What it feels like to… Climb with an ‘invisible’ disability

Gemma-Smith30-year-old Anoushé Husain gives an honest account of the challenges she has faced and overcome as a paraclimber with both a limb difference and the ‘invisible’ disability of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

I’m Anoushé and I was born with my right arm missing below the elbow, I am a cancer survivor, a Muslim who wears a headscarf, and I live with invisible conditions. When I’m not in the office, I train as a paraclimber and use my voice to talk about and challenge barriers and self-limiting beliefs.

So … What does it feel like to climb with one arm?

This is probably the most frequent question I get at the climbing wall. My standard response? What does it feel like to climb with both arms? Being born with my little arm actually means I’m pretty used to it. I’ve never known different. Sure, I do certain things differently and I absolutely hate tying my shoe laces, but generally, it doesn’t disable me. That’s why I like to call myself differently-abled. I am able, I just might need to work out a different way to doing things. In fact, I’d call it my least disabling disability but since it’s visible, that’s what people ask about.

Go read the full interview with Lessons in Badassery:


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