Our emotions can be a bit of a roller coaster ride at the best of times. Throw in a physical disability and lack of self-confidence and it can open a window of issues.
As a young child I didn't really seem to know any different. I was just the same as every other child. I played the same games as my friends and I wasn't aware that people may have noticed that I had #erbspalsy.
It was when I went to prep school at 11 years old that things changed. My so called friends started to notice I was a bit different. It was advised that I shouldn't play rugby, because if I broke my left arm it could open up a whole world of issues. Due to never being on the rugby field, my friends started asking questions. I explained what had happened during birth and that's when it started to happen... the name calling. Apparently calling me "Paralysed Parson" was a nice thing to do. Imitating my arm and how I carry it was also something of a daily occurrence. The strange thing is I don't ever really remember feeling upset about my arm until then. The name calling and bullying started with my arm and then it moved on to all sorts of bullying. I remember that the pupils threw my pencil cases out of the window of the top floor classroom just before the teachers would come in to start the class. They also emptied my golf clubs out the window into the bush below, just before we were meant to leave for training. For some reason #bullies pick on the weak and vulnerable and unfortunately I was one of them. I think that mixed with my innocence and my arm made me an easy target.
Thinking back, this must have been where my self-consciousness came from. I'm very aware that I always look at my reflection and photos to see how my arm and wrist are hanging and I get this little feeling of frustration and resentment inside. I don't want to point the finger, because I'm a believer in experiences, be it good or bad, make you stronger. They are all life lessons which develop our character. Having said that, the bullying really did hurt me because I'd never experienced anything like it before. I couldn't understand why they were being so mean to me.
What can we do about it?
"I worked out that the more I was reacting to their name calling, the more they would do it. I was feeding their flame of negativity. I extinguished it with laughter."
It took me a long time to learn to laugh at myself. I think at times I took myself too seriously. I remember one day, rather than getting upset, I started laughing hysterically at a boy who was calling me names. He had a look of shock on his face when I did it. Two things happened from then on... I started to laugh at myself more and the name calling diminished. I worked out that the more I was reacting to their name calling, the more they would do it. I was feeding their flame of negativity. I extinguished it with laughter.
It is not an easy thing to do, believe me. But for those of you who are struggling with #bullying due to your #erbspalsy try switching your reaction. That sounds like a really difficult thing to do, but if there is no reaction then they are less likely to do it. Some bullies may pick on you even if you don't react and that's a difficult situation to be in. One thing I discovered later on was the importance of talking.
We hold so much inside and if we don't let it out our emotions build and build until we burst. Living this way could lead to #mentalhealth issues, so make a start today. Dig deep and move forward one step at a time. Find someone to confide in and tell them how you feel. About everything. I've had several people contact me saying that they have never spoken to anyone about their #brachialplexusinjury before and how these blogs and videos are really helping them, because they don't feel alone with the suffering. You are not alone! We are a team and we are all in this together. We need to be there for one another and help each other. If you are feeling worthless, please know that you are beautiful both inside and out. Just because you have #erbspalsy doesn't make you any less of a person, even if you may feel it at times. You can offer so much to this world and to the people around you. Surround yourself with positive people who cherish you. Look at how much you have overcome so far and think about all the things you could do if you put your mind to it.
Let go of any past traumas and use it as fuel for your fire. Don't do things to prove to others you can do it, do it to prove it to yourself! It may take a little longer to achieve your goals, but that's ok, you will get there in the end. God blessed us with the ability to communicate. Use your voice and start to heal.
There's a short video below about how our emotions can spiral out of control. I hope you can connect with it.
Much love x