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Living with a disability simply means having different abilities, you lead the life you want

Being different giving you troubles?

Living with a disability can throw up all sorts of challenges on a daily basis, on top of the usual struggles of being a young person learning about life.

Everyone feels down, distressed or like they don’t fit in sometimes. But if you’ve been feeling this way for ages it could be a red flag for something more serious like depression or anxiety. 

If your disability happened later in life (as in you weren’t born with it) you may feel really miserable about not being able to do everything you used to. Living with a disability can cause issues that impact your mental health. Because of your disability, you may look or act differently than people around you. You might feel like you don’t fit in or get left out, taken advantage of, or get bullied.

Having a disability can also get at your self-esteem if it limits you from doing stuff you want (like playing sport or working), or if it makes you dependent on someone else for help. And if they’re not there to help or there are any delays or interruptions to the support you need, it can create anxiety.

If you have an ‘invisible’ disability (that is, a disability with no ‘obvious’ signs, like epilepsy) you’ll face different experiences and different challenges to people with more obvious disabilities. Because others won’t be aware of your needs and challenges, it can be hard for them to understand the struggles you might be facing on the inside.

Aunty Dee’s tips

  • You are unique - you don’t have to be the same as everyone else

After all, no two people are the same. You can lead the life you want. It helps to get the support of a trusted person who understands you (your school might have a specialist disability unit - they are there to help). Read my advice on the importance of talking and connecting.

  • Connect with your local church

Inclusive churches can play a positive role in connecting and supporting people with disabilities’ wellbeing. Be inspired and download Le Va’s #WeAreChurch posters and resources. 

  • If you’re feeling down

Read my advice on depressionanxiety and being bullied. If you need to talk to someone, visit our helpline page for a list of free services.

  • Know your rights and how and where to get services and support

Download Le Va’s directory of general information, services and community support available for people who have a disability and their families. Your Guide to Disability Support Services is available in English, Samoan, Cook Islands, Tongan, Fijian, Niuean and Tokelauan languages.

  • Know your rights

Visit the Office for Disability Issues website for information and resources about your rights.