Dealing with life despite disability

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog piece, and tonight I felt inspired to write, so here I am.

Tonight, I’m going to talk more about myself, my life and how I’m dealing with everyone.

When I first started this blog, I wrote about my life with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. How it was growing up with it and everything that accompanies having a chronic illness.

A lot has changed since then. I’m older, I’ve been diagnosed with more illnesses such as Fibro and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, just to mention a few. But the illnesses aren’t what I want to talk about this time.

This time, I want to talk about life, how I’ve been handling it, the good and the bad, what I’ve been doing meanwhile, and the hopes and dreams I cherish for the future.

First, I have to say, that for a very, very long time, I think a part of me was just numb; like a part of me didn’t care about anything anymore, because I thought; ‘what’s the point?’ That’s changed now. Even though my health has gotten worse as has my pain, in some way, I feel more alive now than I ever have.

I took me a while to realize that being a young, disabled person unable to work is NOT what defines me. I am what defines me. My actions towards myself and others define me. It’s a bit of a process working that out, and sometimes I still struggle with the concept, but I understand it a lot better than I did several years ago.

This past year has opened my eyes to a lot of things. It has shown me that, just because I cannot work, does not mean I cannot achieve anything. So, I thought about it and what I wanted to achieve, and when it came down to it, I realized I just wanted to touch people’s hearts and become a better person myself in every way I can.

And, there are a LOT of ways to move people. You can move them through art, writing, videos, conversations (about anything and everything). So, that’s where I started.

I created my very own Facebook support group for the chronically ill and disabled, which has grown so much in such a short time, it still amazes me. Even though there have been ups and downs while managing this group, I do know that I’ve connected with and touched people’s hearts, and that they have done the same to me. They helped me realize how strong all of us are, and when we don’t feel so strong, that there is always someone there to help lift you back up.

I think I’ve done some good with this group, and hope to continue to do so and to help and move people the same way they help and move me.

I’ve also decided that, just because I can’t work, does not mean I can’t study. I’m not able to go to a school physically, but I can study official courses on my own, and when the time comes, do the exams for them and hopefully pass.

The first course I chose was Practical Psychology. Not only because it is a subject of interest of mine, but also because I think it will help me understand my friends and members in my group better, so I can talk to them and help them better than I can now, once I’m finished with the course.

The second course is French, which (hopefully) will be part of a series of courses I need to take that will help me obtain my High School diploma. Just because I can’t work, does not mean I can’t have the joy of accomplishing this.

I also spend a lot of time on my various hobbies, all of which really help a lot on the bad days. I’ll do my hobbies on my good days as well, but when I’m having a bad day, they are even more essential aids in lifting my spirits back up. Sometimes you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it is always there, you just have to reach a little harder to see it at certain times.

I am also trying to be a better wife to my husband. My husband is older and wiser than me, but I was very young when we got married, and honestly, did not understand the concept of marriage as much as I thought I did. There’s a lot to learn when you’re in a marriage. Compromise, communication, working together, for example. I’m starting to better myself in these areas, but I still have some ways to go, but that’s alright, I’ll get there sooner rather than later. Because my husband is amazing, and I really would do anything for him, and want to show him that we are indeed in this together, all the way. I’m taking it step by step, but I think I’ve progressed quite a bit since we said our ‘I Do’s’.

And lastly, I have my hopes and dreams for the future; which are, for the most part, pretty down to earth.

I hope that I will continue to be able to help people, not only in my group, but outside of it as well.

I hope I keep the amazing friends I’ve made these past few years for the rest of my life, and that we will be there for each other always.

I hope that my husband and I will have a long and happy life together, despite our struggles with the medical issues and such, and that even long after we leave this earth, our souls will always be intertwined. Carl’s the Angel I’ve wished for since I was about 6 or 7 (it’s a Buffy, the vampire reference, feel free to ask me about it if you don’t understand) and I couldn’t have gotten a better one.

Lastly, I basically have one dream. I’ve had this dream for a very long time, and it might never come true, but without dreams we’re nowhere really.

The dream is this: I want to write a book someday and publish it, and spread my words across the world. I know that I’ve touched various people with my writing pieces, and that already means much more than I can express, and if that’s all I ever get, that’s ok too. But still, this is a dream and I’ve had it since I was a child. So maybe, one day, it might come true. Either way, I’ll keep dreaming.

That was basically all I wanted to say for now. Thank you for reading, and I hope you’ll join me for my next piece as well.

How To Protect Yourself When You’re Disabled

So, recently something happened which made me think of several things, one of those being how to protect oneself when you have a disability.

Now, people with disabilities, especially those with visible disabilities, are seen as ‘easy’ targets to possible assailants. People think that because we have a disability, we are weak! Off course, that is not true, we’re no weaker than any other person. In fact, sometimes a disability can work to your advantage when fending off an attacker.

Now, I will be talking about tips to ensure you are better protected in your home, and then tips to ensure you are more aware of what to do when you face a possible dangerous situation, and what to do when you are faced with fending off an attack. Off course, a lot of these tips are also useful for people without disabilities.

How to better ensure your safety in your own home:

ALWAYS keep your doors locked. Even when you have visitors, lock the door behind them. I have learned from experience that some people are not afraid to break in even when you are at home or have visitors. Keeping your doors locked ensures that they will not be so eager to try that when someone is home.

HAVE some sort of sound system that you can activate when something happens, so your neighbours will be aware they need to call for help when they hear it. Not only is this handy for when there is an intruder, but it also comes in handy for when you fall down and can’t get up, need help and can’t reach the phone to call for it. The alarm will alert others that you are in need of assistance.

ALWAYS have a phone nearby, best to have it on your person. I know not everyone has a cell phone, but for those who do, always keep it with you. So if something happens, you can immediately dial for help.

ALWAYS keep your windows closed and locked during the night or when you’re not home, and make sure they can not be opened from the outside.

USE peep holes in order to identify the individual at the door, before you open the door.

DO NOT hide any spare keys outside of your home, big NO NO!

BE AWARE of everyone who has a key to your home and make sure you trust those individuals with your safety.

IF your car is in the shop being worked on, and you hand over your key chain with car keys, make sure there are no house keys on them!

IF your keys are lost or stolen, IMMEDIATELY change the locks!

IF you think someone is in your house, leave if you are able to and contact the authorities. If you are not able to leave, contact the authorities and hide if you can. If necessary, make a lot of noise in order to alert your neighbour to the fact that something is wrong. It will also throw any intruder off guard if you do that.

Be aware of your surrounding when you go out:

When you go out, be it alone or with company, but especially when you are alone, be very aware of your surroundings. Be aware of the people in your vicinity. Always be on guard, but don’t show that. Show that you are comfortable, strong and not afraid to walk somewhere on your own. If you are alone in the outside world, and you show that you’re afraid or uncomfortable, you show potential attackers that you more accessible to an attack. Be confident, but don’t be cocky!

Always plan ahead! When you go somewhere, even if it’s just the local store, consider the possibilities or what might happen where you are going. Is it a bad neighbourhood? Then you know you need to be extra vigilant and assert a strong personality. Even if it’s a good neighbourhood, you still need to be vigilant. An attack can occur anywhere, anyplace. So always be aware of your environment.

Avoidance! When you see someone or something suspicious, turn around and go the other way. That way, you might be avoiding a possibly dangerous encounter. Running away does not make you a coward, it makes you smart! It is always better to leave than to stay when facing a possible dangerous encounter. Even if it does not look suspicious or dangerous to the person next to you, if it looks that way to you, leave! Don’t mind what others think, always trust your own instincts!

What to do when you ARE attacked:

Sometimes, no matter how vigilant and careful you are, you can’t avoid an attack. Here’s some tips on what to do when an attack does happen.

There are many different types of attacks. For example, someone might come up to you with a  knife or gun and demand you give over your money and/or belongings. When that happens, do what they say! Don’t stare at their faces, don’t protest, simply do it! In such an attack, giving in is usually the safest option and the quickest way to get rid of them. Most robbers will leave if they face no resistance and get what they want. Money or material things are not worth your life! Don’t panic and be smart, don’t try to resist them when they have a clear upper hand over you.

Then there are the attacks that turn physical. Attackers that thrive on the thrill of beating someone up before taking whatever they have. Those attackers are not likely to ask for anything, they’ll just attack. These are the types of situations that demand defending yourself. But how to do that when you have a disability, and are therefore at a disadvantage? Simple, turn your disability into your advantage.

For example, you are attacked from behind while you are in a wheelchair. Use your wheelchair as your weapon of defence. Run your wheelchair over their feet, ram it into their stomach, or against their shins. Same thing when they attack you from the front.

These are some of the weakest parts of an attacker: the throat, eyes, nose, groin, kneecaps and shins. If you are attacked, fight back by attacking those parts of your assailant.

If you are using crutches and you are attacked, your biggest weakness is your instability. You can, however, fight back. You can sit down and use your crutches as weapon of defence. Smack them in the groin, in the knees or the face until they are either incapacitated or run away.

Another important thing to do when you are attacked is to stay calm! It’s very easy to panic in such a situation, but panic will not help you. Therefore, it is important that you stay calm and think one step ahead of the assailant. Also, make NOISE! Scream at the top of your lunges. And do not stop making noise until you are safe!

What you have to understand is, most assailants who go after people with disabilities are convinced that those disabled people will NOT fight back. When you do fight back, you have another advantage: the element of SURPRISE! They will not expect it when you fight back, which in turn will throw them off their ‘game’.

Also, as soon as you get the chance, get as far away from the assailant as you can and contact the authorities. Do NOT clean up or take a shower until you have been properly examined by authorities and given the go ahead to clean up. Also, if you are alone, call a friend or family member to come to you and give you support. It is important to surround yourself with loved ones after such a thing happens.

So, remember, having a disability does NOT mean you are weak! You can just be as strong and able to defend yourself as any other person, you just have to be a bit more creative about it. As said, use whatever means available to defend yourself against an assailant.

I hope you found this blog topic interesting, and feel free to tell me what topic you want me to tackle next. Until next time! Hugs!