Friday, March 4, 2016

Disability and getting on

How different people handle changed especially life changing conditions or disabilities has always interested me not least for possessing several and having known a good number of people in a variety of situations who have too.
It's often interesting to see how people who on the face of may have similar conditions have made of their lives, how they may differ and how others are quite different although I'd like to stress from the get go I don't feel a 'my disability is worse or better than yours' take is really helpful not least for only you alone know how that affects your life or 'mine is more or less “real” than yours either for the same reason.
This being said it is my personal conviction how much you are able to make of your life even though you have disabilities depends very much on not only what opportunities may be available to you (and certainly there can be a lack of them that does our society no great favours) and what our own attitudes toward making the most of our lives can be when they are.
This can be more difficult when it comes to dealing with things such as social anxiety which as someone does find things like meeting people or using the telephone difficult I readily understand but unless we are prepared to explore how we may get more confident or better able to communicate, then our opportunities are limited.
I think it's that which sometimes is the harder thing because on top everything there is insecurity and a blanket feeling that you are not being understood.
There is though I feel a difference between an understanding that says “I am prepared to try to improve on the things I struggle with however hard that might be” and one that simply isn't prepared to even explore what options may be available even if they may not be a “total cure” because you may be limiting yourself from the experiences and opportunities that would enrich your life. You can't advance by staying still.
It's hardly fair on the face of it but those of us who have disabilities who in some way or other wish to make the most of our lives in mainstream society need to do as much as can for ourselves to find ways of maximizing it, perhaps in some respects even more than those who don't face the same challenges.
Things just don't come easy to us although I'd also add trying to compensate by excusing other things like 'fitting in' and following the accepted social conventions and rules as everyone else can of itself set you back simply because we have to 'hold our own' and isn't fair to everyone else even though I do recognize that's something I have been guilty of in the past.
Photo details: Illinois wheelchair basketball player Shelby Gruss a student of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC photo). This was a sport I played growing up.

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