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Strategies for coping with illness and disability

illness disability ill disabled

We all have our bad days but then we get up again and get on with our lives. But we never give a thought to the fact that we might get stuck in this awful situation forever. Yet sudden illness or a disability as a result of an accident could happen any time to anybody and is almost inevitable as we approach the end of our life.
Some people have to live with some kind of illness or disability all their lives and they show so much courage and strength. They are the ones who have managed to turn their misfortune into fortune. Everyone can do it yet the process of accepting the fact that you are ill or disabled is a harsh one. As well as coping with something that is very unpleasant every day you also have to come to terms with the fact that you will not be able to contribute to society as much as you would have liked to or do the things you would have loved to do.

I have read many letters from people who face a certain illness or disability expressing their frustration and the fact others do not understand them. They acknowledge willingness of specialists trying to help by inviting them to attend focus or therapy groups. But what good is it when at the end of the day they come to their own place where they are again stuck on their own facing to have to pay bills for which they have no money.

This is naturally not a desirable situation for anybody to be in, nevertheless we are all makers of our own luck and even with limitations people with illness or disability have we can still easily turn things around. Our lives are not set; we can all make changes. When we set off on our life path and come to a crossroad we can make either of these two choices; we either complain about our condition till the rest of our live or we start to appreciate all the gifts, which we still have and try to make most of them. At the moment you might feel powerless and say to yourself never I am ill or disabled but let us find out if you really are so powerless or you just think you are. I would like to help you to discover some hidden strengths you have that might turn everything to the better. Take two sheets of paper. On one of them write down all the things that are wrong in your life which really frustrate you. On the other write down all the great things.

After you have done this little exercise I feel that you first started with the list of frustrations, they were definitely easier to write down than the great things. In fact I feel there was very little you felt you could write down and I completely understand how you feel about it. Let me therefore help you to write down a few more on the positive list. Do you have friends, supportive family, children, Internet, can you walk, read, write, draw, the list could be endless really. If you are disabled or ill you might say what is so great about this, but you will find there is a lot, even if you just put a tick on a few of these. It is by starting to appreciate every little thing as a blessing and by starting to put a smile on your face rather than complain that everything can change around. I know it still will not change anything about the fact that you are not well but you can do little things to help yourself feel better such as learning about hypnosis, gentle exercise, prayers, acupressure, and other self help methods; if you cannot fulfil your own career dreams support your children, they might not only fulfil but even eclipse your hopes.

Naturally a change of this nature will not happen overnight; you will go at your own pace with which you are comfortable and every day try to look for or write down something positive that will take you there. Maybe you feel there are some days you are so ill nothing positive happened, well accept it, take it easy, find something that you enjoy. Laughter is especially great even if it is just induced artificially. And on the bad days you can always look forward to the better days.

Appreciate all the help you are given, there are caring people who are able to put themselves into your shoes and willing to help. Take advantage of all the support groups, because ill and disabled people will understand you better than others who will just be bored by your talk. You will know you are not on your own, that there are others who find themselves in similar circumstances and you can learn from each other’s strength. There are organisations that can help you find work taking all your limitations into consideration.

You can do it –who knows – in a few years’ time you might find yourselves having a great life or job you never even dreamt of.

Life is like a circle, we all need to be part of that circle and learn from each other. You are all very important for that circle, if that circle breaks, live is not complete.

Published: 2006-07-03
Author: Martina Roe

About the author or the publisher
After finishing at business academy at 18 I went to London as an au-pair, later I worked for an import company in Prague. I live in Brighton (England) now and have two sons aged 10 and 11. I like to volunteer at their school. For three years I was running an au-pair agency. I also studied psychology, sociology and languages as part of my BA Honours Degree with the OU. I am currently contributing with articles on the Shvoong website and am translating a compilation of adventure stories from Czech into English. I speak 6 languages and am able to translate into English, Czech, Spanish and German.

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