To all my friends and family,
I feel I am at a sort of a crossroads in my life and need to share my thoughts with the people who matter to me. Periodically, things happen both physically and emotionally. Some are easier to deal with and pass. Others come and go. And some are extremely difficult and painful. I am in the midst of one of those times now.
There have been some major changes going on around me for a number of years and all at once, I have reached a crisis point in dealing with them. After graduation from high school, it was very hard for me to see the changes that were happening. Many of my friends went away to school and I was not able to see them as much as before. We still talked and e-mailed, but that is not the same thing as seeing them face to face. I saw them living on campus somewhere independently, and that just was not an option for me. Rationally, I could understand that and tried to deal with it the best I could by going to community college and still have the support from my family. Even though I understood my limitations, it still hurt and still does. Then, some friends entered into relationships, got married, moved away, and then things changed even more.
Most people have always seen me as happy and content with my life and for the most part, that has been true. But now I am looking forward to what is ahead for me and hurting inside. I feel more pain, anger, and frustration that I have never really been able to express fully. This all has culminated in physical and emotional problems that are causing panic attacks. I have never had anything like this before and it is truly frightening. We have been working as a family to try and find ways to deal with this and part of the process for me is being able to share my thoughts and feelings with all of you.
Those of you who know me really well, understand that I am fully cognitive and intuitive. I have severe physical limitations and must depend on others for all of my needs such as dressing, personal care, transportation, etc. My communication is also very limited due to being non verbal. We continue to try and discover new ways to broaden the scope of my communication and most recently, chatting on gmail and Facebook have really made a difference in keeping in touch with so many people. That is invaluable to me. I can also Skype with people and that is another wonderful avenue for me.
I really want everyone to know that I am not so different from any of you in how I feel inside. Yes, my physical limitations are huge, but I feel the same emotions, from the best to the worst, get angry and want to throw something across the room, lonely, sad, frightened, on and on. I have had to deal with people looking at me as if I am a perpetual child and speak to me in that manner, speak loudly to me as if I am deaf, turn away from me, ignore me, pull their children away from me if they try to ask me a question, the list is endless. That all hurts and I deal with it the best I can. Everyone faces those kind of things in one way or another. But I am so grateful for the many people in my life who treat me the way they treat everyone else they interact with. I have had to constantly prove myself to teachers, principals, doctors, etc. and I can understand their skepticism. But once I do, or they play a game of Millionaire with me, they see the whole Liz. That makes me SMILE!
There are tons more I could go on about, but for now, this is a start. I hope you will read this and feel free to respond. I think this will be a great help to me and expressing myself in this letter, has already accomplished a great deal. Thanks so much for listening and being a big part of my life.