Isolation

‘Penny is nonverbal, but please don’t make her a prop. She is not your ‘disabled best friend.’: Dad touched after stranger’s rare ‘act of empathy’ for daughter with Aicardi syndrome, ‘the world needs more people like her’

“I’ve experienced too many instances of people taking selfies with Penny and posting them all over social media. Penny is not your ‘Disabled Best Friend,’ or a chapter in your Facebook Story. Please don’t exploit a non-existent relationship with a disabled child in a wheelchair to demonstrate to your friends and family how wonderful you are. She just wants to belong.”

‘You will never become anything,’ my doctor said. I was going stone-cold deaf. ‘What now?’: Woman loses hearing to infection, vows ‘deafness will not define me’

“As a young girl, there were signs. I literally danced to my own beat, mispronounced words. I spent years humiliated, called to stand up in front of classmates and speak the language I couldn’t hear. On one test in particular, I completely bombed the oral exam, tears streaming down. ‘I thought you didn’t want to be labeled as different,’ my teacher said. That was the final straw.”

‘When’s the baby coming?’ My face turns red in Starbucks. I’m not pregnant, and I’ve been struggling to be.’: Woman battling infertility reminds us ‘words have weight,’ vows to ‘never give up’

“I manage a smile and lie. ‘Soon.’ I rush out the door, no coffee in hand, and cry in my jeep. Those extra 40 pounds are grief weight. My body starts to feel like a cruel joke. ‘When are you having kids?’ ‘Have kids already!’ ‘I’m ready to be a grandma. The clock is ticking!’ they say. But when I stillbirth? No questions. No words. Just silence. My husband battles silent resent. There’s no baby, so there’s no marriage. These weren’t the vows I signed up for.”

‘He proposed in a big, elaborate way in front of my family. I was terrified. I didn’t know how or when, but I knew my life was over. I had to make my move.’: Woman escapes after decade-long abuse

“From the outside, our relationship looked perfect. We were a good-looking couple, young and vibrant. We had a wonderful social circle, luxurious vacations. No one knew I was being trained to accept abuse so horrible my hair would fall out – literally. I didn’t recognize the red flags waving right in front of my face.”

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