How to Persevere With a Disability

Struggling through life with any set-backs is hard. This article will tell you the steps that are required in order to persevere through any situation.


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    Talk to somebody who will volunteer their time to listen to your problem. Especially talk to people who share your disability and have lived with it for years. They know a lot about its emotional and social challenges as well as a host of runarounds for your physical limits.
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    Listen to your support person's questions. You're given time to vent, and do so as your please. But when asked questions: make sure you listen to them and really think about the answers. Sometimes these questions can lead you into new ways of looking at your life.
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    If your situation is overwhelming, stop and sort it out. Try to break it into the multiple different problems that exist. How to get along with an unpleasant relative is not the same problem as how to get disability benefits. How to survive on a fixed income is not the same as how to get along with your roommate. Some of these problems may connect with each other but once you sort out the different ones, you can look at each of them separately without feeling overwhelmed. Success in dealing with any of them can make it easier to face the others.
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    Go through your problem step by step. What happened has happened. Try to figure out why it happened. What sort of events took place that changed your current situation?
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    Calm down. Get a glass of water if you're on edge or frustrated. Let it all out. All of it. Then take the time to practice breathing and move forward.
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    Think rationally. Use logic to solve your problems.
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    Give yourself a break. Take time away from worrying about your problems to focus on a distraction like a good movie or a book. When you take time off from worrying, sometimes your unconscious mind can come up with a solution better than you'd think of consciously.
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    List everything you like about yourself. Don't put anything negative on the list. Do include everything you think is cool like your taste in clothes or music, your political opinions, your talents and abilities, your experiences. The list will be a lot longer than you think it is with more important things on it than you expected.
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    Avoid negative, patronizing or humiliating people. This is easier said than done if some of them are people you have to depend on for necessities. If so, start looking into alternatives and independent living. It's almost impossible to deal with anything else when you live in a dysfunctional relationship. The dysfunctional person will create drama and an urgent emotional crisis anytime you try to accomplish anything because that might mean you won't be as dependent.
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    Real dependence attracts codependents. This is true in the helping professions as well as in family relationships. Find a good counselor. Seek support groups and read self help books. Understand and apply assertiveness rather than aggression, passivity or passive-aggressive tactics. Seek help to get out of dangerous and destructive situations.
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    Give yourself time to grieve when you suffer a loss, whether that's the initial reaction to your disability or the loss of a relationship. Don't expect yourself to be perfect or not feel the pain. It's better to grieve, be real and let the feelings go. Anger can be turned into positive action if you think through practical things you can do to improve your life.
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    Trust yourself. Grief is a process, not a lifetime. Eventually what you have to live with being disabled will become the "new normal," things you're used to all the time don't hurt as much. Instead you'll have good days and bad days as often as anyone else. Getting used to it is hard but don't get used to having a low opinion of yourself - that just isn't right. You had some bad luck being disabled but that's all it is, not a character flaw or a deserved punishment. No one has a right to disrespect you or abuse you. Seek real help if they do.
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    Find something to study, practice or learn such as art, music, chess, sports trivia, anything that you can make a little progress in every day. Date your efforts. Chart your progress. Pat yourself on the back for every bit of progress. A daily achievement of any kind can do a lot to help rebuild self esteem or maintain it. Make sure it's something you want to do rather than just doing what other people tell you to.
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    Set realistic goals for yourself, especially in the short term. Listing goals and gradually achieving them does a lot to improve anyone's life. Daily achievements can add up to something good. Monthly goals might be to improve function with your disability, expand your social life, spend more time with loved ones, read books you always wanted to get around to reading, etc. Make long term goals like "become self supporting again" or "become an important volunteer at my church/club" but don't set a date for them - just keep them in mind and work toward them with daily, weekly and monthly goals.
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    At New Year's make sure you don't do the traditional self-denial style of resolutions. Set an annual goal that's either so easy you know you'll do it like "watch 12 movies I always wanted to see" or so pleasant that you know you'll do it without saying how often, like "Spend more time with friends." Most people make self defeating New Year's resolutions but this is depressing - you can't afford self denial when life already denied you ordinary things everyone else takes for granted. You're better off reaching for things you enjoy enough that they'll improve your life from the first time you add them to your goals. "Enjoy life more" might be the best one.


  • It's exhausting going through a divorce, break-up or financial woes. The key to remember is that "going through it" means there is another side. You will someday have good days again, you will have real achievements and eventually you'll get assistance instead of having to struggle with bare survival. Make sure you get enough rest, or try to even if pain and symptoms interfere. Eat as well as you can, take care of your health to the best of your ability but let yourself grieve. Grief is a process that does come to an end.

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Categories: Disability Issues