Awards: The Disability Award

The Badge for the Disability Award

Melinda Sandor at Looking For The Light  blog nominated me for this award; she is a dedicated blogger and activist and was one of my first Featured Bloggers.

Melinda is also the driving force behind the blogging collective, Survivors Blog Here.

When I saw the name of the award my first thought was, ‘an award for being disabled?’ but based on the nominees it’s clearly an award for people who strive to transcend their disabilities and give meaning to the pain. It’s an honor to get this award. Thank you, Melinda.

The rules are to display the award badge, answer the questions, choose your own nominees, and develop your own set of questions. Melinda’s questions are so practical I’m going with hers.

Advances in Brain Imaging
Fig. 2. Example of reduced regional cerebral glucose metabolism in the anterior temporo-frontal cortices in a patient with dissociative amnesia.

Melinda’s Questions:

What was the first sign of your illness?

My first symptoms appeared when I was a child and found the name ‘Antonio’ scrawled in my schoolbooks. I was confused about my age, name and gender, which set me apart from the other children.

What is your worst symptom and how do you cope with it?

The symptoms of depression and dissociation affect memory and concentration, which makes it difficult read and write.

I often go back to a published post to discover typos and glaring gaps in logic. I cope by writing shorter pieces and relying more on photography and abstract designs for creative expression.

I’ve also stopped judging myself when I find mistakes in the work I post, although it’s frustrating to discover a flaw I would definitely have noticed a decade ago.

As for reading, I do a lot of reading I can’t remember.

This is even true of my work.

I often think I’m reading another bloggers post for the first time and discover that I’ve already liked and re-blogged it.

It’s confusing and frustrating.

What one thing about you has changed because of your struggles?

I miss reading and writing longer, more complex, stories, but I’m learning to be patient with myself, and to set more realistic timelines for achieving goals.

I am more compassionate toward other people.

What words of advice or encouragement would you give to someone else suffering?

I’m changing the last word from ‘suffering’ to ‘disabled’, because suffering does not have to define life with a chronic illness.

My advice is set goals and let go of the way you defined success when you were healthy. Give yourself plenty of time to complete those goals.

Never compare your achievements to the achievements of people who aren’t ill.

Learn new skills and practice them.

I knew absolutely nothing about photography when I became permanently disabled. I still know nothing about photography. but I’m better at it.

Name one good thing that has come out of having a chronic illness.

Now that I have the right diagnosis and treatment, I have a better understanding of the forces that shaped me as a child, and a better understanding of why I made certain self destructive decisions as a younger man. I’m forgiving because of it.

The Dissociative

What one thing do you disagree with that is widely accepted as true about your condition?

I obviously disagree with the idea that Dissociative Identify Disorder doesn’t exist. If I go to a shrink and tell her I think I have other personalities and the craziness of it is wrecking my life, I expect her to believe I believe they exist and to treat me accordingly.

I wish the United States had mental health system  that wanted to treat the brain’s mind.

If you could change only one aspect of your illness, what would it be?

Some days I get sick of feeling like I’m running in place. I want the illness to go away.

Name the one thing that works best for you for symptom relief.

I get relief from photography or throwing myself into a project. I also try to eat properly, exercise, and get a solid night’s sleep.

Based on your experience, what is one thing that you would tell someone newly diagnosed with chronic illness?

Learn as much as you can about your illness and become your own advocate.Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging to advocate for better medical treatment for people with mental illnesses.

The blog began to shift focus in 2016 and is now more focused on  art and politics., but I haven’t forgotten my roots.

My nominees

Most of the disability bloggers I know have gotten this award from Melinda.

My two nominees for this award are Dream Big, Dream Often and Jason
at Opinionated Man.

My questions for them are the same as those asked of me.

Check out Stacy Chapman’s award post at Fighting with Fibro

‘The Dissociative’ (c) Rob Goldstein All Rights Reserved


36 thoughts on “Awards: The Disability Award”

  1. Wow this was fantastic to read! I’m disabled myself and use that as my inspiration to write. I just started blogging a few days ago. Mind checking it out? It is aimed towards telling of life’s blessings as well as my personal journey with Dystonia

  2. Good day Rob I just started blogging myself. Reading your blog helped me a lot on what or how I want to do it. With dementia the cognitive impairment also leaves me with typos and stuff that makes no sense sometimes. My speech therapist says I just need to get the idea over.
    I will definitely read your blogs.

    1. Thank you for leaving such a validating comment. My blog is about many things but it is always primarily about empowering people with neurological and psychological problems. I’m glad reading my blog was helpful to you. Your comment made my day. 🙂

    1. I’m glad I had a chance to discuss my problems with concentration and remembering what I read. My therapist thinks different alternates read different things but don’t encode or ‘pass on’ the memory. It’s a real source of embarrassment. I think lots of bloggers leave ‘likes’ without comments for similar reasons so I hope that discussing it helps someone out there to feel less alone.

  3. Rob, I appreciate the nomination. Coming from you this means a lot! Keep up the good work my friend! I think you and I are going on 4 or 5 years now?!
    Danny

  4. Rob, thank you for this very personal post. Thank you for trusting us enough to be open about it. To me, this is a gift from you to all of us, just as is your beautiful art.
    Hugs on the wing.

  5. D.L Finn, Author

    Congrats on being nominated and speaking up about what you are going through. This is one area I would love to see more effort and conversation put into because I feel like we know so little about the brain still. We never know what another person is dealing with and should never judge.

  6. “I’m changing the last word from ‘suffering’ to ‘disabled’, because suffering does not have to define life with a chronic illness.”

    I love that!

  7. Thank you for the intruduction, Rob! At first i had the same thought as you, and dontknow who to send congrats for the award. But you are a survivor, and a great motivation for all others dealing with this or other things called “disabilities”. The term is human made, made by humans decades ago. Its only a term. Congratulations! Michael

  8. Wonderful Rob that you were nominated and a great achievement in overcoming your difficulties and your award reflected that. Knowing something about Mental health from my own depressive years and working in the mental health field for 12 yrs with those who had disabilities. Its no mean fete in overcoming and striving forward.. Great advice given Rob. 💜

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