Physical disabilities come in many forms and are caused by a variety of conditions and circumstances. As well as practical concerns there are emotional issues to overcome and how these are dealt with is different for each individual.
A blind person may have to come to terms with not being able to do the things they used to such as watching television or enjoying a piece of art and also having to find ways to get around and cope at home. Someone in a wheelchair will face issues of access, coping with reduced mobility, and the personal emotional impact of their disability. Someone who has grown up with a disability may have to contend with their friends doing things that they could never dream of doing while also trying to find their place in the world. Physically disabled people have to deal with a wide range of issues every day.
Coming to terms with physical disability can be challenging from an emotional point of view. A previously independent person may have difficulty in adjusting to the fact that they now need more help. There can be feelings of anger, helplessness and even depression to cope with. People who have found themselves suddenly wheelchair bound or have lost a limb will often go through the main stages of grief before they begin to put their lives together again. This is all perfectly natural and you shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed about the way you feel.
Accepting Your Physical Disability
It can be difficult to accept that, for example, you will never walk again. You may well spend a lot of time thinking it’s not fair, that you’ve been given a raw deal and even that it’s all your own fault. Most disabled people will tell you that only when you accept that you have a disability can you move on with your life. It’s okay to mourn the loss of some things you can no longer do but it’s also important to realise that there is still plenty that you can do.
Accepting that you are physically disabled doesn’t mean that it now defines who you are.
Dealing with most physical disabilities is a question of coping with the practicalities. For someone in a wheelchair this can be issues about getting around the home and also getting to work. For someone who has lost an arm it can involve having to learn to write and do things with their weaker hand. For someone with arthritis it could be more about how to open jars or the simple act of turning on a tap. Finding solutions to practical issues can also help you cope with the emotional side of things.
Getting the Right Support
Each physical disability presents its own challenges but there is plenty of support out there. You’ll be able to learn about the gadgets and gizmos that make your life easier while also getting help and friendship from those who really know what you are going through. Do your research and find out what is out there that can help you live your life to the full – you’ll be surprised the number of innovations and tools there are that mean you don’t have to give up on certain things.
Dealing with Stigma and Discrimination
One thing that many physically disabled people have to deal with is a change of attitude from certain people. This can be quite subtle, such as talking to you as if you were totally helpless, to the downright discriminatory, such as removing promotional opportunities at work. The first is difficult to deal with though you may need to show a little patience yourself. The second, in most countries, is covered by disability legislation which means that you shouldn’t be discriminated against because of your disability.
Having a physically disability doesn’t mean that you should suddenly be excluded from the rest of the world. Neither does it mean you can’t reach your full potential.