Respect 

Everyone has their own way of dealing with things- to be cliche, everyone walks their own path, and are at different points in that journey. I tell myself that everyone has issues and their own personal deals and difficulties, and my lupus isn’t special and doesn’t really make me that different. I don’t need support groups and I don’t cash in on extra resources (to the immense and ongoing frustration of my mother). I believe there’s a certain strength to my resolve, to my perspective, and it means I get slightly uncomfortable when people want to talk about my issues like it makes me different. And, for a long time, I held other people up to my same gruff, immovable “walk it off” emotional standard.

It was wrong of me to do that, and my teaching classes have really helped me appreciate other perspectives in general. People handle challenges and emotional roadblocks in different ways- of course they do! People are different, and that’s beautiful! So don’t be a jerk just because you feel someone is being too flamboyant about their disability, or too stoic. Don’t try to talk them into your view.

This is a basic idea we’re taught as children, but it becomes especially relevant when the conflict is close to us, and- whether you’re open about it or not- a physical or mental disability is usually a sensitive area. So try not to judge how other people handle theirs.

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