Sam Mason (sammason) wrote in disabledstudent,
Sam Mason

does being a disabled student cause anxiety?

I'm blessed to have no anxiety disorder. Well at least I don't have one now. But I'm noticing how anxious I get in the academic world now that I'm disabled.

There's a complex balancing act. Since nobody wants to be prejudiced, nearly always in academia I find that people want to accommodate disability. But that doesn't always include listening to what we really need. For me in my wheelchair, 'accommodation' sometimes involves being left to sit like a lemon while people walk away chatting about what arrangements they're going to make for me. It sometimes involves being told earnestly that I've got a certain number of good years ahead of me before retirement while I zip my gob about how clearly I know that my good years are already gone.

In the University context I want to emphasise what I *can* do. I avoid confronting people with some of the ugliest realities of my disability. But then, even the same day, I often need to emphasise what I *can't* do so that people with financial power will let me claim things to which I'm entitled.

Recently I've noticed that I'm relying a lot on the shield of an Internet connection. That's largely because of my disability itself (you can do computer-based work without getting properly dressed and without adhering to a daily timetable) but it's also because being around people has started to make me feel anxious. That balancing act can be so tiring. Is this so for disabled students, as well as for disabled post-PhD academics like me?
Tags: academic, accommodations, anxiety, benefit claim, disability, money, wheelchair
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