By Theresa Summerfield

I don’t know who put this on my windscreen, but I sincerely hope this post reaches you.

Yes, I am young (27) and a woman (well spotted, Sherlock!). But I am not as healthy as you may think. I have Crohn’s Disease, which is debilitating. I also have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). This means that on top of my belly giving me vile cramps and pains, my joints dislocate frequently. When I say frequently, I mean literally every day. I can dislocate my fingers, thumbs, and wrists when washing up. I can dislocate my shoulder when I comb my hair. I can dislodge a rib simply by coughing. I can dislocate my hips, knees, or ankles by walking too much. I can dislocate literally any of my joints for the silliest of reasons. Yet, here I am trying to get on with my life. Sometimes I need crutches, sometimes a wheelchair. Mostly, I try to do without. As you pointed out, I’m young. I want to live.

I refuse to let my conditions define me.

I have recently gained a First Class Honours Degree and am now studying for a fully-funded PhD (they’re not easy to come by). I use disabled parking bays with MY blue badge because I NEED to. I may be able to walk into my office, or a shop. But I never know what’s going to dislocate next. I don’t know if it will take me an hour to walk a few hundred yards to my car because, yet again, something’s popped out.

So next time you want to call someone “vile”, I suggest you take a good long look in a mirror, where you will surely see a vile person. I am not particularly angry with you. I pity you for your obvious ignorance and intolerance of others.

I sincerely hope you never become disabled, because, unlike you, I wouldn’t wish this on anybody.

Now, I’m going back to my life. A life filled with love and support, but also dedication, passion, and ambition. You will always be ignorant, but I will be a success.

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