In some of my Cerebral Palsy blogs, I have touched on various issues around the condition itself, but I’ve not talked about how visible it was when I was a child or how exactly the whole Cerebral Palsy thing played out.
Although it would go on to take me years to find out there was a diagnosis, I never knew. All the difficulties I had eventually took their toll and manifested itself in anger issues. ‘I was an angry child living in the depths of emotional despair’ that this was even my life.
Being misunderstood and continually having to fight my corner to be heard; to be listened to. To be understood instead of being misunderstood all the time; feeling out of my depth on so many issues; being out of touch with reality; wanting a different reality that wasn’t mine. Finding a way to cope with life; with my anxieties and with myself. Trying to find a place with my family, alongside all of those difficulties and hoping that one day I would wake up from a bad dream I just didn’t get.
I knew I had a bad left leg and and I later found out a ‘foot drop.’ I was unaware of my struggles, but I knew I struggled. I hated looking at myself in the mirror. When I was standing straight, I was lopsided because of a leg length difference of ¾”. When I wore school skirts, the lack of muscle tone in my left leg was visible and people would stare. I walked with a continual limp and would trip when I got tired.
I also hated that I walked toe heel and dragged my leg. I hated that my father thought to pick me up on something he knew I couldn’t change and I didn’t know. I hated that my shoes wore differently and that I was made to wear a heal raise for my leg length difference and that I had to have shoes made that didn’t work, because they made my foot look even more deformed.
Not having the support so that I could at least function ‘in my own normal’ meant that I retreated into my own little world early on; a world that I was familiar with and one that recognised me. I didn’t have to think about anything, but perhaps there was nothing to think about. Perhaps I had already worked out that things would never change. Perhaps I had already worked out that it was me that would have to change. But even through all those times, subconsciously I wasn’t giving up. I wasn’t done yet.
I failed at most things. In Games lessons I managed easier sports such as Netball. Where I needed a sick note to opt out of certain Games lessons like ‘The High Jump’ I was expected to participate. Being allowed to opt out wasn’t an option and where I needed understanding, there was none.
I was expected to be the same as my siblings, no allowances were made. My siblings also struggled around my difficulties, they seemed indifferent towards, but they also didn’t understand, because in the early years I’m not sure any of my siblings knew either.
Perhaps them being in the dark for most of their lives was an issue for them too, but also because they were living on the other side of my difficulties.