Many people find it hard to comprehend what a person, who used to be physically fit, goes through when they become disabled... either because of chronic illnesses or due to a physical mishap. For those of you who care for a disabled person, I hope the following article helps you understand… just a little bit better.
When someone becomes disabled, it is in effect like a death – a mixture of pain, grief, guilt, hopelessness combined with an expectation that things will return to normal… life will commence just the way it was prior to the incident/s that caused the disability… for some it WILL return to normal… but for many, that past life is now gone… totally dead.
I think one of the saddest events that I saw, was a young friend who had, in a moments foolishness, jumped off a bridge to swim with his friends and broke his neck. Prior, this young fellow had been a worker for years on stations, riding horses and living a full life. Now he sat in a wheel-chair selling his cherished possession… his saddle… a symbol of the life he had lead… that was now gone forever.
One particular aspect of my disabilities I found so very hard when I became disabled nine years ago… having to sit and watch my ten-year-old daughter hang washing out or cook a meal for our family… prior I had been a person who lived to show my love by doing things for others… sewing my children’s clothes… dishing up a nice meal… going for a simple walk… decorating the kids’ rooms… those finishing touches… just normal things of life, but when one can no longer perform these chores on a regular basis… it hurts… guilt sets in… “I am supposed to be doing these chores for my family… not the other way around.”
Another hard aspect is wanting something… one can ask someone to get the item or, in pain, hobble to get it. Wheelchairs are great in that they get a person to places they couldn’t otherwise go… but when shopping in a wheelchair… two minds with two ideas can be frustrating… that item you wanted to look at went passed at lightning speed… and it only means hard work for the one pushing to take you back so you give up because it means more work for the one already taking on more work.
Fortunately, I have only had several short bursts in wheel-chairs although my kids have pushed me around Seaworld (No easy feat) and around Bunnings... so that I could go to both places with them.
Please let me assure you, just because you are disabled… your past life is dead… doesn’t mean that you can’t have a rewarding life… but what it does mean is that your choices are in a totally different direction… you need to reach for a different star… you need a new mindset… above all you need to keep a positive focus.
Two ways I learnt that helped me cope.
In my past life, I knew how:
To set goals big time
To focus on multiple things
I attended a pain management course which taught me two important aspects.
To set goals…
So I didn't learnt anything, right? Yes and no. Let’s redo it and then I shall explain.
To set goals… for the person I am now
To focus… on the things that I can do now
Now, believe me, I went to the pain management course with a rather negative attitude… I honestly didn't see how it could help. But, my mindset was totally out. As I said, I knew how to make goals… but each time, I set a goal prior to the course, I set myself up for failure… and more self-loathing… depression… my goals were for the person I was prior to my disabilities… the well energetic strong and capable me... not the person who needed assistance to tie my shoe laces.
At the course, I noticed people had simple goals… like walking to the mailbox each day… admittedly, these country mailboxes were probably a 150-metre walk… but they were baby steps to the OLD me… then I realised the NOW ME would never make it down to my mailbox and back without ending up in bed for three days…
goals were individual…
goals HAD to be achievable…
goals were for the person NOW…
These goals not only had to be achievable, but also were designed to build the self-esteem of the individual up.
Prior, as my old self, I could multi-task quite well… possibly extremely well, actually. Now, with brain fog, my one-thought focus could escape me before I had processed the minute aspect leaving me wondering what that one task was that I was trying to complete… I became wonder women… lol…
But, the part that the course taught me is to:
focus on what I CAN do…
not focus on what I couldn’t do…
And fortunately, since my multi-task mind has gone AWOL, this is mostly easy… focusing on one thing…
Focus can be described as follows… when one is looking through a scope, binoculars, telescope… we are focusing on what we can see at the other end of that apparatus… usually, no more than one particular item or scene.
Now, since we are all individuals, this will be a different focus for each of us… Once you know what that focus is, then you can make goals… achievable goals… reach for the stars in your particular new galaxy of goals…
Some may feel they are too disabled to try… and you may be… but here is some inspiration for you… there used to be a card selling facility here in Australia… these cards were made by paraplegics… they did paintings by using their foot or in some cases, their mouth… beautiful cards with intricate landscape scenes and flora… So many of these artists were flat on their back painting… selling their artwork in the form of greeting cards etcetera... possibly they never imagined being an artist in the life they led before being confined to bed or a wheelchair.
As many of you know, my journey into writing started with a simple goal… rather not so simple a goal but more of an experiment… surely it couldn’t make it worse...
I wanted to rewire my brain… get some new neurons firing so that I could function on half cylinders at least.
My goals (since I could still type) looked like this:
write 800 words or more per day to help with word substitutes and brain fog.
5 minutes playing my guitar… never be a musician but love it.
5 minutes playing a device game such as Sudoku
Short courses to learn about the brain as well as any other subjects, etcetera
I decided if I was going to write each day, then... yes... wait for it... I would write a book… I never even thought to look how many words I needed till I was half-way through writing my first book… my documentation was only a page with some dates and words amounts written daily and totals… I finished that book and started my second book… then, we decided… hey, we might publish this… ‘Her Father’s Shadow’ was published… my writing career was born…
For those who wish to write… poetry, bibliography, novels, whatever… yet do not have the ability to write/type… there are computer/device programs out there… such as ‘Dragon Speech’ that turns voice into written words… sometimes the words need tweaking… but with a helping buddy, that would be possible.
Have these small goals made a difference in my life? One big resounding… YES!
I actually ACHIEVED a goal or two! That in itself has helped my low self-esteem no end. I even feel like getting out of bed, getting dressed and being more than half-human.
It has been… and still is… an amazing journey. Still much to learn but I have learnt so much along the way… I have grown emotionally... being on social media pages, watching my cover design take shape, writing this blog and other articles, making template designs for my writing, editing… my courses have been a wonderful asset for my writing… that is just some of the benefits for me… I even think my brain maybe... just maybe... working better as well… maybe more neurons? Here’s hoping.
Does that mean I am cured of my chronic disabilities? No! and there are many days the body and the brain doesn't respond the way I want it to… but I have a goal… a focus… a new galaxy of experiences… to reach for. Never what I envisioned before but, including my creator and family it is part of my daily focus now.
We all need a goal-buddy. None of this would be possible without the help of that same 10-year-old who is now 19… but still my right-hand girl… who co-edits… formats my books… designs the covers and my webpage… does promotions and plus a heap of other mundane chores… while also doing her own technology uni course. In general, I receive a lot of support from my children. I am so grateful.
So, make goals… individual goals that are achievable… reach for the stars in your new galaxy… don’t let the tumbles of life hold you back… focus on the positives of your future. Never hurt another person though, along the journey
Important message to the Reader:
Please remember, the above ideas are those of the author who is not medically qualified. As in any program, always consult your doctor for advice regards the above information before commencing any part or whole of this article.
Hey guys so for this week we'll be brief , I've been reading a lot of what I call period pieces/historical fiction romance that is clean. So this week I read Jen Turano's "A change of Fortune" which is part of a great series which I really, really loved, they were humorous, realistic, they had some mystery and they were really enjoyable - so read any of them you can get your hands on - although I feel a little cheated as I read from the 3rd book (without realising) anyways the series is really good. "A change of Fortune" is about a young lady who found herself in a change of situation. She had been double-crossed by trusted employees who had stolen her families fortune. So instead of waiting for somebody to rescue her, she travels to America and finds a position as a governess in order to track the felon's. In the process of trying to get her fortune back, the plot thickens and it turns out there is a lot more to the mystery. I really think you guys will love this .
You can get it from amazon here