A woman with Down syndrome has opened up about how she has to cope with the “horrible” reality of life and living with a condition.
In her first-ever television interview, Jenny Smith, 33, admitted that she’s only ever been a size 18.
“I feel really small,” she said.
If I wasn’t so small, I wouldn’t be able to do everything.””
You’ve got to work on your self-esteem, you’ve got a whole bunch of stuff to do.”
If I wasn’t so small, I wouldn’t be able to do everything.
“A size 18 is not a good size, and a size 16 is not an acceptable size.”
She added: “I’m not saying you can’t be a little girl and have a body like a little boy, but you can only be so big.”
And, in a candid interview with ABC News, she admitted that, as a child, she struggled to accept that she was not normal.
“My mum was like, ‘I can’t believe you’re not normal’,” she said of her mother.
“So I said, ‘Well, you’re just normal because I’m not normal’.”
Jenny’s mum, Linda, told the ABC that the diagnosis was a lifelong struggle for Jenny.
“When I was six, my mum told me that she had Down syndrome,” she told ABC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme.
“She was like this tiny little thing that’s really small, and she said, she’s like a girl.
I remember saying, ‘Oh my god, what’s going on with you?'”
She’d never really talked about it with me, but I thought, ‘Wow, she looks normal’.
“I’ve always felt like I was different, and I didn’t like that, so I was really embarrassed and scared.”
Linda, who has Down syndrome, is now a teacher, and said she now had a “huge amount of confidence” when it came to being different.
“People look at me differently, they assume I’m a boy, I’m like a small girl,” she recalled.
“And so I just started dressing like a boy and I just wanted to be like, you know, a normal girl.”
Because that’s what I was always like, that’s who I was.
“But it was hard to tell people that, you can just be who you are.”
In a statement, the Australian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACCAP) said: “We support people with Down’s syndrome and other complex medical conditions to live life in the way they see fit.”
To that end, we have developed a suite of services and support available to those who need it, and we are currently exploring the potential of partnering with other organisations to provide this.
“We would encourage people with any issues relating to their condition to seek help from their local AACCAP or the ABC.”
Topics:adoption,community-and-society,social-behaviour,education,health,people,people-with-disabilities,counselling,mental-health,education-facilities,psychiatry,psychology,education–general,medicine,adults,mental,people—first-degree-diseases,mental—health,health-administration,mental ,melbourne-3000,vic,australiaMore stories from Victoria