Living with a disability is never easy, but it’s something that tens of millions of Americans – and countless other people worldwide – have had to adapt to. From visual impairments and other sensory difficulties to those with mental health conditions or people who are confined to wheelchairs, these disabilities can come in many forms, leading to a range of symptoms, side effects, and challenges.
The right advice for each individual and each type of disability can vary greatly, but there are some general tips and pieces of guidance that have been passed down over the years, mostly by people who have spent long periods of their lives dealing with disabilities too, which can be useful for all. Here are some of those valuable lessons that you might be able to take something from.
Do Your Research
One of the top recommendations for people with disabilities is to take some time and do your research to learn more about your disability, not just so that you can find out the specifics of your condition, but also so that you can potentially discover sources of help and support that could improve your life in some unexpected ways.
The internet is a veritable goldmine of information for disabled individuals. Whether you want to know more about filing for long-term disability, discover support groups in your area, or simply find out some coping mechanisms and hear some advice from people in similar situations, there are a lot of resources out there to help out.
Get to Know People Like You
Following on from the previous point, while undertaking research on your disability, you might come across some websites, forums, or social media groups dedicated to people with your particular condition. From spina bifida to those with chronic pain conditions, there are entire online communities focused on offering support and care for disabled people.
Joining up with forums and online communities can be a wonderful way for disabled individuals to chat to others with similar situations, and this can be a great tool to help you feel less alone and relate to others who are going through similar things to you. You might even make some lifelong friends along the way.
Get a Support Circle
Whether you choose to confide in online communities or simply rely on the best friends you’ve known since your school days, it’s vital to have a support circle. This applies to everyone, able-bodied or not, but it can be especially important for disabled people who may struggle with certain day to day tasks and activities.
Having people who you can call or turn to for support and assistance really can make a massive difference. From helping with simple tasks around the home like cleaning the kitchen or doing some grocery shopping to simply being there at your medical sessions or coming over to spend some quality time together, having friends, family, and loves ones to rely on can help you live your best life.
Believe in Yourself
Too often, people with disabilities make the mistake of doubting themselves, thinking that certain lines of work or activities are off-limits, and while there are some limitations that can come along with certain disabilities, it’s much more important to believe in yourself and give yourself the confidence to try and live your dreams, rather than focusing on the things you can’t do.
Over the years, we’ve seen disabled individuals do some extraordinary things. There are people who have overcome incredible odds, proven the doubters wrong, brought their wildest imaginations to life, and made names for themselves in spite of the challenges and hardships life has thrown their way. Nobody says you have to win a gold medal at the Paralympics or set a world record, but you can still accomplish amazing things in your own way.
Don’t Focus on the Downsides
As mentioned in the previous point, it’s easy to spend too much time focusing on the negatives or the disadvantages of your condition. That’s perfectly normal, and it’s okay to not be okay and to have genuine worries in relation to your disability, but focusing on nothing but the negatives will only lead to sadness in the end.
While it can be a challenge to do so, focusing on the positive aspects and the brighter side of life, when you can and with the help of friends and family, is a much better way to live. Again, we’ve seen countless disabled people prove themselves to be heroes in their own right, and a big part of their success is in their resilience, their positivity, and their focus on never giving up.
Make the Most of Every Positive
Following on from the point above, as well as focusing on the positives of life, it’s also worth making the most of whatever positives and advantages you can get because of your disability. Disabilities are never an advantage on their own, but they can allow you to access certain benefits like financial assistance from the government, help with your career and living situation, and even simpler things like being able to skip the lines at attractions.
These advantages might not come close to compensating you for your disability, but they can, at the very least, provide some comfort, convenience, and support in different parts of your life, so there’s really no reason not to take advantage of every advantage offered to you. Learn more about the plus points online and use any that can help you out.
Above all else, one of the key pieces of advice that have been passed down and mentioned so many times by disabled individuals throughout the ages is the fact that your disability should never define you. It may be a part of who you are, just like your name, your personality, your sexuality, and your beliefs, but it’s not all of you. Even with it, you can be who you want to be, live the way you want to live, and do what you want to do.