From an early age, Lindsey had to learn to be independent. That’s not an easy process, especially for someone with her physical challenges.
Since birth, Lindsey has been both hearing and visually impaired. She is deaf and blind on her right side and has partial deafness and blindness on her left.
Adding to her challenges, she didn’t feel supported at home.
“I was in an unhappy environment at home. My parents didn’t know how to deal with a child who had disabilities,” Lindsey said. “I was made to feel like didn’t have any worth. I lived in an environment where I was told I didn’t matter.”
Frustrated with her behavior, a parent brought Lindsey to the Bert Nash Center.
That’s where she found people who were on her side. She was in middle school at the time.
“I felt like I was crazy because I was always told I was the problem,” Lindsey said. “For so many years, I hated myself.”
Lindsey has been receiving services at the Bert Nash Center off and on for 13 years. She’s 28 now.
“Bert Nash has helped me a lot,” Lindsey said. “I gained a new team.”
In her blended home, Lindsey dealt with dysfunctionality. She took on a parenting-like role with her two younger half-siblings.
“I was a student, a secondary parent, and I had to become my own advocate,” Lindsey said.
All the while becoming more independent, she graduated from high school early, moved to Missouri and started college.
When she was in her 20s, Lindsey moved to Florida and found another team with Mary Kay Cosmetics. She’s been a consultant for nine years. Lindsey had a mentor at Mary Kay who helped her to believe in herself.
“She believed in me,” Lindsey said. “She said I needed to stop hating myself and start loving myself.”
When people have doubted her, Lindsey has made a habit of proving them wrong.
“I hate the word disability because it has a negative connotation,” she said. “I’m just a unique person. I’ve had people tell me, ‘I didn’t think people with disabilities could do anything until I met you.’”
After Lindsey moved back to Kansas, she hit a low point. She felt depressed and suicidal. A family member even suggested she go through with it.
Again, Lindsey was her best advocate.
“I look back at the angry kid I was, and I’m really proud of myself for advocating for myself,” Lindsey said. “I also learned how to let people in and to let them know if I need help.”
When she was at her lowest, Lindsey knew she needed help, and she reached out to the Bert Nash Center. “Bert Nash has been incredible,” she said. “I’m still working with a team of people at Bert Nash and learning to understand that everyone is here to help me. I would not be here without Bert Nash.”