How Studying Psychology Has Helped Me Cope With My Disability

By: E.R

Throughout my life so far, I have always had a certain fascination with how people think and feel. From a young age I have been quite sensitive to how people are feeling and hold great empathy towards individuals from all walks of life. This may be related to how my story began in the first place.

On August 6th 1992, I was born with quite severe breathing difficulties. This meant that I developed the disability known as Cerebral Palsy. While the spectrum of symptoms associated with CP is rather vast, I am quite lucky in the sense that I am wheelchair-bound, but I have never developed any learning difficulties. I feel immensely grateful for this, because (aside from headbanging along to music in my room) learning has always been an important aspect of my life which keeps me connected to the world around me.

I have always been particularly interested in how people think and behave in certain situations. One of my favourite activities is to observe how people interact with each other in their day-to-day lives as the walking down the street. From how somebody walks to how they portray their body language, you can almost glimpse into a person’s world for a split-second.

Therefore, it was very exciting when I got the chance to study psychology at Intermediate 2 level at secondary school. From there, I progressed to Higher level, and eventually allowing myself the chance to study this subject more closely in both college and university. At this moment in time, I have a bachelor’s degree in Applied Social Sciences and a postgraduate certificate in Person Centred Counselling.

While I am very proud of my academic achievements, I must say that I am most honoured by how this topic of study has aided me in my personal life. During my teenage years and early 20s, I had very low self-esteem, and at times, absolutely loathed myself and the fact I was in a wheelchair. By immersing myself in many different aspects of psychology and undergoing periods of counselling, I began to gain an appreciation for how everybody struggles with something in their lives, and that I shouldn’t be so critical of myself and my disability.

From that point on, my empathy and compassion for other people as only gotten stronger and I really want to help people in any way that I can. All those people I see on the street, they all have a story to tell. Sadly, though, not everybody is readily available to listen, appreciate and honour those stories in the way they should be. This is why I would very much like to become a counsellor, so that I can perhaps ease someone’s worries and make them feel better – even if it is just for a short period of time.

Overall, I feel like I would not have been able to progress and develop so readily through the hard times of my disability, without the knowledge and insight I have gained through studying psychology.

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