Working toward mental health 63
Women with disabilities around
the world are redefining who we
are and supporting each other.
We are pretty and proud as we
are. We are beautiful.
Learning to value yourself and develop self-esteem
is a process that starts when you are growing up
and continues the rest of your life. But even if you
were not valued as a child, or were overprotected,
or did not get a chance to develop confidence or
learn how to do things yourself, you do not have
to live that way as an adult. You can value and
respect yourself, and be seen for who you are—
after all, your experience has taught you to adapt
and work with your disability.
With help and support from
her friends and family, a
woman who suddenly becomes
disabled can learn to cope with
her disability. She can learn to
do things differently, in a way
that works with her disability. But
she does not have to change how she
values and respects herself just because
her body or mind has changed.
Ung Yok Khoan is amazing.
She was a great teacher
before the land mine blew
her leg off. And she’s still a
Dr. Annie is a medical doctor as well as a wife and
mother. She became deaf due to an illness and
suddenly found herself disabled because of her loss of
hearing. As she entered the world of the disabled, she
experienced the loneliness that many disabled women
feel. Dr. Annie knew she could either give up her old
way of life or make choices that would enable her to
live as normal a life as possible. She learned to read
lips and to communicate by writing when others could
not understand her. Dr. Annie’s dignity and courage in the face of much
personal loss and suffering have been a positive example to many.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007