No Fault

It seems weird to blame yourself for the impact of a disability. Being born with cerebral palsy would appear logically to be far from my fault. There wasn’t any way from my point of view to reach out to the delivery doctor. Letting them know this whole process didn’t appear like it was going to succeed. In the end, accidents happen that simply could not be seen coming. Had someone in the room been able to predict a brain injury, things probably would have turned out differently. The fact remains, there has been no one to blame for the moments of my birth. Those moments, physically separating me from most people in the population. Within the logical aspects of my brain, those realities have been understood. But, in the emotional aspects of my brain, things aren’t as clear. The thoughts of why it all came to be can be tormenting. It has to be the fault of someone or something for my cerebral palsy to have happened. Without anyone for the fault to be heaped upon. The blame landed on myself, being placed there by my own thought patterns. It seems one can only endure so much self-blame, before it becomes projected elsewhere. Until the frustration lands on those around me in a process of destruction.

Throughout life, I’ve identified with those people who seemed angry. People who may have felt unjustly treated inside because of aspects within their lives. The seemingly shared frustration helped me feel less alone. However, those negative emotions inside would have a challenging time remaining closed off from the world. At some point, the act of stuffing hurt and frustration would fail. The emotions would overflow, leading themselves to be released into the world somehow. In my circumstance, the release usually manifested itself as explosive anger. The kind that seemed to shock those spending time in my world. As the happy face was so often plastered on for those around to see. While inside, an aching heart was building up with frustrating emotions. Those emotions of frustration could rarely be articulated without anger accompanying them. Because, they felt as though they couldn’t be understood once voiced. My mind had decided that unless someone had cerebral palsy like me, they couldn’t understand. Furthermore, it didn’t make sense that someone would want to understand the situations in my life. I was placing so much effort into being like others who were typically developed. Trying to eradicate my cerebral palsy with strength, feeling like CP was the problem in my life. If I simply gave more effort, cerebral palsy would surely go away. But, continuously finding myself angry with the clear fact, it wasn’t going to happen. The failure to execute only breeding more frustration leading into anger. The never-ending cycle was turning into a tormenting aspect of my life.

The blame over cerebral palsy was self-inflicted. Each time the body didn’t execute a physical movement to my standards, the internal voice would speak. The internal dialogue letting me know of my failures. Thinking with more concentration the hand would not have trembled. Meaning the liquid inside a glass wouldn’t have spilled and become wasteful. The thought running through my head over lacking strength in my arm and hand for stability. With the added strength, the liquid would have remained inside the glass. Brushing my teeth was another example of self-blame. Taking place each morning and evening while attempting to raise the brush to my mouth. About three-fourth of the way toward my mouth a tremble would often take place. The result of which was my loaded brush contacting my lower-lip, or my chin, instead of resting against my teeth. At which point, the negative sounds could be heard inside my head. Letting me know about the failure occurring while simply trying to brush my teeth. Sometimes the sound echoing louder when the loaded paste landed on my chin or lip. Forcing the same process of loading my toothbrush for another inconsistent journey. Always feeling if there was more strength or concentration, the exercise would be seamless. Therefore, turning the impact of cerebral palsy into my fault.

It has become the blessing and the curse of life with the disability. Cerebral palsy doesn’t seem to be getting worse over time. Unless left alone to allow the aging process to have seemingly more severe impact on the body. However, with continuous movement strength seems to be added. Staving off the impact of muscles continuing to remain tight day after day. The movement and exercise has been good for cerebral palsy improvement. As a result, my body doesn’t remain in the tightened state it would be without movement. Positive as the impact might be, the exercise put into remaining healthy and helping CP won’t be the cure. There won’t be effort strong enough to keep my arms from becoming spastic at uncertain times. This concept not allowing itself to be accepted inside my emotions. Logic can tell me over and over again cerebral palsy won’t be going anywhere. Unless of course we have a medical breakthrough somewhere in the world. Even so, people close to me haven’t been listened too. Through my denial, the emotions of frustration and anger around cerebral palsy have become almost drug like. Without the words coming out of my mouth, thoughts of beating cerebral palsy remain. My symptoms mild to the point, where getting past it has felt achievable. The trouble with this thought pattern remains the irrationality of the belief. Leading to an inability to genuinely accept myself. Which takes us directly into the destructive grips of frustration and anger. Blaming myself for things beyond my control.

Clinging to thoughts of irrationality seems to be one of my struggles. While researching anger during my search for healing something has been striking. The idea of distorted reasons for being angry. In articulating the view through my perception, it seems like experiencing irrational anger. Anger without cause in something truly rational. Rather feeling angry about a concept taking on meaning inside the mind. My example of feeling as though cerebral palsy could disappear if more effort were given to strengthening the body. The thought becomes irrational because it has no merit in reality. It would seem research into cerebral palsy has shown forms of therapy help improvement, but are unable to completely heal the impact. For example, the disability does seem to have the ability to improve through added strength and mobility. But, through experiencing the improvement my beliefs can stretch too far. Thinking the improvement would continue until the disability disappeared from my life. The false sense of working out until the disability disappears seems to be a root of anger. That singular belief being given the ability to lead me down countless destructive roads. While also turning simple observations from others into negative thoughts inside my mind. They all seem to continue feeding this irrational belief that effort and better concentration can make cerebral palsy disappear. Until the fact became pointed out to me that this anger hasn’t been my fault.

The feelings of isolation could also contribute to feelings of frustration. Irrationally thinking of myself as the only person dealing with the situation. Having grown up without much exposure to others experiencing CP. It was relatively easy to feel like the only person dealing with the bullying that sometimes accompanies disability. Another factor causing desperation when wishing cerebral palsy could disappear. Convincing myself life would be much better if improvement could continue. If improvement could take place until cerebral palsy was completely healed. The irrational belief turned into a singular, maybe even obsessive thought pattern. Because it was my fault the disability remained impactful in my life. The inwardly focus deteriorating into an almost destructive form of selfishness. Becoming unable to consider another point of view around my disability. Thinking cerebral palsy was mine and therefore only for me to understand. As we move back to anger playing some sort of addictive role in my life. The bubble created, helping lead to the buildup of anger, resulting in the explosion of rage, needed protection. In order to achieve the craved explosion, listening to reason of people who cared couldn’t be tolerated. The selfish need for my irrational thoughts of cerebral palsy took precedent over everything.  It was all my fault, I was alone, and you couldn’t tell me any different. Until one day you could.

There has been a familiar thought pattern heard time and again in my life. People won’t be ready to hear something until they are ready to listen. The protection of an irrational thought pattern can become powerful. Denial of the truth takes the kind of grip that removes any air for the truth to breath. For me, the irrational thinking around cerebral palsy had taken such a grip, the thoughts had become completely rational in my mind. Used to push people away, feeling their views around the subject were irrational. But, following one recent explosion of anger, I was ready to listen. Having no idea this would be the time when words would hit my core. The first statement I remember giving pause to was being told this wasn’t me, this wasn’t who I was. These explosions of anger had defined my perceptions of myself. For years, they represented who this person was, making me unworthy of love. Especially the love of those inside my life I respected. Because if I couldn’t work hard enough to heal cerebral palsy, I wasn’t worthy of love and respect. Never thinking this entire idea, which had become so intrinsic to my emotional makeup, was irrational. The next thing I heard was, the anger wasn’t my fault. Whatever was triggering the explosions wasn’t something I had done wrong. They were emotions being experienced, which I wouldn’t have given to myself. The very core of what was going on, wasn’t produced by myself. The actions coming out of those emotions were my responsibility. But, the reasons for them taking place didn’t belong on my plate. Cerebral palsy wasn’t something I had given myself, I couldn’t cure my symptoms no matter how hard I tried. Having cerebral palsy wasn’t my fault.

Changing the years of irrational thought patterns wouldn’t present as easy. Over the last couple of weeks, my thoughts have been listened to more carefully. While understanding how much blame was being inflicted upon myself. The short time has taught me; the belittling talk happened more than first imagined. It seems each time some physically task went sideways a negative thought came to the surface. Each time there would be a simple spasm in one of my muscles, blame would descend. This very moment becomes an example, as it involves typing with keyboarding skills which have been slowed due to the disability. Somewhere inside my mind frustration bubbles because the thought won’t convert to words on the screen more quickly. All these small emotional reactions happening throughout the day resulting in an upset individual. The difference being, since that day a couple weeks ago, there has been a small plan. When some physical task has been hampered by cerebral palsy, which can be felt many times during the day. The goal has manifested itself into reminding me those fumbles aren’t my fault. Really, when something like shaking or experiencing a spasm happens, the responsibility doesn’t fall on me either. They occur because of a brain injury taking place during birth. One that if given the choice, I probably would have passed up. However, today CP continues the role of making me a better person.

Experiencing the emotions of frustration and anger hasn’t been fun. It has been challenging to understand when all of these destructive emotions began. Though it would appear somewhere around the middle school time frame. When the feeling of being different from others was starting to take shape. The anger appearing in reactions of running away from home and away from school. Being upset most of the time because there didn’t seem a place of security. The emotions continued to be stuffed away, while life grew with challenges. Most everything being blamed on cerebral palsy taking away abilities. Attempting to find ways of denying the role of my disability inside my life. Thinking if cerebral palsy were ignored, the impact wouldn’t be so great. Getting stronger was ultimately going to solve my struggles with my disability. Eventually people wouldn’t be able to notice the impact of CP. So, when the thoughts didn’t come to fruition with age, guess who was at fault. The frustration and anger were a constant because I couldn’t work hard enough for cerebral palsy to disappear. My disability wasn’t complicating my life, my emotions about cerebral palsy were. Until the words finally seemed to hit home. The continued impact of cerebral palsy wasn’t my fault. Like anything else, distorted frustration and anger doesn’t disappear overnight. It will take time and effort to change my thought patterns about my disability. Time to heal the self-blame accompanying each uncontrolled movement. Hopefully with time, true healing and improved self-worth can be found.










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