How to Cope with Sudden Illness or Disability
Published: 2009-07-28 - Updated: 2022-10-31
Author: Martina Roe | Contact: Disabled World (Disabled-World.com)
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: Disability Information Publications
Synopsis: Article provides valuable information, advice, and solutions to help you cope with a sudden illness or disability. Imagine that you are happy, your life is going very well, and you are proud of all your achievements. You have a great family and circle of friends until something regrettable happens to you one day. You become ill or have an accident, and you can no longer enjoy life as you used to. Suddenly everything seems to be falling apart. I understand fully how you feel. The whole world is upside down, and you are in the middle of it, believing life will never be the same again with you just being miserable fighting your illness or disability.
Illness and disability might come in many forms. Some illnesses and disabilities have to be faced from birth; others are developed during people's lifetime. They can come on suddenly or gradually develop over many years without the person knowing about it. People are usually genetically predisposed, but illnesses can also result from the polluted environment or the lifestyle we adopt. Coming to terms with any illness is not easy and might take a long time, especially when your illness surprises you all of a sudden.
Imagine that you are happy, your life is going very well, and you are very proud of all your achievements.
You have got a great family and circle of friends until something regrettable happens to you one day. You become ill or have an accident, and you can no longer enjoy life as you used to. Suddenly everything seems to be falling apart. All kinds of scenarios may arise; you might no longer be in a position to support your family financially, you could lose your job, or your dreams are falling apart.
This is the hardest time; naturally, you will be down about it, yet with a few changes, you might still be able to live your life to the full. The following easy steps should help you in the right direction.
1. Allow yourself time to come to terms with your illness
I understand fully how you feel. The whole world is upside down, and you are in the middle of it, believing life will never be the same again with you just being miserable fighting your illness or disability. You might lose your friends because you will no longer be able to socialize as you used to. But this is also the time to find out who your real friends are.
They will be there to support you and do anything in their strength. They will, however, not feel sorry for you forever, and you will have to find out soon that if the only topic of conversation is your illness, with time, even your kind-hearted friends will lose interest. It is also important for you to judge whether your friends are honest with you.
Even though it might not be obvious to you, some of your friends could be taking advantage of you and draining you emotionally. Before her marriage broke up, my sister used to look for emotional support from her friends. Someone, who she trusted and thought highly of, actually used to say her things which were making her feel even more depressed, and she did not realize it at that time. Once I went to see her friend too, and she told me nasty things about my father that were not true to manipulate one of his decisions about my future education. I was on top of things, so I ignored it and did not think highly of my sister's friend, but she could not do it herself then. Later she realized how much her friend was harming her and stopped visiting her.
Thinking positively is no easy matter, but it is important to be enthusiastic about life again. There are only two choices for you to make. You can stay depressed and complain about your problems for the rest of your life, or you have the option of trying to make the most of your life even with all your limitations. We all know that cancer patients who remain positive life longer than those who become very depressed. The same applies to any chronic illness or disability. My sister's first husband lost his leg in an accident. He eventually drank himself to death. If he had taken a more positive approach and enjoyed the little things that remained to him, he could have still been here with us, enjoying all the achievements of his daughter, who is now in her twenties.
2. Allow yourself time to let all the negative emotions go first, which might take time
It is good to know that there are people you can talk to, and counseling might be especially appropriate at this time. I found the help of a counselor especially helpful at the stage of my life when I became ill and could no longer achieve my own goals. I was always very ambitious and performed very well at school. Everyone thought highly of me and believed I would do very well in my life. I remember people disapproved when I chose not to go to University. After my children, I studied part-time at the Open University and finally got my degree. I wanted to become a teacher of modern foreign languages, but unfortunately, an illness stopped me from pursuing my ambitious plans. I found it very difficult to accept even though life was not worth living. I felt frustrated because I was not improving; my illness was to stay forever. There is no remedy or pill. I kept asking myself why did this have to happen to me, why is life so cruel?
When I was about ten years old, my mother went with her friends to see a healer who made a diagnosis from the retina of your eyes. As a young child, I was constantly ill and on antibiotics with pneumonia, ear infections, or tonsillitis. I eventually grew out of these illnesses but was always aware of them. The lady healer looked into my eyes and told my mother I was healthy then, but one day I would be ill. I never worried about these words, but when I became ill, I suddenly realized she was right. I could not do anything; I had to accept it and start a new life.
At that difficult time of my life, it was really good to talk. However, I was aware that conversations with my family and friends became dominated by my illness and that this was no fun for them, so I arranged to counsel. My counselor could understand my problems better than anybody else. I could not comprehend why anything so unfortunate had to happen to me.
I never did anything wrong; to the contrary, I always thought of others before I thought of myself. But my counselor and others told me not to think like that. It is just the way life is, and there is no point in finding an answer to why. The important point is that illness is not a punishment for your wrongdoings. My counselor also told me to enjoy and appreciate the good things in my life that I still have, and I always think of that because I have many great things to enjoy that help me forget the hard side.
The process of accepting your illness or disability can be a long one. It is normal to feel depressed as long as you enjoy it. But you will soon realize that feeling sorry will get you nowhere. You still have a life you can enjoy; you can review your strengths and what you can still do. Now is the time not to dwell on the past but concentrate on the things you can still do in the future. Consider all your strengths and qualifications; seek the help of a career adviser who will be more than happy to help you find a suitable job you might still be able to do, bearing in mind your limitations.
- Rethink your career opportunities.
- Take time to accept your new situation.
- Talk about your problems - seek the help of a professional counselor.
- Start to think of your strengths rather than concentrate on your weaknesses.
3. Nurture yourself
I have a question for you to which I would like you to give me a sincere answer.
Who is the most precious person in your life? Who do you value most? Give it a thought before you read on.
Your partner, your child, or perhaps your parent? Was this your possible answer?
I am sure these people mean a lot to you. Otherwise, you would not be naming them. But there might be times when even they can let you down. The only person you can always trust is you. It sounds funny, but you will always be in your own company. You can either cheer yourself up or make yourself miserable. But first of all, you need to take care of yourself and ensure that you can keep yourself as healthy as possible.
Naturally, you cannot cure your illness or disability but can learn how to live your life to the best - that is, how to relieve your symptoms in the best possible way.
You can do much to help yourself feel better. We are all different, and not every remedy or therapy will help everybody with the same health problem. For example, allergies - all work on the same principle when the body starts to defend itself against substances that are normally not harmful. Yet, the symptoms can be so different, ranging from runny nose, itchy or weepy eyes, sneezing, rashes, eczema, and digestive problems, to name a few. It is therefore understandable that some remedies will work for some but not for others. Many people have tried many remedies or therapies, but nothing ever worked. Some therapies take longer to kick in, and it is important to be patient and observe the changes happening to your body. Often the most effective self-help techniques are the easiest ones. Think, for example, of the time when you try to imagine throwing all your negative thoughts and all your pain into the bin and getting rid of them. This is known as a visualization technique; you can imagine almost anything you wish and let your imagination work. Imagine yourself being strong, a leader, and someone who can make it to the top of the mountain. Or think of yourself lying on the beach, sunbathing, and the sun's energy traveling into each part of your body, making you feel warm and energized. You might be amazed that by imagining it, you can get all the benefits of it happening in real life. You could also consider autogenic training, where you will learn to relax, and it might even help you go to sleep if you are experiencing problems with your sleep.
Try and find something you enjoy, develop an interest or a hobby. You might enjoy a good story, or just a cup of tea can be nicely spent on your own. Working hard to achieve something others will say well is much easier. It is much harder accepting that because of your illness; nobody will say well done for something you wanted to achieve but could not. Nobody will praise you for coping with your illness so say it yourself each day.
"Well done for coping so well."
Praise yourself for any little day achievement, no matter how small. If it helps, put your favorite poem on the wall or any positive quotes to remind you every time you pass that place.
Were you more positive today than yesterday? Then I would like to congratulate you. I send praise to all of you.
Learn how to exercise can help you. The problem with exercise when you are ill is that you do not feel like it because you experience too much pain, stiffness, or lack of energy. But it is often exercising that helps to alleviate stiffness or muscular pain. It is important to find the right exercise for you, gentle exercise is more appropriate than anything vigorous, and the rules are little and often. Be persistent; do not expect any immediate results immediately. Likewise, you must follow a healthy diet. You should certainly not be embarking on any drastic diets to lose weight. Some diets to lose weight can cause havoc to your health. Very often, people who lose weight after dieting gain it back sooner or later. This is more dangerous to your health than maintaining the same weight at all times; the body has to deal with the skin constantly expanding and shrinking when people lose and gain weight too often. It is important to eat regularly. Small portions more often are healthier than big portions less frequently. Your diet must include all the food groups (carbohydrates, fats and proteins). Please note that diets, which only involve one of the food groups, can be hazardous to your health. And naturally, always consult your GP if you want to embark on any new diet plan.
- Praise yourself for all your little achievements.
- Make yourself comfortable and do something you enjoy each day.
- It is important to realize that you are the person who matters most.
- Follow a healthy, well-balanced diet, and if possible, try to do light exercise each day.
4. Learn how you can best help yourself feel better
Try to find out as much as possible about your particular health problem. Alternative therapies are a great way of harmonizing your energy. The practitioners at alternative therapy clinics will be more than happy to advise you on which therapy would be most suited for you. The clinic might also run courses that will help you to apply some methods on your own. Naturally, you will not be able to do everything. It takes practitioners of acupuncture years of study and practice before mastering the skills in their field, and you would certainly not be able to apply any of the techniques on your own. Nevertheless, you can learn about acupressure or reflexology points and apply them regularly. You can find out which point corresponds to which organ in your body and which points would be more beneficial to press for you, how frequently, and in which sequences.
I try to practice acupressure or reflexology on myself regularly. I am quite amazed at how much sensitivity or pain I can feel in the points that represent the organs of my body that are not functioning too well. I also get slightly excited that I am a bit of an expert on the subject. I feel it works because of the sensitivity of the points, and I can help others apply the same techniques. If you do not feel like pressing reflexology points on your feet, you can just walk without your shoes on grass, sandy, or pebbly beach. In the past, when people did not wear shoes and had no hard surfaces, their feet were constantly massaged in the same way the principles of reflexology healing work. Stepping over small stones is very beneficial because you activate and massage all the reflexology points at the same time. And there is so much more you can do to help yourself.
- Find out what works for you.
- Give the techniques which are recommended to relieve your particular symptom a try.
- Learn from books or courses how you can help yourself (many local health authorities organize courses for people on how to deal with any long-term health condition).
- Stick to the remedies or self-help techniques that work best for you and be persistent (naturally follow any recommended breaks - for example, you are always advised to have a break from herbal treatments at regular intervals).
5. Concentrate on the present, not dwell in the past or worry about the future.
Have you caught yourself ever saying, "If this did not happen, I would not get myself in the state I am in. I should have done things differently and so on." Such claims might or might not be true; it does not matter. What matters is that you try to ignore such thoughts because they will not help you advance in your life. You might be experiencing pain because someone has wronged you in the past. My sister keeps constantly reminding our mother how badly she brought her up and that she never had time for her, basically drawing attention to the mistakes our mother made. Some of these accusations might be true, others are not justified, but that is unimportant. What matters is that my sister should let go of these feelings of hurt; otherwise, she will always feel a grudge against her mother, which will not help her advance in the relationship. In any case, it is something that happened in the past and can no longer be changed, so there is not much point in trying to change it. If my sister wanted to improve her relationship with our mother, she should concentrate on how their relationship could be improved.
As a child, I was sexually abused by my uncle; luckily for me, he died when I was 14 years old. As I wanted to move on in my life, I forgave him when he passed away. Otherwise, I would just live my life full of anger, with images of what happened always haunting me. Such feelings of anger can sometimes completely dominate your life, making you even ill. For your own sake, it is important to let go of these ill feelings, this will naturally not be easy, and you might need to seek the help of a psychiatrist or a counselor. But it is important to free yourself of any such feelings. You cannot forget but have to forgive to live a happier and more fulfilling life. If you ever experience disturbing thoughts from the past, you can keep saying to yourself. "What happened in the past happened, I let it go, I let it go, I let it go, I shall now put it behind me and concentrate on the present. There are good things to build on so I can achieve my dream one day."
The present is the most important part of your life. Take a moment to reflect on how you feel. Can you experience the 'here and now? Can you sit down for 5 minutes to be in a calm state, concentrating on deep breaths without any thoughts spreading to your mind? Unless you have practiced this kind of meditation before, I am sure you found this exercise difficult. Meditation techniques are very beneficial because they help us discover more about who we are. That is not an easy matter in today's extremely stressful society.
Reflect now on the thoughts springing into your mind. Did you worry about your problems for which you have no answer? This is completely normal. As a result of your illness or disability, you might have less power to influence matters in your life. I often worry about what will happen to my children or if my illness deteriorates quickly. But such worries are useless; they will only make my life more difficult, and I am learning not to worry about anything that might go wrong in the future. Worrying only helps us to let our worries come alive. Mothers often worry about their children being cold or catching a cold and would not let them play with cold water. Children often feel warmer than adults, so taking a jumper with you is better than forcing them to wear it. The funny thing is that if children catch a cold, in most cases, it is not because they were cold or got wet (even though this might increase their chances of catching a cold). Usually, a virus spreads around, and everybody has it simultaneously. My husband always complains about rain, yet his hostile attitude towards rain makes him more uncomfortable than the rain itself. A bit of rain that we can feel on our bodies is only beneficial for us in the same way as walking barefoot on the wet morning grass.
I know and have accepted that I shall never live into my nineties as my grandmother did, but what does it matter. I am hypothesizing about something which would be happening a long time away from now. Instead, I rather concentrate on this moment, ensuring that I am enjoying life to the full, that I give the right support and guidance to my children, and that I can see them grow into responsible citizens. Even though your life is or seems to you to be much harder than anybody else's, do not imagine it to be harder. In our actions, we often follow what our mind tells us to do. Make sure you give it positive commands. Do not worry about the future; sure, you want to plan for it and see where you are going. Having a dream or a challenge for your future is only positive. Your dream can, however, only be achieved if you set yourself little challenges which you achieve day by day.
- Do not dwell in the past.
- Forgive those who have wronged you.
- Do not believe things will end badly.
- Do not worry about what could go wrong in the future - just let anxiety and worry go and allow reality to happen instead.
6. Try to eliminate stress from your life
As we all know, stress contributes greatly to many illnesses. Stress in small doses is useful but can be very negative on a large scale.
When our body senses danger, it prepares to flee, which increases our heart rate. If we experience such states too often, our health suffers as a result. The slower our heart rate, the longer our life. Breathing exercises can help us calm down, positively influencing our hearts. Take deep, slow breaths to the count of 5.
Are you breathing properly? Let's do a test. Stand or sit straight in front of a mirror. Take one deep breath and watch yourself.
Did your shoulders move up? Then you are not breathing properly as you breathe through your chest and not through your abdomen. Now put your hand on your abdomen and take some more breaths. Can you feel your hand move up and down? Then you are breathing correctly. Try and practice this deep breathing exercise each day for a few minutes. You will then start to adopt such breathing automatically throughout the day.
Deep breathing can also help you relax and go to sleep if you find it difficult to sleep. Sleep is naturally essential. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day, ensuring you have at least eight hours of sleep. The need for the length of sleep will naturally vary from individual to individual. Try to free yourself from all worries or anger, relax the hour before going to bed with a gentle music book, anything which will help you sleep better. Do not watch television just before bed; if possible, have your bedroom television free. Just think about how parents put their small children to bed. They pamper them with a bath, and once they are nice and cozy in bed, they read them a bedtime story or sing a lullaby. We know it works for little children but do not apply it to ourselves.
We should try and live in harmony with everybody else. This might not always be easy. I know that the relations in our neighborhood are rather tense. When I consider my family, there is always an argument of one sort or another going on. The neighbors on our road always fight for parking spaces, especially on weekends. One day our neighbor could not find a parking space, so she parked her car in front of her garage and blocked an entrance to our second neighbor's garage. He did not like it and asked her to move the car. In the end, they started to argue. The arguments ended up in violence, with the police having to be involved. In such arguments, it is difficult to judge who is to blame because both parties are equally guilty, but the lesson to learn is not to get involved in such arguments or learn how to deal with them constructively. If you are angry with somebody, take a few deep breaths and explain calmly to the person why you are angry and what you would like the person to do instead. Do not swear at anybody or accuse them of being an idiot; the response you will be getting should be less hostile. Write down on a piece of paper something similar to the following quote.
"I can express my anger, irritability, or rage politely and effectively. It does not matter who with or what the issue is."
Do not forget that if you can't do so, it is likely that you are constantly increasing your blood pressure which is not good for your heart.
Our neighbor has learned a lesson not to park in front of the other neighbor's garage. Sometimes it is better to avoid conflictive situations even if it means an effort. In the case of our neighbor, it is the inconvenience of parking her car a bit further away from her house and having to walk slightly further. But then walking is healthy; she might even be doing something for her health. She is doing a lot of walking because she was drunk driving and had her license taken away for a year.
When it comes to arguments and judging people, I like to become nonjudgmental. Our neighbor no longer lives next to us, but I have remained a good friend of hers. She had supported me incredibly well when I was at my lowest, and all I am doing is praising her for that. She might have some faults, but then we all do, and often it is impossible to put ourselves into other people's shoes and understand why they behave the way they do. Before I had my children, I sometimes used to see children who were naughty, full of tantrums in the streets, and could not comprehend how their parents could let them behave in such an awful manner. But when I had my children, I realized that even they have difficult moments. In such situations, I would say to myself that others must be judging me in the same way I used to judge the parents of the naughty children.
New information and communication technologies are making our lives easier, especially people who are not very mobile benefit greatly from these. But there are naturally some very negative features. As well as encouraging a less healthy and sedentary lifestyle, modern technologies take the human touch away from us. Children find it more difficult to interact with each other when they spend hours on the computer. Many families now decide to have their home computer and television free, making their family lives more stress-free. Children might resist such ideas, but later, they become more creative and can interact better with their parents, siblings, and friends. It might be an idea to review your use of modern technologies and possibly restrict their use, if possible. It is always nicer to meet your friends in person than just send e-mails to them.
- Learn how to breathe well and practice deep breathing exercises.
- Learn how to live in harmony by learning how to express anger constructively.
- Relax before bedtime ensuring you get enough rest, go to bed, and get up at regular times.
7. You are the maker of your luck
Right now, you might think it is not in your power to improve your life. Let me tell you that even if you think you have a little left, there is still so much strength in you that you are unaware of and that I would like to help you discover.
The main clue to success is to start small, giving you manageable daily goals that will build on each other. Break your tasks into smaller chunks if your challenge is slightly larger. Many people make the mistake of thinking big when they have a brilliant idea and want to see success overnight. I would never manage to write these strategies in just one day, I get tired quickly and have to rest, but in the end, I shall complete it if I write a little every day.
My son thinks he will be able to swim easily to the other side of the river. However, when he is in the middle, he must return because he is out of breath. He will manage it one day but must pursue his goal and practice swimming each day a bit further. One day his stamina will improve to make it all the way. He also wants to write a series for television. But he does not realize that before aiming so high, he has to have a small success and then work hard for a big success. He would be much better off if he considered entering competitions of creative writing for his age group first. But now, he can only see fame; he cannot understand he has to work hard to get to the top.
It is, therefore, important to take one step at a time. If it is an effort for you just to get out of bed and make breakfast, perhaps this could be challenge number one for the rest of the week to get up by a certain time. Gradually and slowly add a few extra challenges as you go along. A the end of each day or week, make a review of what you managed to achieve that you could not do previously. You could perhaps keep a diary, set some targets for the day, and review them later. I find keeping a diary handy with my son. Like most children his age, he finds it difficult to plan his homework, leaving them often till the end when there is not enough time left. The diary helps him monitor what he has done and what he still has to do but also gives him this essential skill of planning and organizing his day, so he does not spend the whole day on the computer. Keep reviewing your tasks and challenges and ensure that you do not set yourself too tough challenges, which you then feel disappointed because you have not achieved. Rather slightly adapt your challenges and make them easier, or if your tasks are too easy, set yourself more demanding goals. And do not be a perfectionist; it does not matter if the house is not 100% clean. I have got a friend who is always so worried about things going wrong when she invites her friends for dinner that, in the end, she is so stressed and exhausted. Friends are there to cheer you up, not to make you feel even more awful; they will most certainly not mind if everything is not 100% perfect. Do not worry about things going wrong or that anything is not perfect.
If you want to work, I believe you can find a job that suits you, will be enjoyable, and will give you satisfaction. Ill or disabled people often feel depressed because they cannot contribute to society as much as others. Companies are often discouraged from employing people with disabilities because they fear that such people will be absent regularly and not be as efficient as others suffering loss. Employers must not discriminate against employees with disability by law. There is help at hand as organizations will help you find a suitable job with training for the right job. You might also enjoy other benefits such as reduced alternative therapy treatments or start-up money packages if you think of running your own business. Explore all that is available of which you can take advantage.
As mentioned previously, it is important to think small. You might feel others have an easy life and can prosper well without fighting an illness or disability daily. First, let me assure you that even the people who appear to have no problems can be flooded with them. I know you feel like you are a victim, but it is important to think of yourself as a winner or becoming one. Do not compare yourself to others. We are all unique individuals with different experiences, values, or beliefs. If your neighbor was disadvantaged like you, would they have achieved as much as you
You might still feel uneasy about the whole situation, saying you are too ill to do any work. That is exactly how I felt not so long ago. The nature of my illness is such that I would not be able to turn up for any regular work. I have so much skill, and ability yet cannot use it even though I want to do something. I started to think about whether I could work for myself on a self-employed basis. This would mean I could work when I feel a bit better, and when I feel unwell, I can just take it easy and relax. I speak and write six languages fluently so that I can do translations. Everyone around me is discouraging me because they believe it is a job that is not very financially rewarding. Yet I am not discouraged and am determined to work hard for it; most translation agencies only accept people with 3 or 4 years of experience. But that does not discourage me. I am translating adventure stories my uncle published in Czech after his journey to South America into English, which should give me some experience in translation. If I were healthy, I would naturally aim higher. It is nevertheless a great challenge for me.
Do not look for reasons stopping you from pursuing your realistic coal. People manage to find all kinds of excuses for things they have not done and should have done. As I am writing these strategies, my life is certainly not straightforward. Yet I believe tomorrow will be a better day, and I will be able to continue and help great people like you achieve your dreams and be happy. I know things were tough for me, and it took me a long time to finally find the right path. If I had a chance to read something similar to the seven strategies, I would have appreciated it very much, and I hope that what you are reading is beginning to improve your life.
It is important to go only at a comfortable pace. While you are patient and waiting for your dreams to materialize, you are doing all the right things to help you achieve your goal one day.
In the past, I watched films where people who were involved in accidents causing them serious injuries made an incredible comeback. I always admired their strength and wished nothing of that nature would happen to me as I felt I could not cope with it. Yet without this incredible strength, such people would have no life. People who are blind develop all their other senses much better than we do. Otherwise, they would have to live in total darkness and isolation. I just wanted to show you that this incredible strength is in all of you, and you can use it to improve your life and the life of those around you. And do not forget - those around you also help you enormously to pull through your difficult moments. One lady who became ill said there was no point for her to live on because she could not do what she was hoping to achieve. She just started to work in a nursery and only recently completed her course. But her family assured her that there is life for her only if she remains positive and they are there to help her pull through it. Even though she can no longer work and has to rely on her family to help her, she is happy because her family supports her; she keeps herself positive and focused and is very proud of her children, who learned to help their mum as much as possible.
If you think there is no such strength within you to change life for the better, I will prove you wrong. On one sheet of paper, write down all the negative aspects of your life; on another, reflect on the positive ones. Weigh them all up. You probably wrote more negative stuff quickly, while the positive stuff only came up very slowly. Never mind, this is about appreciating your life's entire positive side now. The negative parts are hard, but throw the negative sheet in the bin. As you do so, imagine all these problems are locked up in the bin now and when you take the rubbish down to be collected, imagine they are going with all the other rubbish into the landfill site. Every time the negative parts re-appear in your life, try to imagine them going into the bin and away with the rest of the rubbish.
Let us instead concentrate on the positive now. If you only managed to write down every little, let me help you to think of some more. When you are not feeling too good, it is difficult to see all the positive sides of your life. But do you have a supportive family and a circle of friends? Can you read, write, have Internet access, walk, or have enough strength to push yourself in a wheelchair? If you have some of these, you can pursue your interests - perhaps studying something you enjoy, you can join like-minded people on the Internet or write about your problems and share your experience with others. Writing about what bothers you helps, and you never know if your articles might be great and appear on websites where you will earn some money. Nowadays, there are so many opportunities thanks to the Internet, especially for people who are ill and disabled and cannot go to work daily. I am sure you have heard of artists who paint with their legs or mouth, and their paintings are truly marvelous. If they had not had their disability, they would probably get on with their everyday lives and never have discovered this special gift. There is a special gift in everybody; even you can discover it and use it well.
If you cannot continue in your current job or cannot achieve your career ambitions, help those around you who will certainly appreciate your input or expertise. Or help those who are facing similar problems like you. If you have children help them to achieve their potential. They will appreciate it greatly, and it will be a consolation to you that they will do well and may not only fulfill but also eclipse your hopes and dreams. Let them decide for themselves what they would like to do.
If you stick with your realistic goal, you will achieve it. Also, do not always listen to the prospects that doctors forecasted for the development of your illness. As mentioned earlier, the same illness can behave differently in various individuals. If you forecasted that it would probably be three years by which you would be in a wheelchair, do not fix it in your mind. Rather try to be positive and keep walking as much and as regularly as you can. The longer you keep it up, the longer you can do it. I have heard of people whose doctors told them that their illness was not curable; however, they even adopted a different approach to treatment than suggested by their doctor and have cured their illness even though their doctor had given them only a few years of life.
- You can achieve your goals.
- Break bigger tasks into smaller chunks.
- Stick up with your goal - do not give up.
- Think small; accept that you will have some bad days. Find ways how to overcome these and say tomorrow will be a better day.
It is exactly a year since I wrote these Strategies for coping with illness and disability. Since then, my life has improved even though the first six months of this last year were the toughest of my life. I am afraid during these six months, I have completely forgotten about these Strategies and somehow never believed I would ever get better. But I did, perhaps because unconsciously I had these Strategies in my mind.
In the last couple of months, I even started to work as an Invigilator, something I never dreamed I could do a year ago. And I am also thinking of helping out at my sons' school; I could use my skills and help some students prepare for their French or German exams. I am still thinking about becoming a translator one day but have other inspiring plans. I see my life as very rich; I do so many different things I could not do if I had to work every day, and doing the same thing repeatedly must be boring. A couple of years ago, I thought being unable to go to work was the worst thing that could ever happen to anybody.
It is the belief that is very important. Just try to say the following in your head, "Life is very hard, life is very hard." Then relax, take some deep breaths and note how you feel.
Now do the same exercise again, and instead of saying that life is hard, try and say something positive, such as, "I can take steps to make my life better and happier." Now relax again, take a few deep breaths and notice how you feel.
I am sure you felt better when you kept telling yourself that you could take steps to make your life better and happier.
I hope that you found reading the "Strategies to cope with illness or disability" enjoyable and useful and that over time some of these strategies, if not all, will help you improve the quality of your life and make you happier person. If you doubt anything, please consult your doctor, especially if you want to embark on any new exercise, diet, or treatment regime. I wish you all good luck.
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• Cite This Page (APA): Martina Roe. (2009, July 28). How to Cope with Sudden Illness or Disability. Disabled World. Retrieved January 29, 2023 from www.disabled-world.com/disability/coping-disability-illness.php
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