While some people are born with disabilities, others develop them throughout their life as a result of an accident or chronic illness. Adjusting to a new disability can be difficult – your entire lifestyle is likely to change and there may be things you can’t do any more that you miss. Below are a few tips on how to adjust to life with a disability.
Give yourself time to mourn
You need time to come to terms with your disability. Allow yourself time to mourn the loss of activities you may no longer be able to do, as well as any changes to your appearance. If there’s little to no chance of recovery, accept that you won’t be able to do certain things again. Don’t let yourself live in denial (this could include refusing to sell a car in the belief that you will one day be able to drive it again or continuing to attempt tasks yourself like climbing stairs or bathing yourself only to cause an injury).
Focus on what you can do
Once you’ve accepted your disability, you can start to focus on the things that you can still do. There are likely to still be many hobbies, jobs and forms of travel that you can still explore. Now could be a time of exciting reinvention and you may be able to develop new passions. It could be worth working with an occupational therapist who can teach new ways of doing things that cater to your disability.
Explore different forms of technology
Technology may be able to help you live more easily with a disability. Take time to explore the different gadgets and apps out there. If you’re paraplegic, it could be worth comparing different wheelchairs on the market. There may even be niche types of technology available such as journey planning apps for wheelchair users or even a paraplegic walking suit. Read reviews of technology to work out which gadgets and apps are worthwhile.
Accept help from others
You’re not going to be able to do everything on your own that you once were able to. Allow other people to help with tasks that are tricky or impossible. A lot of people with new disabilities injure themselves or get themselves stuck in awkward situations because they refuse to ask for help. Get used to asking for help. Make sure to also look into mental health support if you need it.
Consider joining support groups
There are likely to be support groups out there dedicated to people that have developed a similar disability to you. Through these groups, you can meet people who can relate to your struggles, gain advice and share problems. A lot of people find such groups to be very beneficial. This includes in-person groups and online forums/social media pages.
Tell your story
Some people find it cathartic to share their story with the world. This could include contacting a magazine or newspaper, or simply creating your own blog. Telling your story could be a way of sharing your problems and possibly helping others going through a similar struggle.