A Product of Disability Access: Empowering Tribal Members with Disabilities & Their Families
by Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc.
Things were not always perfect. If my father started seeing a different therapist, was placed in a facility he did not approve of, or changed medications, I wouldn’t see him sometimes for months on end. Because of this, I had to grow up a little faster than the other teenagers my age. While my friends complained of unfair curfews, I thought, well at least you have a father around who can discipline you. When they whined about having parents around and yearned to move out, I would wryly recall my last visit to see my father, seeing the mental state of his housemates and being afraid for his safety.
Believe it or not, I am grateful for the experience of having a parent with a disability. I grew up less sheltered than my other friends and appreciated my parents a lot more while I was growing up. I appreciated my father’s efforts to keep in touch and grew to know him as a person rather than a father. I developed an amazing relationship with my mother, since it was just the two of us for the majority of my childhood. I am proud of myself and of him for trying so hard to keep a positive relationship with each other. We developed a unique relationship where we became friends rather than ‘father and daughter”. His disability ended up giving us a chance to get to know each other on a more personal level. He could not discipline me, or give me advice on friends and school. Instead, we shared a deep friendship that I will never regret, or forget. It was hard though, and sometimes I wish I had taken the advice of others around me to seek therapy. I am starting to notice that as I grow into a woman, my past with my father is starting to catch up with me.
|:||A Parent with a Disability||:||More of Jessica's Story||:||Perspective in Adulthood|
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