It’s a really good question.
I’ve had various injuries that got me a temporary disabled parking pass at work, but I was good and returned it when I didn’t need it.
It’s very context dependent.
Our college has good accomodation for disabilities and I tell my classes to use anything they can rather than have reduced performance because your body is giving you trouble. I wiggle my arthritic hands and say that if I ever needed to write an in class essay exam again I would absolutely have to apply to Student Services for disability status to write it on a computer because my hands would seize up. I don’t even do that good signing a year’s worth of rent cheques in December.
But I have no problem with mobility. And I’m not disabled in any clear way. But if I were to be a student again I would need accomodation for me hands on inclass essay exams for sure
I do have some post chemo cognitive stuff that is improving, so I’m not invested in considering that a permanent disability.
So it’s situational. Is your issue temporary and likely to improve (my chemo brain, my broken foot years ago), is it permanent (my hands), or is it permanent and progressive (maybe my hands too)? Then is it affecting your daily life or work or school? Then, can you get a DX that actually supports your claim with the relevant authorities? It was easy to get a parking pass at work just pointing at my limp. I would imagine student services would be fine with a doctor’s note on my hands. But my extended medical has made it clear they Do Not Want to Know about my lingering chemo brain and are going to make it nearly impossible to pursue a long term disability settlement (which I don’t want. I want to recover).
So, what’s at stake in the claim, and will you be able to support your claim?
My gnarly hands haven’t changed my self image much, but 100 per cent not considering ever wearing nail polish :). My wifty brain is something I’m trying to help heal so I don’t consider it permanent yet.
I don’t think it’s useful to think of yourself as “disabled” as a category. It’s more a question of what your current function is, more descriptive than definitional. How has your functionality changed? And in any given situation what do you need to do to prove your loss of function to the entity that is asking?