Whether it’s due to an illness or a tragedy is to blame, suddenly finding yourself disabled is probably the most devastating event a person can endure. It leaves you feeling vulnerable and lost, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your life. By following a system of acceptance and recovery, you can learn to rebuild a new life for yourself. Below are seven steps to aid you in achieving that goal, or in helping you to help a loved one facing a new disability.
As with anything, accepting your new situation is paramount to moving forward with your life. While this may be a very challenging first step, once it’s done, you can open yourself up to the support of your loved ones. While accepting a disability can feel like defeat, it isn’t so and it doesn’t mean you’re not capable. It’s simply understanding your new situation and adapting to it.
2. Mourn Your Former Life
You’ll find yourself often talking about what you used to be able to do. Now, there are things that you just won’t be able to do again and you’ll find yourself dwelling on them. That’s just going to hold you back. Take the time to mourn the loss of your old life and then look forward. Concentrate on what you can do.
3. Find Your Inspiration
Look for mentors, even if you know you’ll never meet them in real life. A teacher, a celebrity, an athlete. Anyone can inspire you, either with uplifting words of encouragement, or through their own lives. There are others out there who have gone through similar experiences and they have shared their stories. Learn from them.
4. Accept The Bad Days
There will be days that won’t be as good as others. You’ll be sad, depressed, and discouraged. Indulge those feelings and live through them, because they will pass.
5. Apply For Disability
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to apply for social security disability benefits and ensure your financial situation remains stable. The process of getting approved for disability can take up to 90 days, not counting appeals, so it’s best to apply as soon as possible. While this is something you can do on your own, it’s recommended that you seek out the help of an experienced representative to ensure you receive the maximum benefits available to you.
By pursuing social security disability, you can maintain a decent living standard, while you consider what you plan to do with the rest of your life. Go back to school for something that interests you and for which you can do in spite of your disability. There are plenty of options available. It might even be possible to use this tragedy in your life as an opportunity to follow some dream you had previously forsaken. A new education can lead to a career more promising and rewarding than the one you were forced to leave behind.
6. Rejoin The Land Of The Living
It’s easier to hide away, but, by doing that, you’re just going to continue to indulge those dark feelings. Instead, look for things that make you feel good about yourself and start doing them. Maybe consider doing some volunteer work. You may find it rewarding to be able to help others, as you look for ways to help yourself.
Additionally, getting back into the swing of things and throwing yourself into your community is a great way to distract the mind. It may be enough, just to have something to do that takes your thoughts away from what your life used to be like. Remember, you’re not supposed to be dwelling on that, anyway.
7. Exercise Regularly
There are any number of disabilities and, going along with that, any number of limitations those disabilities place on a person. Accepting that, there are still ways to stay active and fit. Regular exercise benefits the mind, body, and spirit, so, by staying active, you’re actually helping yourself move forward and rebuild your life.
Suppose your right arm is disabled. That’s not stopping you from working out your left arm and your legs. You may even be able to work out the right arm lightly, building up a little muscle and thereby reducing any pain you might be trying to manage. Speak with your doctor to learn more about how exercise can impact your condition. He may even have suggestions to get you started.
In the end, how you proceed with your recovery is up to you. While there will be things you can no longer do, that doesn’t mean you can’t live a happy, rewarding life with a new career and an active social life.