Stephanie Leonard

Fitting In

Sometimes I compare myself to others

I’m not married

I’m not good enough

I’m not durable 

I’ll never have children or my own family

She has Down syndrome

People say she isn’t smart enough

and has disabilities 

She is not on their level

I’m here to tell you she is smart and compassionate she is more than a person you could ever be she has more humility and compassion than people her age she has the biggest heart and helps people every day she is on everyone’s level you just don’t recognize it, don’t limit her….

{{He is a drug addict he drinks bottle after bottle an alcoholic he hurts his loved ones he makes his wife cry and makes her sad he’s broken every bridge in life his wife is on the verge of divorce he hit rock bottom because of the disease … Get over it you say stop drinking stop doing it get over it you do not realize his drinking and alcohol is how he copes with PTSD and his mental illness and that it is a disease you can’t make excuses for his actions you are free to leave but realize you can’t change him he has to want it for himself…. So, judge because understand the disease….}}

She is not pretty She has black eyes every day and bruises all over her arm She hardly eats and battles anorexia She constantly thinks She is not enough She has too many scars and pain and you think that makes her flawed… you just think She is damaged and broken

Don’t judge her because She been emotionally abused and dealt with domestic abuse by her lover she’s so beautiful behind her bruises but you don’t realize her worth and what She deserves now She is silently suffering behind closed doors you can tell She is good enough and She deserves better you slip the number to a self-help line for domestic abuse you shouldn’t judge She has nowhere to turn you just might save her life so don’t judge her rather suggest She sees a professional to help her don’t judge people for battles that you have not faced

Can sick be pretty if I’m sick on the inside can I be pretty on the outside can mental be beautiful is mental illness a disease a birth effect no it’s a strength it empowers people to have more empathy because they have faced hard battles on the inside that make them more kind and compassionate nobody is mental it is just a chemical imbalance something your brain lacks or doesn’t produce so who is society to call you crazy when you’re just like everyone facing your own demons and hardships if you miss your meds it’s like missing your insulin shot so why can’t this world recognize mental health is a national crisis in the world and a national pandemic it should be treated like any other illness, so don’t stigmatize me….

Am I limited because of my immobility and stuck in a chair does it make me less of a person if I’m not able to walk, but you see her dance, can She dance with broken legs, yes She can dance like a ballerina She also act and sing She is talented you should see her in her chair She can move like the wind with her soft gliding of her wheels spinning and boundaries shattering and breaking down your judgement door She is more than a whole person than anybody has She is more than just a person with a physical handicap She is strong and powerful don’t define her just because She is in a chair…

Sometimes I feel like a goldfish out of water and my tank is too small swimming in circle after circle

The bubbles rise above my head I don’t swim  I’m going to drown I feel like I’m going to puke I feel as high as a kite even though I have never done drugs or touched a substance in my life, the back of my cranium is pulsating I swear it’s just a matter of time before my brain feels like it is going to implode ..

Madness and sadness, and depression bobble like children’s laughter in midnight horrors in my brain at 3 am, I can’t close my eyes the voices keep laughing I keep thinking about the past and the future. I’m 32 and I’m afraid of midnight and the dark hours of being alone I’m afraid of the noises the scratches the goblins and demons that come alive in the dark, 32 and I’m afraid to be home by myself 32 and I still sleep with my glasses on at night because I’m afraid what lies in the dark, and I’m afraid to be alone I’m isolated I don’t have a significant other no one to talk to no friends at all to call… Wear a mask corona has brought the worst out and so has my mental illness 32 and I’m all by myself 32 and I feel so lonely and no one to call my friend 32 and my home feels like a prison because corona my thoughts are out control because I stay locked in the house for days and days… 

Sometimes my anxiety makes me wind up like a jack in the box don’t judge me because of panic attacks and anxiety attacks they are real to me they are not fake they exist for me they are real… Don’t compare yourself to others you are beautiful there’s nothing wrong with who you are, some people’s stories are harder than others some people suffer more than others, but we all have inner strengths and people who love us

Everybody has their own unique journey in life never give up on yourself you make a difference in this world never compare yourself to others your journey is not over yet you’re perfect in your own way…

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About the Author

Stephanie Leonard started doing art and writing when she was 12; she is now 32. She has been featured in the Telegram and Gazette blog, Spencer News Leader (her college newspaper), and in Our USA Magazine. The writer struggles with Mental Illness, a Brain Injury, OCD, and a Nonverbal Learning Disability. She doesn’t allow her disabilities to limit her, but uses them to overcome obstacles people think she wasn’t capable of addressing. She is a college graduate, a good aunt, an advocate, and a writer for people with disabilities and mental illnesses.