled.” What came up? “Empower,” “implement,” “give power,” and “make possible.” My question is, why have we associated the most unique and special people in society with such a negative label?
Imagine if we had ENabled parking spaces? ENabled bathrooms? What difference would that make in how society views people like us?
I want people to feel empowered, not incapable.
The story behind “warrior” is different.
People identify with different terms in different ways. As soon as I read the synonyms for “warrior,” it fit. I know not everyone likes to think of themselves as a “warrior,” and that’s fine. I get that.
Synonyms for warrior include “fighter” (someone who never gives up), “champion” (someone determined to overcome anything in their way), and “hero.” You may not feel like a hero, but someone else may think of you as their hero.
You know me by now; I keep a positive state of mind. I see my daily mindset techniques like battle armor that prepares me for the day, so I can overcome any dragons that may appear. A warrior doesn’t go into battle without armor, right?
What exactly is an ENabled Warrior? If you identified with anything I said above, YOU are an ENabled warrior already!
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.
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