A Letter From Hannah
In the past few months, I’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received with Chronically Capable. A year ago today, I would have laughed if someone told me I’d be telling the world about my fight with Lyme disease. Yet, here I am, practicing the art of vulnerability every single day, sharing my story and my mission.
I’ve had strangers write to me from across the globe, I’ve had estranged friends reach out to me via social media, and I’ve had thousands of people express their support for Chronically Capable. In the spirit of the holidays, I can’t help but feel grateful for the overwhelming encouragement I am receiving.
Fighting my relapse of Lyme, while working with my team to start a new company, I haven’t had much time to sit and reflect on the people in my life. I want to take a moment to express my gratitude to those who love me, whether that be in the context of romance, friendship, or family.
I want to thank each and every one of you for not giving up on me.
Thank you for believing me, even when some of the top doctors in the country didn’t.
Thank you for bringing me to tears of laughter when all I want to do is shed tears of frustration.
Thank you for checking in on me, even though I sometimes let texts sit in my inbox for weeks…
Thank you for reminding me that I am worthy. When a disease strips you of your sense of self, it’s hard to remember this simple fact. Thanks for pointing this out and not letting me forget it.
Thank you for continuing to treat me like a normal 22 year old.
Thank you for telling me to keep fighting, even when quitting sometimes sounds easier.
Thank you for understanding when I cancel plans and not taking it personally. I’m just freakin’ tired sometimes, so thanks for understanding that.
Thank you for listening to my rants, to my ideas, to my struggles, to my desperation, and most importantly, to my bad jokes.
Thank you for being there, whether physically or remotely, thank you for always answering the phone and never letting me fight this battle alone.
Thank you for loving me, even though I can be hard to love. I love you back.
I wouldn’t be here today without each and every one of you. Thank you for making this all worth it, and for sticking by my side as I continue to fight the fight of my life. Cheers to you and Happy Holidays.
NDEAM celebrates both the past and present contributions of workers with disabilities in America. Importantly, NDEAM serves as a mechanism through which supportive and inclusive employment practices and policies for all workers, especially those who have a disability(s) can be showcased, advocated for, and encouraged.
Growing up with an invisible disability has taught me that there are some people who are ignorant, unaware they are exhibiting audist behaviors. It’s because the hearing person has never met a deaf person before and will try to walk away because they don’t know how to interact with them. People who don’t feel comfortable have a tendency to get away from something so they don’t have to deal with it. That can be frustrating for deaf people.
Empathy is something that I believe is truly lacking in today’s society. “It’s gotten harder to empathize; that’s why it’s so important we work at it. Luckily, we can.” says Jamil Zaki in this UC Berkley article, 'In a Divided World, We Need to Choose Empathy'. The article discusses the hard truths surrounding empathy, supported by real-life examples and proven facts about how it can help us all.
I will never forget November 19th, 2019. My new rheumatologist broke the news this way: “I bet you have been told your entire life that your weight was the cause of your back pain. I want you to know it wasn’t, although weight loss can certainly help. We see the damage, and you were right - you have Ankylosing Spondylitis.”
As the weather heats up and we feel the urge to travel, I want to share some tips that have helped me keep my anxiety at bay while away from home. Many mental health illnesses flare up when we are away from home because we are naturally out of our comfort zone.
Existing as a disabled woman in the workplace, we face any number of barriers to getting our jobs done but none more painful and avoidable than the ignorance of our peers.
I knew I was an actor before I knew I was Autistic. I started acting at 11 years old, but I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 22.
There are many misconceptions about the lives of those of us who live with CP. I hope to help someone who may be living, loving, or just learning about Cerebral Palsy.
While many of us know the benefits of closed captions, many Zoom users still have not enabled closed captions. While this used to only be offer to 'paid' Zoom accounts, the company announced earlier this year that closed captions would be available to all Zoom users, regardless of plan type.