It’s very common to consider a new disability as the end of life as one knows it. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Living with a disability means just that – you are LIVING.
Guest author, Pam Johnson, is a physical therapist who obtained her degree from one of the Online Therapy Degrees and she highlights that this new chapter in your life’s story doesn’t have to be a dark one. With this in mind, there are many ways to help yourself transition to living with a disability. Depending on the nature of your current condition, some of these ideas might help you out more than others.
The condition of your home might keep you from getting around like you used to be able to. For example, steps might be a new challenge for someone who is now toting around a wheelchair. Assessing these challenges early can help you to prepare for them in your future. While you might not always be able to avoid these obstacles, you can at the very least provide alternate solutions for yourself around your home and find suitable solutions where you travel to most often. Even if renovations are expensive, come up with a plan to slowly but surely make your life easier. When things get rough, it feels good to tackle and conquer projects – especially when the end product will relieve stress as well.
No one is meant to go through a dramatic life change alone. It can be easy to become despondent and distance yourself as you come to terms with your new life. However, this is exactly when you’ll benefit from the company of others most. Their emotional support can help you stay grounded and focused as you make changes to suit your new condition.
This might be the hardest thing to do, but you have to stay as positive as possible. Negativity will only hinder your progress. With this in mind, remind yourself about all the good things that still exist in your life, and take time to appreciate what hasn’t changed. Everyone faces challenges in their life – this is yours. In many ways, you are lucky to be alive in 2013 – twenty, fifty or more years ago, a disability literally was a death sentence for most people. In this day and age, there is help for you, and even options. If these kinds of reminders don’t help, then keep in mind that there are support groups for more focused coping methods too, which can be a big help. The medical professionals responsible for your care (especially rehabilitation specialists) might be able to direct you to one, to better help you cope.
Remember that the underlying premise of your transition is overcoming the obstacles you face now, so that you can get back to your normal life. While this might not be possible in every sense, there are plenty of ways that you can remain an independent individual, even with a disability. You might have to do a little investigation into what you want to be able to do, and what can help you overcome these hurdles. There are solutions for a number of scenarios – you just have to get accustomed to learning new approaches to certain things.
Living with a disability will prove to be challenging in many ways, but I always keep in mind a very powerful quote I once heard:
There are three ways to react to tragedies – you can let them define you, ruin you or strengthen you.
If you can keep even a few of these approaches listed in mind, you will be better suited to face the challenges that lie ahead and perhaps find inner strength you never dreamed of.