SSD Community Understanding
In the month of March, we started our Dynamic Disabilities Campaign. For this campaign, we asked our community to tell their stories about what it means to live with a Dynamic Disability. Using those stories we have created a community-generated understanding about living with a Dynamic Disability. This definition will be updated on an ongoing basis as the campaign continues. Head over to our website (uvicssd.ca) to read previously submitted community stories or to submit your own!
“not feeling disabled enough one day and too disabled the other days”
Dynamic disabilities are characterized by fluctuating symptoms of a disability or health condition. This means that folks may have “good days” and “bad days,” and each day is different or unpredictable. Since the condition is not consistent, each day needs to be evaluated at face value independent from the day before; furthermore, symptoms can change throughout the day, requiring an additional layer of flexibility and constantly questioning capacity levels.
Though obstacles may feel constant, one learns how to prepare for anything and becomes a master of anticipating their needs. “I still want to be invited” and I’m “not looking for attention or exaggerating.” “Sometimes it’s easier to hide my disability than face the invalidation of the medical system and individuals.” Masking leads to “wondering if you’re disabled enough” (you are).
Like invisible disabilities, there is also great diversity within dynamic disabilities. While some dynamically disabled folks are visibly disabled (i.e. someone who uses a mobility aid), others are invisibly disabled (i.e. someone with a chronic health condition with no or few outward symptoms); moreover, there are also folks who are both visibly and invisibly dynamically disabled. Additionally, dynamically disabled folks may field constant questions and comments such as “you don’t look disabled [today].” This is another shared quality between invisible and dynamic disabilities.
Disclaimer: This is a living, working understanding and it is by no means an exhaustive definition.
We welcome additions and constructive feedback.