Whether your disability is by birth or as a result of an illness or accident, adjusting to this change in life is neither easy nor quick. Despite the gloomy outlook of this situation, you need to remember that you are still in control of your life.
You need to understand the effect of disability on both the body and the mind as well as your social life. To adjust to the changes, you need to address all these factors as well. Every 1 in 5 Americans are suffering from a form of disability, you are not suffering alone.
We will walk you through different methods to help you cope and understand your illness. You can thrive with your disability and not just survive.
Accept Your Disability
It sounds simpler than it is, applying it in your life is another matter. Accepting doesn’t mean giving up but coming to terms with your situation and continuing despite your limitations.
Take Time To Mourn
There is no shame in grieving. In fact, suppressing your emotions can have a detrimental effect. We take our body for granted and truly don’t understand its value until we lose function of it. Disability is a major unexpected change and mourning the loss of your healthy body is normal and important.
However, longing for your pre-disability body is unhealthy and can lead to depression. You need to accept your situation and find a meaningful life with your new body.
Look for inspirational stories from around the world of people who have found purpose despite the odds stacked against them, you need to accept that you can do the same. Click here to find ways to adjust to your new physical state.
Be Your Advocate
The truth of life is challenging and it is ten folds higher when you have to live with a disability. You are your best advocate, equip yourself with knowledge regarding your rights and opportunities. This will not only allow you to empower yourself but also improve your mental well-being.
Take Advantage of What You Can Do
We are fortunate to be part of this modern era, equipped with more advanced technology and tools, which are disability-friendly as compared to days of the past.
Take full advantage of this opportunity. With the introduction of assistive computer gadgets, cleaning robots, smart home assistants, stair-climbing power chairs, smartwatches, there is nothing that is not possible, and this field is constantly improving and coming up with more user-friendly gadgets.
You can retrieve or place things with robots, cook meals and deal with correspondences through email.
“Patience is a virtue.” Once faced with debilitating physical challenges, one understands the gravitas of these words. It is a way of life and mindset that you need to develop to overcome your hurdles.
Simple tasks that you never heeded any mind might now require monumental effort. The reality may be grim but not hopeless. Countless failed attempts to perform simple things can be frustrating. You might need to relearn things with a new approach.
However, you need to accept that this will take time and you will get there. It is a matter of setting realistic goals to avoid constant setbacks.
Travel And Enjoy Nature
Chronic joint pain or limb loss can greatly impact your travel. Even then, your limited mobility should never limit you to the four walls of your house. Prolonged detachment from the environment around you can severely deteriorate your mental health.
Walking aids and mobility scooters are now well equipped to return your sense of autonomy. Even if you don’t go globe-trotting, try to visit your local parks and attractions and enjoy a breath of fresh air.
Keep Learning and Acquire Skills
Knowledge has no boundaries or restrictions. Your disability shouldn’t stop you from learning and acquiring new skills. This will also help you get a job and widen your career opportunities. Thanks to awareness programs and dedicated initiatives for handicapped people, many buildings and public learning institutions are now disability-friendly and provide courses specifically catered to their needs.
There is no shame in asking for help. Ask your family and friends To assist you with household chores and activities. However, if you need assistance on a needed basis, it is good to have a backup instead of relying on your family and friends.
The social security administration, churches, community care workers, schools, charities, and local social services take many initiatives to help the handicapped people in the community so that they can live independently.
Nurture Your Relationships
This pandemic has given you any clue human connection is essential. Your relationships are an integral part of your life. It is natural to become distant and withdraw socially when you have a disability. But this can have a considerably negative effect on your mental health. Connecting and talking with family and friends is important, you need to have fun times as well as vent out when you are feeling low.
You also need to have people in your life who are not afraid, to be honest with you. Many people try to sympathize with you and appraise you for the simplest things, this doesn’t help you.
Do you need to be someone in constant need to impress others? Treasure your friends who are honest with you, those who you can turn to for advice and perspective. These are the people who are really on your side.
Join a Support Group
Sometimes the only people who can understand your predicament are those who are in the same position as you. That knowledge itself goes a long way. A support group helps with just that. It creates a safe space to discuss your problems, provide solutions, exchange stories and impart wisdom from those chronically suffering individuals.
Look After Your Mental Health
Even in this age, mental health is an understated issue and we have only scraped the tip of the iceberg. This is even more for our fellow “less abled” community members. The feeling of isolation and loneliness is intensified when adjusting to your new changes. There is also the added stress that comes with the new changes due to your disability and learning to manage them is crucial.
Talking to friends and family is great and helps, however sometimes, a professional is the best option to turn to. They can help you face challenges and find a realistic and positive outlook on your life.
Try To Find Purpose
The sudden loss of your ability to perform your routine tasks can be a huge blow to your self-esteem and self-worth. That’s why you need to find different methods to bring purpose to your life.
Volunteering is one of the most gratifying experiences of one’s life. Your mobility or ability to work doesn’t hinder your ability to do volunteer work given the range of things you can choose to do. Back up a project you are truly passionate about and put your energy into the work.
Get Into Hobbies
Work keeps the body alive but hobbies keep the soul alive. The truth is disability can hamper your normal routine and that extends to your hobbies. Your disability can limit your ability to enjoy hobbies. For example, gardening makes you responsible for several lives. This sense of need can give you purpose. You can also enjoy the added greenery to your house in addition to gaining control over your life.
One way to overcome this is to have chosen hobbies to suit your handicap. This will improve your mental well-being and help you gain confidence.
Try to Give Back To the Community
If you feel embarrassed about getting help, give back to those who help you. For example, cook up your signature dishes for your friends and family or if you are good with computers, help your tech-challenged family members. Even lending an ear can help.
Care For a Pet
Similar to gardening, pets provide you with a sense of responsibility and independence. The companionship of your furry friend will bring joy and alleviate your sense of loneliness.
Your Health is Your Priority
Exercise has proven beneficial effects on both your mental and physical health. Thus this should be part of your everyday routine.
Begin your routine with easy-to-do exercise and slowly build up. Explore your creativity and perform exercises that suit your disability. Always remember to listen to your body to avoid injury and overworking your body. It is also essential to not compare your exercise routine to others-even those with similar disabilities.
Building entrances are the first step for maintaining safety for patients with limited mobility. Install a ramp for walkers and wheelchairs and reduce the number of stairs. Additionally, handrails on both sides of the stairs can be very useful for patients who have more impairment on one side compared to another.
Bathrooms are the primary hotspots for falls and injuries. Thus taking precautionary measures are of utmost precedence here.
- Install slip-proof floors.
- Keep bathroom floors dry.
- Install skid-free mats.
- Install toilet seat raisers or safety rails.
- Keep a chair near the sink to groom and brush while seated.
- Don’t rush to the bathroom.
- Use wall dispensers, shelves, or bath organizers for toiletries.
- Use a long-handled scrubber to reach hard-to-reach organizers places.
The kitchen is another pitfall for accidents. Avoid hanging pots and pans, keep them on the counter or a shelf. Buy a reacher to reach high places as well as clean up spills and allow slide-out shelving to transport items.
Ensure your bedroom is on the bottom floor to avoid climbing stairs and keep all your essentials including phones, water, and medications at your bedside. Install a night light to guide you to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Such measures go a long way to prevent potential accidents.
You Are Equally Deserving Of All Opportunities
If it hasn’t been reiterated enough, you have every right to live your life to the fullest. Whether it comes to education, work, opportunities, or even love, you have the right to experience everything just like ordinary people. It might take time but life isn’t a race so don’t compare others’ achievements with yours.
Take pride in the fact that you have managed to survive your ordeals and still chose to live with your head held high. Not many will understand your experience. Your resilience and adaptability to life’s challenges is a feat and an achievement itself.
Don’t be hard on yourself, the future may hold hurdles but you are strong enough to rise above all that. Remember you are whole and enough no matter what your body looks like from the outside.