We like labels.
Labels help us to understand individuals. They help us to understand ourselves, to get the help we need and are instrumental in getting the accommodations needed for school or life. Labels can be a good thing, but we often go a step too far.
Labels are only post it notes, they help us to understand our differences but they don't, and should never be expected to, define us.
I experience food allergies and chronic digestive symptoms. I am not my symptoms, nor my restrictions.
However, I find that I feel like I am of less value to society because of my unique situation. And, as I talk to others in similar situations, I discover that they also feel inferior due to their restrictions. Inexplicably, we also at times feel like martyrs because despite our symptoms life must go on. So we shower, take whatever symptom limiting medication we can tolerate, and put on our masks. Public faces, with forced smiles (carefully practiced to appear natural), and borrowed energy. We box up our symptoms the best that we can and pretend to be normal.
Until we can't.
And then we need to own up to our symptoms, our labels. And then we become filed away under "potential liability," or "weird" or "crazy".
We can't access the world in the same way as others. And our labels can either enable or entrap us. Ironic isn't it?