When you have a permanent disability that has no cure such as Spina Bifida it can be very difficult to come to terms with your disability and accept it. Coming to terms with your disability is so important with any disability because if you don’t you will never be happy. Wishing you were abled is not going to make you happy because although abled people make not struggle with as many things as people with physical disabilities do they still have their share of challenges they are just different and being abled will not solve all your problems. Wishing you were someone else will in only cause you to become more depressed so instead of wishing you are someone your not learn to accept and embrace your disability. Accepting a disability can be difficult if everything you do is a challenge and at times you may often ask yourself what’s the point? If you are struggling here are few tips that may help you become happier and help you take that next step to embrace and accept your disability.
Find something that makes you happy- When you are physically disabled some activities are just depressing and remind you of all the physical challenges you face. For me, a lot of beach activities make me depressed(not all beach activities) because I struggle a lot with moving around in the sand, and going in the ocean is just no the same for me. If an activity is making you depressed stop doing it and choose a different activity because although you may be limited to a lot of things there is still plenty of alternatives and being miserable is never going to help you embrace your disability! I love Pilates and although I may look like a total goofball doing it helps me forget about everything for an hour and that is all I really care about! If you find an activity that you look like a total goofball doing who cares as long as you love what you are doing that’s all that really matters!
Stop blaming yourself- Every disabled person that faces significant challenges get angry at their disability and often may blame themselves and some may even question their parents and wonder if they could have done more to prevent it. I don’t blame my parents for causing my disability because Spina Bifida can happen to anyone even if you are taking all the necessary precautions. Sometimes I do get angry and wonder why did this happen and was there a reason? There was a time where I got angry on almost a daily basis and become very depressed from it until I realized you have to let it go. The more you blame yourself or someone else for your disability the angrier you will be so stop asking why and let it go!
Stop asking why?- Most disabled want to know why they are disabled and not their sibling and there is nothing wrong with wanting answers and it only become harmful when you become obsessed with not knowing. There is nothing wrong with wanting answers but what you have to understand no one will be able to tell you the answers. Sittin and crying about how your life is so much harder is not helping yourself but can make you depressed and be quite harmful. It’s okay to be curious but leave at that and instead of continuously asking why just accept that it happened and there is nothing you can do to change that. You can either cry every night that you have severe limitations or accept it for what it is and make the best of your situation. The choice is yours but if you seriously want to be on the path to acceptance you have to be okay with not knowing.
Don’t use abled people as the standard- When you are physically disabled you will never be able to work out in the same way an abled person does or set any kind of goals like an abled person does. Don’t use an abled person’s goals as the standard because you will only feel discouraged when you can’t reach the same goals. You don’t have to try and be like an abled person because it’s unrealistic and totally okay not to want the same things. Be your own person and don’t use what an abled person is doing as the standard because even though your disabled it doesn’t make abled people better than you just different!
Don’t focus on the struggles– When you are disabled it’s easy to focus on the struggles so you talk negatively about yourself and have a hard time seeing the positives in your disability. Living with a disability can be hard when you see all your abled friends with a career that you wish you had but having a disability isn’t all negative. There are some positives about living with a disability but if you are constantly focusing on the negatives and talking bad about yourself you won’t see them. Try not to focus on what your struggling with but remember how far you have come and how much stronger you are because of these challenges. People often look at disability as negative because of these challenges but it’s because of these challenges that make us stronger! It can be discouraging to see your abled friends do so much you can’t but when you stop comparing yourself you will be able to see you also can do amazing things just like abled people can.
Join a community- If you are disabled you can probably agree that sometimes it can get lonely if you don’t have any disabled friends! No one understands your daily challenges so complaining about them to your abled friends is probably not a good idea. They will not sympathize with you but will in fact probably just get annoyed that you are complaining so instead of complaining to your abled friends join a community! When you join a community and talk to other disabled people who have your disability you may learn a few things from them that may help make your life easier.
Stop being in denial- There is nothing wrong with using certain terms like differently-abled to identify yourself but if the reason you are using them is to make yourself feel normal you will never accept your disability. You need to accept what you have and embrace it because if you are in denial that it exists you will never see your true potential because you will be too busy trying to be like everyone else. Don’t look at your disability as negative but see all the positives that have come of it because when you try to be someone your not it just be an endless cycle that will lead to unhappiness. Accept what you have happened and don’t try to deny or change that but embrace it because it is the only way you will ever find happiness.
When you are disabled one of the most important things you can do for yourself to be happy is to learn to accept it! If you are in constant denial and can only see your flaws you will never see the beauty in your disability or learn to accept it. It can be a process to learn to accept your disability but you can’t look at everything about your disability as a negative and have to constantly remind yourself of your strength instead of focusing on your weaknesses. Every disabled person gets frustrated with the challenges of their disability at times and sometimes wishes for their disability to be gone but let me remind you that abled may not have physical challenges but they have other struggles. If you struggle with something like getting into a fitness routine now as a disabled person what makes you think it would come easy to you as an abled person? Your problem isn’t your disability but your lack of motivation and being someone else will not change that. Abled people struggle with getting motivated just liked disabled people do so disability or not if you have this problem now you will have it without a disability. Accept your disability for what it is instead of trying to change it or compete with others because that is ultimately what is causing your happiness not the fact that you are disabled. A disability can make you more depressed when you have to sit out of so many activities but when you stop using abled people as the standard it is the first step to acceptance! How have you accepted your disability?