Disability lifestyles and life changes.
There are several types of people suffering with disability, those born with a disability, those who suffer from an injury and those who suffer from an illness.
If you weren’t born with a disability as many aren’t, it can be a struggle learning to adapt and enjoy your new lifestyle. This will lead to times of frustration, sadness, and despair. It shouldn’t have to, you are the one in control and you do have the power to succeed. We get it! Yes! This is easier said than done. Yes! We all struggle. Yes! It is perfectly natural, however it’s important to find your new way of living. Your task is finding a way to make ‘you’ happy.
Coping with your emotions
It’s hard and even more so if an injury or illness is keeping you from doing the things you enjoy. You will start experiencing a profound impact on your emotional and mental health.
For many people there is the offer of counsellors to help them sort through their emotions. For some like Jamie this is not necessarily on offer so he turned to friends and mentor programs. Programs like what is offered by the BackUp Trust.
The truth is you just need to find people to talk through your feelings with. It helps if they have a grasped an understanding of your situation. There are loads of foundations and organisations that can help in this area for example Limb Power help with individuals that have lost a limb or have limb impediments. I have recently been a guest at the Katie piper foundation. They support burn and scaring survivors. The foundation and the patrons are fantastic and supportive.
Jamie has always stated how lucky he was meeting people through sport and those people introduced him to other people. He soon joined his local basketball team. (Archers Wheelchair Basketball) This was an incredible help and the journey from there has been positive. Jamie is now in a position where he can use his own experiences and give support through See No Bounds and his own website Jamie McAnsh motivational speaker.
Through sport he found confidence and from confidence he found will power. Before he knew it he was back in the saddle, Jamie was planning adventures and deciding what he wanted to do next.
Your limits can be a massive issue. Your body’s new limits is something you will need to explore and also experiment with. This is the area however that will make you angry and at times irritable. You can gain a lot of benefits from working with physical or occupational therapists to help you find new ways of doing things. Effectively using your body to its best potential will be how you overcome the limitations presented to you. For all of us the hardest thing to beat is our own frustration.
Be patient with yourself it will come in time. We all try, we all fail but if you don’t try then you have failed before you begin.
This is the area of real pressure. It comes with its own issues and I have often stated that no one plans this life changing event. Often a recently new disability will keep you from working. This could possibly be long or short-term so you are effectively already starting on the back foot.
We know here in the U.K. you can seek benefit support and in other countries there are other such assistance. The application process can be lengthy and often complicated. You may even get rejected on the first attempt but the hard work is worth the effort. Remember two things:-
- You need this initial support and never be too proud to ask for help. One of the biggest mistakes that many people do in my opinion is to fund the new unexpected outgoings on credit cards or loans. This is the voice of experience.
- Financial hardship is common, you are not the first. Sometimes the sudden lack of income can put massive pressure on an already pressured situation. You don’t have to face this alone and you can visit well run organisations such as Citizens advice or stepchange to seek financial guidance.
Finding new passions and hobbies
Hobbies will be very healthy, your life may have changed due to disability but your life style doesn’t need to. If you are unable to keep working in your current job try seeking a further education.
Sometimes hobbies have to change. For example Jamie was a runner before his wheelchair. However, he found new activities such as wheelchair basketball, hand cycling, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair squash and of course he became a blogger and founded See No Bounds.
It is absolutely vital that you find new ways to enjoy life. There are plenty of hobbies and activities you can do. All you need to do is just be willing to explore your boundaries. Step outside the box.
It is hard to adapt but trust us you will find away. When Jamie developed his disability so many people told him what he couldn’t do, but all he could think about was “but why not?” So he decided to try to find a way to do these things for Jamie that became his new hobby! And he loved it…
The journey from where I started to the place I am now has been long, painful and frustrating. I have had to overcome, push my limits and rediscover who I now am. People would say it’s not about the chair you are the same old you. No I am not I am a new me. I laid the able version of me to rest and embraced the version of me that has a disability and decided that if this was the cards I was dealt then I am playing them my way. Keep hope, keep faith and look to those around you for the support you need. You can do it and you will…