4 Helpful Coping Mechanisms For Individuals Living With A Disability

It is no secret that living with a disability is difficult. Acceptance is something we are always searching for. It is the destination that all disabled individuals hope to arrive at one day soon. As members of humanity, we are pressured to pick ourselves back up when we are having a less than spectacular day.

We as disabled people seem to be under a unique set of pressures to be at our best all the time. We are some of the strongest-willed people you will ever come across. However, it is important for others to be mindful that we are humans, too, and we deal with a more than full plate every second of the day.

Therefore, it is my goal in this article to explain some of the coping mechanisms I use every day as a person who lives with a disability. I have Cerebral Palsy, and I am wheelchair dependent. This can be stressful at times, especially when you add in the fact that I also am dealing with chronic pain conditions such as hip dysplasia, Hip Osteoarthritis, and severe right knee osteoarthritis and tendinitis.

I will be honest, dealing with all of this with Cerebral Palsy added on can be very taxing, both emotionally and particularly physically. I have had numerous nervous breakdowns, and I have wished that I could just have one normal day that was free of the pressures of being disabled.

I screamed until my throat hurt and my voice was all but gone. I cried until I was shaken to my very soul and had my tears blur my vision in a bit of a dizzying fit. It took me a long time to realize that this was not a terrible thing at all. It made me human, and no human always has their life perfectly together.

Growing up, I was always seen as the girl who was always smiling despite my many challenges. It is true, I am a happy person most of the time. However, given my happy reputation, I had always been intent on never letting anyone around me down, and I thought that showing that I was not always happy would be a letdown. I know that this sounds ludicrous to the public, but this is how I felt being under constant pressure.

However, now that I have evolved and grown older, I realize that this way of thinking was out of line with what was the truth. I know now that others understand that I sometimes have a dreadful day, and this doesn’t make me a negative person; it just makes me human and that much more relatable.

I realize that everyone’s coping mechanisms and ways of dealing with high-pressure and stressful situations vary from one person to the next, but I thought it might be helpful for me to share some of the ways I deal with the stressors of living with a disability and chronic pain conditions personally. These tips are as follows:

1. Find a routine and do your absolute best to adhere to it.

I work best when I form a routine. I am mostly homebound, so finding things that keep my mind occupied and busy is especially important. I am an independent writer, so sticking to a writing schedule helps me maintain productivity. I do my best to write four days a week. It does not necessarily mean working on a project. I just try to write in any sort of form to hone and perfect my skills.

2. Find a hobby that will keep you busy and work on it often.

I am almost certain that you have heard about the adult coloring craze that has been a part of the world for quite some time. I have always loved to color, and I am blessed with hand use and dexterity to be able to color well. I absolutely love it and set goals for myself each week, like picking a different theme or book to color in for the week. I am also a sufferer of anxiety and depression, and coloring has also been tremendously helpful in coping with both mental challenges.

3. Find something that makes you smile and brings about happiness and visit those resources often.

I personally adore watching YouTube videos that feature food. I, like many of my fellow humans, love to eat. So, watching taste tests and eating challenges are some of the many videos I enjoy. I also love watching family channels and joining as they document their daily lives. Because my life is so atypical, I love to see what goes on behind the scenes of many families who may have a more enticing and exciting life when compared to mine.

4. Practice self-care and self-awareness.

Both elements are essential to my daily life. As I have gotten older, I have made myself more of a priority. I make sure I spend quality time with myself in mind and take the time to self-reflect and genuinely think about where my life’s path may be headed, and if that life path is one of satisfaction. I spent so much of my younger years taking care of others and putting myself on the back burner. As a result, I suffered severely with myself as a whole and individualistic person. I have come an exceedingly long way, and I am extremely proud of myself for achieving the happiness and feeling of contentment I had always desperately longed for. Remember that you must be an advocate for yourself and do what is best for you in the end.

Stress is a factor of life, and the truth is, it will never go away, especially for us in the disabled community. Becoming flustered and annoyed with life is a given at times, particularly when our bodies and brains refuse to listen and cooperate, but just know that these feelings of stress and discontentment are completely normal.

It is my hope that some of my coping mechanisms and tips help my fellow disabled community and lead you to a more peaceful and comfortable life.