Learning to accept my disability

It has taken me a very long time to accept that I have a disability. After 3 years I have accepted there is no easy fix. Indeed, there may not even be a fix and I am struggling. Struggling to adapt to my new situation and struggling to accept my disability as being part of who I am now.

What is a disability?

Under the Equality act of 2010 you are disabled if

you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

After realising I fitted this criteria my husband encourage me to claim for PIP (personal independence payment). There are many horror stories about claims being denied to people in need but thankfully, for me, it was a very straightforward process. I provided the latest surgeons report and was accepted after a face to face meeting. After a further application to the council I received my blue badge. I have to be honest and admit I am in the minority for how smoothly this went and I still don’t understand how the fact I can use a computer proves my disability doesn’t affect my mentally?

Learning to accept my disability

 

Anger

Seeing it in black and white that I am officially classed as having a disability has made me angry. I am angry at myself. Angry at my body and angry at the adaptions I have to make to lead my life. I want to slap the children who tease my children about having a disabled Mom. There is an urge to get out of the car and give a piece of my mind to those who stare when we pull into a disabled bay. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when little old ladies walk past me and leave me for dust on the pavement. The mothers who tut when I cannot get past their pushchairs or trip over their runaway toddlers leave me flushed with embarrassment. The “Why are you still on crutches?” questions make me want to cry. It is not a choice.

Own worst enemy

I hate to ask for help. Offers to do the school run have previously been refused because I am too proud (and stupid) to admit that I need help. I will do things around the house that leave me crying with pain because I don’t want to be a burden. I want to be seen to pull my own weight. Lately though, everything has taken a turn for the worse and I have had to start asking for help. And boy does it stick in my throat.

No more school runs for me. I need to make adaptations around the house too. I struggle to cook dinner or do the ironing because I simply cannot stand long enough. Nobody wants to do the cooking or ironing but I feel like I should or I will be failing as a wife and a mom. My family deserve better and shouldn’t have to adapt their lives to enable me to live mine.

Learning to accept my disability

I have got to get a grip and accept that this is my new reality. There is no magic cure. My proposed hip surgery has no guarantees but the alternative operation is risky. My recent knee injuries have made everything worse and at the moment there is no end point. I have to accept this but also hang on to the fact that there is a possibility that surgery will  help and in a year or so, after very intensive rehab I might be able to walk unaided.

So many have worse disabilities and I know I am fortunate in many ways. I can’t speak for others and how they feel. Many people with disabilities live fabulous, active lives and I admire their get up and go attitude. I can only hope that once I have processes how I am feeling now my attitude will change. Maybe it is like the stages of grief and I have to go through denial and anger and bargaining before I can accept my disability. And without trying to sound trite, it is a kind of grief.

I am grieving for the life I had and the life I expected to live.

 

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26 Comments

  1. 19th September 2018 / 6:16 AM

    I can understand, it is hard to accept a disability especially when it is something that has occurred it is a massive change to adapt X #mmbc

    • Louisa
      Author
      20th September 2018 / 1:30 PM

      It is hard to adapt but hopefully we will find a way forward x

  2. 16th September 2018 / 8:45 AM

    I’m so sorry to hear that you are struggling with your health in such a bad way. Well done for admitting it and grieving for it. It is hard coming to terms with disability and can have repercussions for years. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I found seeing a counsellor really helpful. You can get 6 free sessions through the NHS (or could a few years ago when I finally saw someone anyway) and they help you work through it. The anger is the worst. I still explode and I’ve largely recovered by now.

    • Louisa
      Author
      17th September 2018 / 2:58 PM

      Thanks Carin, I will look into that. Nobody has mentioned counselling before but I think it would actually be really helpful to have somewhere to explore these angry emotions that sometimes overwhelm me x

  3. 16th September 2018 / 8:11 AM

    I can’t begin to imagine just how frustrating it must be for you. I think you are very brave to share your feelings and open up.

    Sadly there are people who are inconsiderate and plain ignorant. What they think doesn’t matter at all. Keep your chin up Louisa!

    Thanks so much for sharing with #MMBC. xx

    • Louisa
      Author
      17th September 2018 / 2:59 PM

      Thanks Jayne, I have to realise that it is them with the problem and not me x

  4. 14th September 2018 / 10:50 AM

    Louisa, you are strong in so many ways – sharing your story & journey so candidly being just one of them. I have never been through this myself (although my younger brother is disabled, as was my nan, and so have seen the struggles second hand), so I can only imagine what you’re going through, however I think it is perfectly understandable to feel as you do and process your feelings in a way of grief. Because as you say, you are grieving. It is important, and healthy, to feel these things, and overcome them as you are; taking each day and stage as it comes. Having this disability doesn’t make you any less of mum, wife, woman, person – I’m sure it doesn’t feel like that at times, but remember you are strong, brave, and doing all that you can currently. Keep talking & keep feeling. Positive thoughts being sent your way. #keepingitreal

    • Louisa
      Author
      17th September 2018 / 3:01 PM

      Thank you Jade. It is reassuring to see so many people understand the emotions I am going through. It can feel very isolating sometimes and sharing and getting support, in whatever form it takes, helps you to feel less alone x

  5. 14th September 2018 / 2:31 AM

    I’m so sorry to hear you are struggling with life and your disability, the first step is to put in support and ask for help, which you’ve taken with PIP, I hope over time you find it easier to ask for help and no longer feel like you’re not a ‘proper’ mum and wife, you sound like you have a lot of love to give from the way you worry about others, despite struggling yourself #keepingitreal

    • Louisa
      Author
      17th September 2018 / 2:56 PM

      Thank you for your kind words. I think it will get easier with time. The first hurdle is always the hardest.

  6. 13th September 2018 / 6:06 PM

    Hi Louisa, I think it’s brave and wonderful that you have shared how you feel openly and honestly. We have to go through a whole load of emotions to get to where we need to be after an unexpected curveball is thrown at us. I myself haven’t been through it, but I do remember feeling all sorts of emotions when my son was diagnosed with his conditions and knowing there are people worse off didn’t really help, at that time I had to work through what we were facing… There will always be those people in life that don’t take time to understand or are quick to judge. Fortunately, people only act as an example of how not to be to the rest of us. Surgery sounds like the way to go, and fingers crossed it works for you.

    Thank you for stopping by and linking up with #keepingitreal.

    xx

    • Louisa
      Author
      17th September 2018 / 2:52 PM

      It is hard to face the more judgmental people. When we pull into a disabled bay you can see people in other cars looking at us and muttering. I feel like waving my crutches in their faces! You are right though that the problem is theirs and I will learn to ignore them and move forward in a more positive fashion x

  7. 12th September 2018 / 2:59 PM

    Well done, you’ve made a massive step in admitting that you are not the healthy person you once were. It’s such a difficult thing to do, but it means that you are beginning to accept it. I have only been disabled for three years and I’m totally with you on all you say, it’s so hard to accept your disability and to ask for or even accept help. I do believe that acceptance brings a new way of thinking and hopefully a better outlook on life in general. I really hope so. Never, give up hope of relief or a cure, but do realise that it’s not your fault that you need more help. x

    • Louisa
      Author
      17th September 2018 / 2:49 PM

      Thanks Anne, yes I agree that asking for help is the hardest part. It actually sticks in my throat to admit it but once it’s done it does get easier every time. Hopefully, now I have almost accepted this new reality I can start to move forward in a more positive way x

  8. 11th September 2018 / 11:38 PM

    I think you nailed it when you described the stages of grief but remember with intense rehab you will gain at least some of what you lost and there’s nothing wrong with accepting help. I’ve had to modify a lot of things because of my knees and know that giving up causes more pain mentally and physically. When you give up maybe you’re taking a much-needed rest.
    Blogging probably helps and there are many alternatives to you making dinner or at least the kind of dinners you’re used to preparing. Finding like-minded folks in support groups, in town, through your physician or therapists and online may help.

    • Louisa
      Author
      17th September 2018 / 2:47 PM

      Thank you for you words of support Jeanna. I do find that blogging helps to let go of all those pent up emotions. I am investing in a new slow cooker to help with the tea times and hope to make other changes where necessary too.

  9. 11th September 2018 / 11:23 PM

    I just put my hearing aids in after a long summer without them. It is tough to admit I need them. #keepingitreal

    • Louisa
      Author
      17th September 2018 / 2:44 PM

      It is hard to admit when we need a little extra help

  10. 11th September 2018 / 3:16 PM

    Bless you. I am not on crutches or as bad off as you are, but I have at least had a taste of not being able to do normal, healthy people things at a young age. It is SO frustrating. I’ve been lucky because my joint problems (psoriatic arthritis) come and go. So while yesterday cleaning house in 5 minute intervals left me flat on my back on the sofa in pain, I also have weeks where I can work rather normally. What you’re going through is much harder, and we would all feel the same way in your shoes, and many of us would not handle it as well and with the determination that you are displaying. You are a warrior is what you are.

    • Louisa
      Author
      11th September 2018 / 5:14 PM

      Thank you so much April for your lovely, supportive comment. I understand your frustration. Sometimes we have to choose what we have the energy to do that day and leave the rest unattended to. It can make me feel like I’m not doing enough but I have to make changes so I can get trough the day. I hope you have treatment options for your arthritis and supportive people around you to ease the workload x

  11. 11th September 2018 / 10:19 AM

    This is a great post, I am also disabled since suffering a massive stroke, I went through the why me? Stage, but have now learned to except it, I can’t change what happened, so I try to make the best of what I still have #,keepi gitreal@_karendenIs

    • Louisa
      Author
      11th September 2018 / 1:02 PM

      Hi Karen, I am sorry to hear you have had a stroke. I guess I am still in the why me stage but hope that I can soon learn to accept the cards I have been dealt. Is there anything that helped you to come to terms with what had happened or any adaptations that helped you to cope? You sound like you are in a much more positive place than I am at the moment and it’s reassuring for me to hear that this will change in time. Thank you so much for your comment x

  12. 10th September 2018 / 11:34 PM

    Sending hugs and strength lovely xx

    • Louisa
      Author
      11th September 2018 / 12:54 PM

      Thanks Stephanie x

  13. 10th September 2018 / 4:33 PM

    I understand your anger and struggle. I have felt many of your emotions. Our self image isn’t one of someone who needs help. It’s hard to change that. Keep fighting girl! #MMBC

    • Louisa
      Author
      11th September 2018 / 12:54 PM

      You are so right about self image Carol. It is an adjustment that I will have to change and accept

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