Learning How to Live With a Disability
We all want to live a healthy life, but what happens if a mental or physical disability prevents us from doing the things we once did or always wished we could? Some individuals may be unable to work, attend school, or get out in the community, the same as others. These limitations may leave some feeling hopeless or helpless. However, learning new ways to cope can give meaning to one’s life, even with limits.
Adjusting to Life
Living with a disability can create many challenges. For example, you might be unable to walk daily or, if at all, due to severe arthritis or multiple sclerosis. Or maybe you worked full-time for several years but can only work part-time or can’t work at all due to a chronic mental health condition. So, how can we learn to adjust to these changes?
Educate yourself. Knowledge is power, so educating yourself about your disability can help you better understand your condition and its prognosis. And though not everyone will have the exact symptoms or results, it will help you know what to expect and put your mind at ease.
A word of caution: you want to avoid Google searches, as their posts are often misinformed and give worst-case scenarios. Instead, seek articles from a qualified professional.
Allow yourself time to grieve. Have you ever broken a bone only to discover how much that one part of your body makes all the difference when you can’t use it? For instance, breaking a toe can prevent one from balancing themselves while walking or a broken hand from flossing their teeth. But people with permanent disabilities may experience extreme feelings of loss. So, allowing yourself to grieve and mourn is essential. And remember that there is no right or wrong way to grieve; if you need to kick, scream, or cry, do whatever works for you.
Accept your disability. Accepting your disability doesn’t mean discounting the pain or loss you may be feeling. But denying or avoiding your thoughts can prevent you from moving forward. So, although you may be unable to change certain parts, that doesn’t mean you deserve to be stuck, either. Acceptance also has a way of giving you your power back and not allowing your disability to dictate your life.
Let go of self-judgement. You have every right to feel a particular way about your disability. Therefore, don’t judge yourself if you experience anger, resentment, or whatever emotion about your situation. You may also have better days than others and go through fluctuating emotions, but that’s okay because you are human.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparing ourselves to others tends to make us feel worse about ourselves. So, if one person with a disability seems to be well-adjusted and you’re struggling with yours, that doesn’t mean you’re flawed or overreacting. For example, if you frequently cry about your situation, but your friend has a disability and appears fine, that doesn’t mean you’re weaker. We also don’t know if that person is hiding their true emotions.
Try not to get stuck on your disability. We discussed earlier how education is power. Still, there’s a difference between educating ourselves and getting stuck on something. In other words, if you can’t stop thinking about how your disability has negatively impacted your life, it may leave you depressed, anxious, or overwhelmed. Instead, you want to work on resolutions – i.e., what you can achieve despite having a disability.
Refrain from equating your success to earning money. Most people work for money, independence, or to feel valued. But many people with disabilities can’t work, leaving them feeling insignificant. However, there is so much more to a person than what they do for a living. For example, volunteering for a community gives people value, independence, and worth. Plus, it’s a great way to take you out of your mind and focus elsewhere.
Just knowing that you’re helping others can be the most rewarding experience.
Receiving Help For Your Disability
You may wonder if you’ll ever be able to get your life on track. And though living with a disability may have limitations, that doesn’t mean you can’t find meaning or reduce its impact on your life with the proper help and support.
What are some to receive help?
Seeking services for your disability is not a sign of weakness or nothing to be ashamed of. If it can help you accomplish more things, why not? For example, some people may need home medical services to assist with showering, dressing, or light housekeeping. Students may need a specific educational plan addressing their mental health or physical needs. Or employees may need flexible work hours or more frequent breaks to accommodate their needs.
Many people also use assistive technology, which is a device that allows them to engage in otherwise challenging activities. Devices can range from a magnifying glass to an app that reads words aloud to a talking computer. Other assistive services can include a cane, wheelchair, or service dog.
It’s vital to know that you are not alone and that there are millions of people with disabilities. So, why not reach out to a community that supports disabled individuals? Just knowing you’re not alone can make all the difference. In addition, you can often gain resourceful information and contacts from others, such as more affordable services.
In addition, if you prefer to join a support group for the general population, one such place is Barty’s Adventures. They hold special events and adventures to help men feel better about themselves by keeping active, thus improving mental health. Barty – We Are A Mental Health Initiative
Therapy can be a great option if you or a loved one seek more support. Attending online therapy through BetterHelp.com/Barty might also be more beneficial, as you can communicate with your therapist from the comfort of your home. Plus, their services can be more affordable than traditional therapy.
To receive 25% off your first month, head to BetterHelp.com/Barty
Feel free to drop by if you’d like to chat and just say, ‘Hey Barty,’ in strict confidence, and you can be anonymous if you wish. Or do not hesitate to leave a question in the comments section below at any time.
Be Kind to Yourself
Remember, you are dealing with a lot, so it’s okay not to be okay. You are no less of a human for feeling your emotions and being vulnerable. So, treat yourself with the kindness you deserve.