• Useful tips for the newly disabled by Carol Myers

    From Allen Prunty@1:2320/100 to All on Sun Nov 27 21:24:56 2016
    "Things that have been easy suddenly become difficult to impossible to accomplish. Give yourself lots of time to readjust to the new status quo
    and don't do anything before you are ready."

    I was paralyzed from the waist down for several years in my thirties.
    The tips below came from my own hard, slow work to regain my mobility,
    and the common experiences of many disabled clients in similar
    situations. They will help you understand what might be happening in
    your mind, body and social life, moving you along the road to living
    normally with your disability as soon as possible.

    When a person is newly disabled by accident, illness or genetics, a host
    of physical, emotional and social changes present themselves. Most of
    these changes are things no one can truly prepare for. There are
    suddenly no usual routines, no guidelines in how to proceed with

    Newly disabled people can feel frightened, abandoned and without
    direction as pain and loss often dominate their recovery. These feelings
    can derail further growth and progress into a new, functional and
    successful life.

    It is my hope that the following tips will help you see your justifiable feelings, new experiences and the situations that can arise from sudden disability don't have to be the end of the world. From unable to do all
    the things you could before your disability, see yourself Differently
    Able to do whatever you can Dream...

    1. Expect an emotional reaction at your change in status from an "able"
    person to a disabled person.

    Anger, frustration and resentment are common feelings when abilities are
    taken away. Use the energy of these emotions to transform the negative
    to positive and get active in powering forward your recovery effort. If
    you find you can't get past the worst of the negative emotions, don't
    hesitate to avail yourself of counseling, stress reduction methods or
    other help. Most hospitals and social service agencies provide groups to
    help the newly disabled.

    2. Expect others to react differently to you than they did before the
    onset of your disability.

    Most of the time people want to say and do the right thing, but our
    society does not prepare us adequately to handle the trauma of another's disability. Reach out to your family, friends and acquaintances and
    encourage them to treat you as normally as they did before the onset of
    your disability.

    3. Expect changes in your energy level and the way your body and mind
    work together.

    Things that have been easy suddenly become difficult to impossible to accomplish. Give yourself lots of time to readjust to the new status quo
    and don't do anything before you are ready. Despite how you might feel,
    this is no time to hermit up. Avail yourself of all the support you can
    get. What creative ways can you think of to accomplish the same goals differently and if possible, independently

    4. Expect governmental and organizational indifference and delays,
    sometimes from the very medical personnel, agencies and individuals
    meant to help you.

    Aid your success in dealing with bureaucracy by keeping meticulous
    records of each contact with the agency or individual and reminding them
    of your needs and their agency's commitment to you. Remember: the
    squeaky wheel gets the grease. Make a firm but polite pest of yourself
    and you will be served correctly, more of the time.

    5. Expect co-workers to potentially feel uncomfortable with you.

    Some newly disabled people lose their jobs. If you are still able to do
    the work for which you were hired, it is illegal for your employer to
    fire you. You have rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act
    (ADA) - get to know what they are and use them. Take this opportunity to educate your workplace on the subject of disabilities, and yours in

    6. SSI (the governmental Social Security disability benefit) is not a
    free ride.

    Most disabled people find SSI and pension checks little enough to pay
    their bills and rent. You will have to generate secondary sources of
    income and be creative about doing it. What skills or talents do you
    have that can be used in new ways? Coaching or career counseling can
    often help broaden the range of options available to you.

    7. As a newly disabled person, you may find yourself inundated with
    offers for work-at-home schemes which may or may not deal with you

    Some of these schemes can be lucrative for the dedicated worker, while
    others are directly dishonest and usurious. Protect yourself by checking
    out any potential employer for longevity in the workplace and worker satisfaction. Talk to others who have worked there six months or more
    about their experience with that particular employer.

    8. Depending on the severity of your disability, you may need a care

    This team should ideally consist of people who are favorably disposed
    towards you to begin with, such as family members and willing friends.
    If you must hire someone to care for you, check into their background as thoroughly as possible. Often the disabled are taken advantage of by unscrupulous care staff.

    9. When you are given the gift of a disability, it does not diminish you
    as much as you might initially think.

    When one door closes, many others are opened. A blind man's sense of
    hearing sharpens to hear a pin drop 100 meters away; a quadriplegic
    develops extraordinary sensitivity in her facial skin that enables her
    to "feel" colors. See the opportunities that are available to you now
    that you could never see as a more able person. The world is waiting and
    the possibilities are limitless. What future will you choose

    10. Nothing is impossible.

    Well, almost nothing. While you may never have a new pair of kidneys or
    be able to re-grow a limb you have lost, almost everything you dreamed
    of doing before your disability can still be possible. You just may have
    to modify quite a bit to achieve it. Dont let anything stand in your way
    and don't fall prey to blaming and self-pity. You are the only person
    who can get you from the depths of despair to all the success you want
    in life. Go for it!

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