Thursday, July 30, 2015

DISABILITY CHALLENGE - HAVE PATIENCE WITH YOURSELF



DISABILITY CHALLENGE - HAVE PATIENCE WITH YOURSELF

(Learn to pace yourself and allow loved ones to help.

Having patience with my disabled self was a challenge to me.  I've tried never to be a whiner, but sometimes I can be too hard on myself.  I've tried to lighten up. I set challenging goals and standards for myself, but I've lowered the bar to a reasonable height.  It relieved a lot of stress and aggravation just slowing the pace down a little to accommodate my limitations. 

I felt, because I was disabled I had something to prove to others.  Sometimes checking your ego at the door makes a world of difference.  Now I pitch in and do what I can rather than cop the attitude, 'I can work circles around you and get it done without your help.'

Relying on others caused me frustration and resentment.  That's a particularly difficult one for me because I forgot that helping is good for the helper as well as the person being helped.  Accepting a hand when necessary doesn't mean lazing around all day being fanned and hand-fed by minions, just graciously accepting help and kindness when others offer it.  It makes them feel good.  And then there's my best friend's perspective: She said, "Terri, if the situation were reversed, would you do this for me?"  She got an immediate, "of course!" And so I chilled out about letting her help me.  When I'm able, I find ways to help her too.  Because that's what friends do: help each other. 

Multi-tasking was driving me insane.  I would rather do one or two chores well than do several chores inadequately or leave them unfinished.  I keep an ongoing to-do list from which I choose a couple of items every morning.   Once they're complete I choose a couple more.  I give myself extra time to complete tasks because my routine includes dealing with the disability obstacle course and often learning to use new equipment.

I learned to rest before I started hurting. If you don't slice a pizza and chew it bite by bite you're going to choke.  Same with daily activity; break it into manageable blocks with plenty of time for your body to rest and heal in between.  Pacing myself eliminated not only pain and discomfort, but also a major source of stress and frustration. 

I admitted I was depressed.  My answer was to try some St. John's Wort, and it, along with a little daily meditation changed my entire attitude and outlook on life.  I never miss a dose, and I get the meditation in too because I care enough about the people around me to care for myself. 

Gaining patience for yourself is a work in progress.  When you're frustrated, try and look at yourself the way others look at you, and cut yourself some slack.

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