Wow, so many of us have health problems. I have a form of lupus which just affects the skin. It's not and hasn't been active in years, thank goodness. Right now I've got an inflamed tendon in my left wrist. I've had arthroscopic surgery on both my knees.
It is sad that some people seek out the remotest difference between themselves and another person, and feed on the insecurities of that difference.
I have a cousin with Down's Syndrome. Its caused by an extra chromosone in the genetic picture. I always treat him like any other guy. Sure there are certain boundaries that must be drawn, like giving him tasks within his mental and physical abilities, but within them I try and not make him feel like I am giving him special treatment. He may have a simpler mind within in him, but I believe he would like nothing better than to be treated like anyone else.
Actually, he is a blessing because he is always happy go lucky, and eager to please. He is surprising sometimes. He knows how to preform simple tasks, like follow a recipe in a cookbook, so long as its an easy one, and occasionally enjoys drinking a beer while watching sports (his alcohol consumption is very very limited and only done with supervision, or supposed to done with supervision anyways).
Sure, he'll never be self sustaining, he lives in a special group home for people with his level of cognitive and learning skills, but he can and will do a lot more than you'd think he can. And you know what, I love him dearly. I wouldn't change him for the world.
Your cousin's lucky. There's a boy with I THINK down's syndrome or something similar in my mom's home "town." It's a community of probably 50 people, very out of the way and remote. Oh lord the things I could say. Mom's dead, father's an alcoholic who is always punishing him. He's about 19 now I think. I saw him sitting by himself drinking a bottle of straight vodka and smoking (yes the boy). I was told just not to go near him. >__<
Be thankful that here we have places that take care of people with things like down's syndrome. Not everyone's so lucky. :(
My mom worked with emotionally and behaviorally disturbed children years ago when we lived in Colorado. She worked with 2 boys who were autistic. One was about 7 or 8 and he was very smart. He could follow directions and my mom loved working with him. The other boy was a different story. He lived in poor conditions and wasn't educable. He pushed my mom and broke a necklace of hers.
I have clinical depression/anxiety disorder. (I know, I know, same as Sakura xD. But the two things are often interrelated!) Keeping my dog has always been a way for me to deal with it. I know I have to get up in the morning so that he can be fed, and walking him is one of the main ways I deal with depression. Plus he's always there to keep me calm and get me out of bed!
I'm going to college in the Fall, so of course I can't take him with me... which is how my betta entered the picture, actually. I mean, obviously I can't snuggle him or take him on walks or anything... but being responsible for another living being helps me. Plus he just cheers me up, he's got an awesome personality. As Shaina said, watching him swim is relaxing... and goodness knows I need that!
However, I do have to say... I would never, never, never consider breeding fish until I'm absolutely sure that I will not relapse... Nor would I consider it when I don't have the means to take care of them/the offspring so that they can have good lives. Would my disorder stop me from breeding, if I had the means and a good pair? No, definitely not. But it's a consideration that I have to make if I ever want to get into that world, and it should be the same for anyone in my book *shrug*.
I do believe in the therapeutic power of fishkeeping now, though! I honestly wasn't sure that it was going to be all that effective... Like I said, there are certain things that a fish cannot do (go on walks, etc.) However, I am genuinely surprised at the amount of personality and... thankfulness... my betta has shown me. His wiggle dances always put a smile on my face!
My cousin is severely autistic....he's so uncontrollable and detached that he had to go to a special home a few hours away from his real home where he gets some special education just for boys with autism....it's very sad because his family can only travel to see him on weekends, and he gets such little LOVE at his autism home....he's 14 and he literally looks like he's 7. He's barely growing, barely maturing at all.
But he's intelligent. Oh, he is. Everyone thinks he is stupid. They pity and coo over him. But things like puzzles are like competitions to him. He can finish a 1000 piece puzzle in an hour, just because he can. Everyone talks to him like, "Jaaaaaames? Can you choose what you would like for lunch?" and they hand him a book full of pictures....he can point to whatever he wants, but he doesn't talk, just makes random noises. But once MY family traveled up to CT so we could go visit James' family and go visit him in his home....my mom talked to him like a normal person and he responded perfectly well.
He knows when people are teasing him. He knows how to manipulate people to get what he wants.
KelliInTheRaw a youtuber says that "disabilities" like autism and ADHD and ADD are basically gifts....usually those people have such amazing psychic gifts they can blow you away....I absolutely agree. If I had any of those, of course I'd be angry at myself for having this, but in a way I'd feel blessed.
Best of luck to you all!