RECENTLY someone asked me to consider whether I am a vulnerable person?

I sort of scoffed at the idea, thinking, well maybe, but no more than anyone else.

I’m pretty sure I can get myself out of most situations with some help.

To be honest, I had to Google the term vulnerable as to me it has (or had) negative connotations of weakness somehow.

To my surprise the definitions were as follows; ‘exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally’ or ‘a person in need of special care, support, or protection because of age, disability, or risk of abuse or neglect’.

My reaction to this? Firstly I clearly fit at least one of the descriptions, if not both. Secondly, that neither of these imply weakness more susceptibility due to circumstance.

The reason this person asked me about vulnerability was in reference to a few events this year where I have felt trapped in a situation that was uncomfortable and directly related to my disability.

Having a disability is an odd thing. In order to survive, or perhaps integrate, you have to be tough. Regular readers will know that I am tough.

Anyone who has had the misfortune to be on the receiving end of me when disability provision isn’t up to scratch would also see this toughness in person. I’m not one to hold back.

Occasionally there are situations where this toughness and the power to mouth off, aka voice concern or walk/roll away, are taken away from you. Or more accurately, these are situations that non-disabled people wouldn’t face or the solution would be far simpler. I appreciate that you would like an example but for the sake of my privacy I’m not going to say.

So in answer to this question: I am vulnerable? Yes.

One of the areas of disability that is rarely talked about is the amount of energy, I mean psychological energy not physical energy, that it takes to go out about daily life.

When someone says something to you that is out of turn, when you are excluded because something is upstairs, or someone doesn’t see you because you are seated.

All these things take up energy, even in the decision making whether to placate myself or make an example or the perpetrator.

Guess what? That’s exhausting. And these are just the day-to-day situations where I am not trapped by vulnerability.

I try to keep my perspective balanced, but that’s not easy. From time to time I just want to take time off from thinking about my disability and how it affects my life.

Life is stressful enough without the extras that disability brings. Much like the string of Q and A’s above.

Can I have time off from it? No. Do I like admitting that? No. Does it feel nice? No. Do I have to deal with it? Yes.