When it comes to living a normal life, some have to work harder than others. Does this mean that their quality of life is reduced because of problems they have to deal with? Not always. Some may struggle with disability, mental illness, and challenges that really are significant, but through those trials have the personal strength necessary to make the most of things. It’s when life is most tough that you become more grateful for the little victories. More people need to learn that.

However, sometimes it can be hard to describe to others the issues you are having, or the problems you would rather avoid. It can be debilitating and no uncertain amount of tiring to have to dance this dance with people, as not every will be understanding or ‘okay’ with handling your needs, particularly as you try and move into the dating scene, or need certain concessions in public settings.

Of course, that says more about them than it does about you. Being able to confidently express your needs is essential. Here’s how you can do that:

Keep It Digestible

It sounds tough, but keeping your condition and requirements explainable in a digestible manner is important. We’re not suggesting that you deserve anything less than full attention of course, only that people often only have so much time or patience to spare in order to make concessions. This is why, for instance, some people carry around jewellery with paper in it explaining the conditions someone might live with and what needs to be done in an emergency. Keeping your explanation well-rehearsed, using simple, actionable phrases can be important, and will help someone understand you more easily, and with more respect.

Be Unapologetic

There’s no need to be ashamed about who you are. If this is what you need, this is what you need. End of story. Anyone wishing to disregard you for having excess medical needs is not someone you need to waste your time with, and there’s no reason to apologize for these concessions you ask for. For instance, catheters are essential pieces of equipment for many, and it no way defines you as a person. In fact, being appropriately cared for shows you your strength and willingness to live as strongly as you can. A warm thank you is another story, but don’t let people treat you as lesser simply because you need to use the disabled lift to go up a floor, or if you need to ask staff to bring out the ramp for wheelchair access.

Know Your Rights

It’s important to know your rights as someone who lives with a disability or medical requirement. For instance, most public businesses are supposed to grant you facilities with accessible disability functionality. If this is not provided, or they aren’t working, it could be that taking things further could be a worthwhile means of ensuring future visitors have this offered to them. It’s also worthwhile to know your rights in regards to allowing others to administer help if you need it most. For instance, wearing a locket with emergency information on it is a regular method used by those with extra medical needs. From disabled parking to access to trained first aiding staff, knowing your rights can help you understand what provisions you should be afforded. Ask your doctor for advice relating to your specific condition.

With this advice, we hope you can confidently help others understand your medical needs.