Becoming comfortable with your disability isn’t something that happens overnight, it can be hard and can be something that takes a long time to accept. As someone that is registered severely sight impaired and has faced many challenges because of it, I wanted to share how I became comfortable with my disability to help others in the same or similar situations as me.
Never change your vocabulary to fit your disability. It may seem wrong to say things such as “I’m watching TV” or “would you like to go and see a film at the cinema?” but why is it wrong? It’s everyday language so why would you change it just because you’re blind or have another illness or disability. If you change it, those around you will feel uncomfortable and start to adopt that way of thinking as well. It’s just basic language so you shouldn’t change it because of your disability.
Accept the fact that you will have to approach certain tasks differently and certain things will have to be adapted for you in order for you to take part or be independent. You have a guide dog, use a cane or a wheelchair, so what? That’s your independence; don’t let anyone take that or deny you access of something that’s invaluable to you. For them it’s just something small, but for you, it opens up the world. Be honest about what you can and can’t do. If you can’t do something then that’s okay, accept your limits. Everyone has limits and things that they can’t do, even when they thought they could.
Your disability does not define your dreams and ambitions. Just because you’re disabled you have dreams and goals that you want to achieve just like everyone else. Never let anything or anyone stop you from getting to where you want to be in life.
Remember: “those who mind don’t matter, those who matter don’t mind”. If people can’t accept you for who you really are and look beyond your disability then they aren’t worth your time or worth being in your life. They aren’t worth having the chance to get to know the real you. Those that truly care will love you for who you are and look beyond your disability. For them, your disability is only one small part of you.
Don’t take yourself too seriously. You messed up? You made a mistake? So what if you walked into a wall because you didn’t see it? Everyone makes mistakes, you’re no different to anyone else. At the end of the day, you’re human so you can’t be perfect all the time. Don’t expect too much of yourself.
However hard life may seem, get through the times when you think your disability gets the better of you and when you think it is controlling you and taking over your life. You may feel like you can’t do this anymore but get out of bed each time and face each challenge. Sometimes things will go wrong, but learn from those mistakes and experiences. It is okay to admit it’s all getting too much. If you’re really struggling, get help and tell people how you truly feel so that they can support you. There are two options; to either let it control you, or for you to control it. Yes it’s easier said than done and sometimes you will feel like giving up but at least you can say that you didn’t let your disability stop you and you didn’t go down without putting up a fight…
Never let your disability define you as a person. It’s beyond hard; you face people on a daily basis that don’t understand it and even when you try to educate them, they still don’t get it. You meet people that are damn right rude, that treat you like you’re some sort of weird creature or not “normal”, but what is normal anyway? People will tell you that you can’t do something because of your disability but try your best to prove them wrong. If you succeed give yourself a pat on the back, and then wait for their reaction. If you don’t, don’t worry, another door will open. Whatever the outcome, be proud of yourself to know that you tried. Your disability will never be a barrier. There are some things that you can’t do, some things that you need assistance with but that’s fine. If you need help, ask. Don’t be ashamed to ask for assistance or for someone to do something for you or for them to show you, so that you can do it yourself next time. Truth is, not everyone will accept you for who you are, and not everyone will understand your disability and not everyone will want to help you. No one told you that life was going to be easy. You’re going to have so many questions with 0 answers, why me? Why this? Why now? No one knows, no one can answer those for you. Life was never going to be a walk in the park; it’s always going to test you no matter how old you are. That’s not just because you’ve got a disability, that’s because you’re human. You’re the only person in your life that can accept who you are and embrace it, be proud of yourself and make sure you get to wherever you want to be in life. Don’t let your disability or anything for that matter hold you back. If you want to be a writer, a singer, a teacher, a social worker or whatever, reach for it. Don’t let your disability stop you or be a barrier. Maybe you’ve had it all your life or maybe you were diagnosed recently. Whichever it is, grab it with both hands and don’t let it overtake you or your life.
You often wonder how you’re still functioning, how you’re still coping with this disability but you’re going to manage. You’re going to be pushed beyond breaking point, wondering how you’ve got any fight left in you but trust me you have. If you dream it, you can achieve it. Find an escape; for example listen to the lyrics of motivational songs and really reflect on them or write your thoughts and feelings down. No matter what anyone says, don’t let your disability define you. With or without a disability, you are your own person. You can do this. You are not alone, there are so many people in the same position as you wondering how they’re still coping. Be you, always. If you want to try something, go for it. People are going to judge you anyway. Remember: your disability is only one small part of you and in no way does it define you, so let it stay that way.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know your thoughts/suggestions for future posts 🙂