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Over time and distance, the equal rights of women have progressed. We celebrate the achievements of women while remaining vigilant and tenacious for further sustainable change. There is global momentum for championing women’s equality.

What is this equality? Apparently we haven’t reached it yet, or we wouldn’t still be in championing for it. Well, there’s a case of equality that needs to be addressed within the world of women. It has been made abundantly clear to me, in recent days for those having, as some would say, “letters and numbers after their name”, meaning a medical diagnosis of some kind, are not given a fair chance to even have a fair say in their lives. Just like the suffragettes were fighting because they had no voice in terms of the right to vote, so too am I fighting to have a fair voice when it comes to having a say my own life.

Hi, I’m “296., DID, PTSD” more commonly referred to as Bipolar Type I, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but you can call me Alice. It’s what I call myself. I’m in my mid-twenties, and carry a genetic disorder that I myself suffer from as well. You wouldn’t know that I carry this genetic disorder, or that I’m Bipolar if you just saw me walking down the street. No, you might notice that I’m blonde, something of a klutz, and wear glasses, but that’s about it. It isn’t until you get me behind closed doors that you know there’s anything “wrong” with me.

Normally, I shrug off the “296.7”, the letters, and deal with the disorder to the best of my limited ability, but today, that wasn’t possible. I just came from a meeting with one of the people in the medical profession, who I truly believed to be understanding, despite them giving me my number. They were only trying to help me after all, and I know that. They did “Level Up” my diagnosis from Bipolar NOS (Not Otherwise Specified) to Type I today, but other than that, I though all was well.

Wrong.

See, I’m having surgery later this month to have some dermoid ovarian cysts removed. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and, since I’m of legal age and know my mind and options, I chose to get a tubal ligation at the same time. I knew I had the full backing of my family on my decision to sterilize, as my mother was my ride and was in the office when I signed the consent forms. She was the one that I suggested that I could get a letter saying that this was medically appropriate from the psychiatrist.

So, today I went in to talk to my psychiatrist, as they had requested a meeting to discuss this. I’ll spare you most of the conversation, it doesn’t improve on repeating. The point I’m trying to get to came down to just a few lines: “You’re not old enough.”

Beg pardon? No, you’re right that’s not what they said exactly. It was worse. “You’re not old enough. I know you’re ‘old enough’ for [everyone else to be reliable], but, you’re not old enough.” The gist of it was, that in, oh say, 10 years or so, I might be magically ~cured~, stabilized, or whatever, with my Bipolar, and suddenly want to reproduce.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for procreation. But there’s a time, a place, and most importantly, a person to do that. I am not such a person. But tell me, why should I want to reproduce? To pass on to an innocent the genetic condition which I inherited, and which has made my life a living hell? My childhood was a medical nightmare and now I’m physically disabled.

Why would I want to give that kind of life prospect to another? It would take a Sadist, truly. But yet, no, I’m “not old enough” to know my mind. Thus tomorrow I have been told to call my gynecological surgeon’s office and see if there’s a “less permanent solution” than a tubal ligation.

Frankly, the idea of it doesn’t life my spirits, it depresses the hell out of me. To be summarily dismissed from knowing my own mind, despite twenty-odd years of holding the knowledge that I never wanted to have a child is as insulting to me and my freedom and liberty over my body as the denial of the right to vote was to the suffragettes.

So how do I fight for equality? Do I disregard the direction of a trusted psychiatrist who I had thought had my back, thus breaking the Doctor-Patient relationship I’ve worked so hard to achieve? Do I disregard my own wishes and desires? Do I search for a path of Moderation, which I cannot fathom what it would be?

Hi, my name is Alice, my number is 296.7, my letters are DID, PTSD, and I’m “not old enough” to know my own mind.

Who are you?

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