by Glenna Gillilan
I was born with two disabilities - - cerebral palsy which affects my speech and balance, and scoliosis which affects my balance and gives me some lower back pain as well as affected me with arthritis at a young age.
I don't really remember being teased or bullied because of my disabilities when I was younger; most of the mean comments came as I aged, comments about my speech and the way I walk.
I was also diagnosed with depression when I was 16 and with bipolar disorder when I was in my 20s. In a way, being diagnosed with a mental illness was harder on me than being physically disabled - - there is such a stigma surrounding any sort of mental illness. My mother was schizophrenic, which meant that I had to be crazy, too (and being told by my own father that I was didn't help any)...
It took me years to accept that I'm mentally ill, just like millions of others. God has been with me, as have many friends. One such friend is Justin Hancock, whom I met through the steward at Bonhoeffer House, an Epworth community in Old East Dallas. I started going to community meals at Cochran House, and Justin told me about his ministry to the disabled, The Julian Way. At the first Julian Way dinner I attended in October, he told me about the Julian360 blog that he and Stephen were starting, and I offered to be a contributor to it.
I very much look forward to journeying with others in the disabled community, sharing our stories and experiences. May God continue to bless us and use us to do his work.