Living with Cerebral Palsy
Updated: Sep 23, 2020
Story By: Anonymous
Cerebral palsy is a movement disorder that affects everybody differently. It constrained me to a wheelchair and lifelong assistance for my daily activities. Despite facing challenges while doing basic things like writing and speaking, I have achieved a lot of my dreams and my goals. Yet, I cannot have the exact ‘normal’ life that an average person is entitled to.
I need help for doing anything and everything in life from the time I wake up in the morning to the time I sleep at night. Initially, my state was worse - I couldn't even speak, or type on my computer. But over the time after getting medicated for several years and constantly fighting with my situations, I have not only begun speaking, but also improved in small ways.
Although I have always had a steady support group in the form of my friends and family, I have faced enough difficulties to reach where I am today. One of the major challenges was a lack of washroom for the disabled in my school. Also, no school worker would agree to help me, because of which my mother would always wait outside, while I would be attending my classes. Every time I had to use the washroom, I would have to take my mother's help. Attending school would become a nightmare in times when my mother had some other work. Controlling my nature's call would give me serious stomach aches at times. Imagine what a teenage child might feel about wetting his pants while sitting with 15-year-olds.
Nevertheless, I passed my school with flying colours and today, I can proudly say I am the first person in India who has managed to complete his engineering in spite of his disability. But 12 years ago, no company wanted to have an employee with cerebral palsy. I had a huge desire to serve the army, in the technical department, but I was never allowed to pass the medical test, despite clearing the written test. I thought of joining other Organisations like DRDO, but I couldn’t get in there also, primarily because they didn’t allow a scribe and I still write very slowly. Despite being an engineer with good technical acumen it was only after two years that I finally managed to get a job.
From a very young age, I had unconsciously resigned to the aspect that I would not be able to date or have a partner in the traditional sense. Growing up with a combination of a normal active healthy male brain and cerebral palsy put my wants at loggerheads with my reality. Thus, romantically I have always been lonely.
Most teenagers have a life that they don’t necessarily share with their parents. I can not go anywhere without assistance, so things like going for a movie date with a special someone were absolutely impossible for me as a child. They still are a privilege for me.
The first time I fell in love with a woman, was from afar. She was a close friend, but I was hesitant to convey my feelings taking into account my physical limitations and bottled up my feelings with a tight cork. The day she got married, I was heartbroken, and I had nowhere to go to ease my pain. I had friends, but I could never express these feelings to them because they were highly protective of me, and I was skeptical about their response. With time, many of my friends have dated and eventually gotten married to have their own families.
Recently, I have begun talking to another girl. The first time I spoke to her, I felt a little glow in my heart. We had so much in common and when we started talking on the phone, hours would pass by, until finally in a moment of shared vulnerability, I asked her out. She said yes. I should have been just happy, but I was also petrified. It wasn’t going to be a normal date, because not only did I need help getting there, but also to get out from the cab to the wheelchair, in fact in every vehicular shift.
Would it work out, would she be able to accept me with my limitations? Would I be able to fulfill her sexual and emotional desires? I cannot even take her out for a movie, how would this work? We cannot go for a walk in the park, and I cannot give her what any normal guy can. I can not ignore these real questions, but I also know that only time will tell if my disability will define my life of loneliness, or will I truly ever share the fruits of companionship?