17 Ways To Help You Live With a Disability

living with disability

Written by Maryam Saleh

Maryam Saleh is a final year nursing student in Ahmadu Bello University, who is based in Zaria. She believes in helping others and putting a smile on their faces. She has a passion in writing to make awareness, spread the word and clear misconceptions and doubts especially about health. Her goals are to prevent illness, promote health and spreading knowledge. She likes spending most of her time readind, volunteering, sleeping and watching TV.

January 25, 2021

Disability is defined as any condition of body or mind that makes it difficult for an individual with the condition to do activities that are considered normal and interact with the society around them. Some people have been dealing with one since birth, or from the effect of some diseases, while others acquire them after a tragic accident.

There are different forms of disabilities, which include mobility and physical impairment, brain, spinal cord, cognitive, vision, hearing, hearing, psychological and invisible.

However, living with a disability is never easy. But there are ways to help you cope with limitations, overcome challenges, and build a rewarding life.

Here Are 17 Ways to Help You Live With Disability

1. Adjusting Your Ways

Adjusting to living a life with a disability can be a difficult transition. We all tend to take our health for granted—until it’s gone. Then, it’s all too easy to obsess over what we’ve lost. But while you can’t go back in time to a healthier you or wish away your limitations, you can transform the way you think about and live with your disability. You are still in control of your life! There are many ways you can improve your independence, sense of empowerment, and outlook. No matter your disability, it’s entirely possible to overcome the challenges you face and enjoy a full and fulfilling life.

2. Learn to Accept Your Disability

It can be incredibly difficult to accept your disability. Acceptance is a huge step forward in your life and future. But refusing to accept the reality of your limitations keeps you stuck. It prevents you from making the changes you need to make and finding new goals. It’s healthy to grieve the life you’ve lost, but it’s not healthy to continue looking back and wishing for a return to your pre-disability “normal.”

As tough as it is, it’s important to let go of the past and accept where you are. It’s important to come to terms with your new reality.

3. Give Yourself Time to Mourn

Before you can accept your disability, you first need to grieve. You’ve suffered a major loss. Not just the loss of your healthy, unlimited body, but likely the loss of at least some of your plans for the future. Don’t try to ignore or suppress your feelings. It’s only human to want to avoid pain, but just like you won’t get over an injury by ignoring it, you can’t work through grief without allowing yourself to feel it and actively deal with it. Allow yourself to fully experience your feelings without judgment; you don’t have to put on a happy face. Living with a disability isn’t easy. Having bad days doesn’t mean you’re not brave or strong.

Pretending you’re okay when you’re not doesn’t help anyone. Let the people you trust in on how you’re really feeling. It will help both them and you.

4. Don’t Dwell on What you Can No Longer Do

Spending lots of time thinking about the things your disability has taken from you is an established recipe for depression.

Mourn the losses, and then move on. Focus on what you can do and what you hope to do in the future. This gives you something to look forward to.

5. Learn as Much as Possible About Your Disability

While obsessing over negative medical information is counterproductive, it’s important to understand what you’re facing. What’s your diagnosis? What is the typical progression or common complications? Knowing what’s going on with your body and what to expect will help you prepare yourself and adjust more quickly.

6. Find Ways to Minimize The Disability’s Impact on Your Life

It goes without saying that your disability has already changed your life in big ways. It doesn’t help to live in denial about that. You’ve got limitations that make things more difficult. But with commitment, creativity, and a willingness to do things differently, you can reduce the impact your disability has on your life.

7. Be Your Own Advocate

You are your own best advocate as you negotiate the challenges of living a life with a disability, including at work and in the healthcare system. Knowledge is power, so educate yourself about your rights and the resources available to you. As you take charge, you’ll also start to feel less helpless and more empowered.

8. Take Advantage of The Things You Can Do

While you may not be able to change your disability, you can reduce its impact on your daily life by seeking out and embracing whatever adaptive technologies and tools are available.

If you need a device such as a prosthetic, a white cane, or a wheelchair to make your life easier, then use it. Try to let go of any embarrassment or fear of stigma. You are not defined by the aids you use.

9. Set Realistic Goals and Be Patient

A disability forces you to learn new skills and strategies. You may also have to relearn simple things you used to take for granted. It can be a frustrating process, and it’s only natural to want to rush things and get back to functioning as quickly as possible. But it’s important to stay realistic. Setting overly ambitious goals can actually lead to setbacks and discouragement. Be patient with yourself. Every small step forward counts. Eventually, you’ll get there.

10. Ask For (And Accept) Help and Support

When struggling with a disability, it’s easy to feel completely misunderstood and alone. You may be tempted to withdraw from others and isolate yourself. But staying connected to others will make a world of difference in your mood and outlook. Spending time with family and friends will help you stay positive, healthy, and hopeful. Sometimes, you may need a shoulder to cry on or someone to vent to.

Accepting help doesn’t make you weak. It can make you stronger. Especially if your refusal to seek out needed assistance is delaying your progress or making you worse, either physically or emotionally. Let go of the fear that asking for support will inspire pity. Allow the people who care about you to pitch in. Not only will you benefit, but it will also make them feel better!

11. Join a Disability Support Group

One of the best ways to combat loneliness and isolation is to participate in a support group for people dealing with similar challenges. You’ll quickly realize you’re not alone. Just that realization goes a long way. You’ll also benefit from the collective wisdom of the group. Support groups are a great place to share struggles, solutions, and encouragement. It will help your living with a disability easier.

12. Consider Talking to a Mental Health Professional

Having someone to talk to about what you’re going through can make a huge difference. While loved ones can provide great support in this way, you may also want to consider talking to a therapist. The right therapist can help you process the changes you’re facing, work through your grief, and reframe your outlook in a more positive, realistic way.

13. Find Things to Do That Give You Meaning and Purpose

Living with a disability can take away many aspects of your identity, leaving you questioning who you are, what your value is, and where you fit in society. It’s easy to start feeling useless and empty, especially if you can’t do the same work or activities as you did before. That’s why it’s important to find new things that make you feel good about yourself, things that give you a renewed sense of meaning and purpose. Develop new hobbies and activities that make you happy.

For example; volunteering is a great way to feel more productive and like you’re making a difference. It is something you can do even if you have limited mobility or can’t work. Pick a cause you’re passionate about and then figure out how you can get involved

14. Find Ways to Give Back to Those Who Help You

When you’re disabled, you often must accept a lot of help from friends and family. This is not a bad thing! But it will make you feel good if you find ways to reciprocate. For example; maybe you’re a good listener your friends know they can count on when they need someone to talk to. Even things as small as a thank-you card or a genuine compliment count.

15. Make Your Health a Top Priority

To feel your best, it’s important to support and strengthen your health with regular exercise and a healthy diet. Exercise is good for your body, it is essential for mental health, helps reduce anxiety and depression, relieve tension and stress, and improve sleep. Nutritious eating is important for everyone and even more so when you’re battling physical limitations or health complications. Eating well will boost your energy and promote vitality so you can partake in the activities you want to and reach your goals. Get plenty of high-quality protein and drink plenty of water. You can check here to read 9 foods that are unhealthy for you.

16. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others (Or to Your Past Self)

Avoid the trap of comparing your exercise efforts to those of others even others with similar disabilities. And don’t discourage yourself by comparing where you are today to where you were pre-disability. The only healthy way to judge your progress is by comparing where you are today to where you were yesterday.

17. Don’t Underestimate The Power of Sleep

Quality sleep is important for flushing out toxins and protecting your brain. Establish a regular sleep schedule. 7-9 hours of sleep is okay. Stress is hard on the body and can make many symptoms worse, so it’s important to find ways to manage your stress, such as practicing relaxation techniques, carving out a healthy work-life balance, and learning healthier coping strategies. You can read more about how you can have a healthy sleep routine here.

Conclusion

No matter your circumstance, living with a disability doesn’t have to stop you from living a life full of love and happiness. People with a disability are not to be stigmatized or being pitied. Treat them kindly and with lots of love. Therefore, disability is thus not just a health problem; it is a complex situation reflecting the interaction between features of the body and features of the society in which one lives in.

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