How to Cope with Sudden Illness or Disability Disability Information

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How to Cope with Sudden Illness or
Information provided by Martina Roe - Published: 2009-07-28
Illness and disability might come in many forms. Some illnesses and disabilities have to
be faced from birth; others are developed during people’s lifetime.
They can come on suddenly or gradually develop over many years without the person knowing
about it. People are usually genetically predisposed but illnesses can also be the result of the
polluted environment or the lifestyle we adopt. Coming to terms with any illness is not easy and
might take a long time especially when your illness surprises you all of a sudden.
Imagine that you are happy, you life is going very well and you are very proud of all your
You have got a great family and circle of friends until one day something very unfortunate
happens to you. You become ill or have an accident and you can no longer enjoy life as you
used to. Suddenly everything seems to be falling apart. All kinds of scenarios may come up; you
might no longer be in a position to support your family financially, you could lose your job, simply
your dreams are falling apart.
This is the hardest time and naturally you will be down about it, yet with a few changes you might
still be able to live your life to the full. The following easy steps should help you in the right
1. Allow yourself time to come to terms with your illness
I understand fully how you feel. The whole world is upside down and you are in the middle of it
believing life will never be the same again with you just being miserable fighting your illness or
disability. You might lose your friends because you will no longer be able to socialize as you
used to. But this is also the time to find out who your real friends are.
They will be there to support you and do anything that is in their strength. They will, however, not
feel sorry for you forever and you will have to find out soon that if the only topic of conversation is
your illness, with time even your kind hearted friends will lose interest. It is also important for you
to judge, whether your friends are honest with you.
Even though it might not be obvious to you some of your friends could be taking advantage of
you and drain you emotionally. My sister, before her marriage broke up, used to look for
emotional support from her friends. Someone, who she really trusted and thought highly of,
actually used to say to her things which were making her feel even more depressed and she did
not realise it at that time. Once I went to see her friend too and she told me nasty things about
my father that were not true, with a view to manipulate one of his decisions about my future
education. I was on top of things so I just ignored it and did not think highly of my sister’s friend
but she could not do it herself at that time. Later she realised how much her friend was harming
her and stopped visiting her.
Thinking positively is no easy matter but it is important to be enthusiastic about life again. There
are only two choices for you to make. You can stay depressed and complain about your
problems till the rest of your life or you have the option of trying to make most of your life even
with all your limitations. We all know that cancer patients who remain positive live longer than
those who become very depressed. The same applies to any chronic illness or disability. My
sister’s first husband lost his leg in an accident. He eventually drank himself to death. If he had
taken a more positive approach and enjoyed the little things that remained to him, he could have
still been here with us enjoying all the achievements of his daughter who is now in her twenties.
Allow yourself time to let all the negative emotions to go first, which might take time. It is good to
know that there are people who you can talk to and counselling might be especially appropriate
at this time. I found the help of a counsellor especially helpful at the stage of my life when I
myself became ill and could no longer achieve my own goals. I was always very ambitious and
performed very well at school. Everyone thought highly of me and believed I would do very well
in my life. I remember people did not approve when I chose not to go to University. After I had my
children, however, I studied part time with the Open University and finally got my degree. I
wanted to become a teacher of modern foreign languages but unfortunately an illness stopped
me from pursuing my ambitious plans. I found it very difficult to accept and even thought life was
not worth living. I felt frustrated because I was not getting better; my illness was to stay forever.
There is no remedy or pill. I kept asking myself why did this have to happen to me, why is life so
When I was about 10 years old my mother went with her friends to see a healer who made a
diagnosis from the retina of your eyes. As a young child I was constantly ill and on antibiotics
with pneumonias, ear infections, or tonsillitis. I eventually grew out of these illnesses but was
always aware of them. The lady healer looked at my eyes and told my mother that I was healthy
then but one day I would be ill. I never worried about these words but when I became ill I
suddenly realised she was right. I could do nothing about it, I had to accept it and start a new life.
At that difficult time of my life it was really good to talk. I was aware, however, that conversations
with my family and friends just became dominated by my illness and that this was no fun for them
and arranged counselling. My counsellor could understand my problems better than anybody
else. I could not comprehend why anything so unfortunate had to happen to me.
I never did anything wrong, to the contrary I always thought of others before I thought of myself.
But my counsellor and others told me not to think like that. It is just the way life is and there is no
point trying to find an answer why. The important point to realise though is that illness is not a
punishment of something wrong you have done. My counsellor also told me to enjoy and
appreciate the good things in my life that I still have and I always think of that because I have
many great things to enjoy in my life that help me to forget the hard side of life.
The process of accepting your illness or disability can be a long one. It is absolutely normal to
feel depressed as long as you are enjoying it. But you will soon start to realise that feeling sorry
for yourself will get you nowhere. You still have a life that you can enjoy; you can review what
your strengths are and what you can still do. Now is the time not to dwell in the past but
concentrate on the things you can still do in the future. Consider all your strengths, the
qualifications you have; seek the help of a career advisor who will be more than happy to help
you find a suitable job you might still be able to do bearing in mind your limitations. I shall come
back to your career opportunities in strategy number 7.
Take time to accept your new situation
Talk about your problems – seek help of a professional counsellor
Start to think of your strengths rather than concentrate on your weaknesses
Rethink your career opportunities.
2. You are not alone – make most of all help and support groups
Sometimes I take a lady from the neighbourhood shopping with me. Like me she has health
problems, some of them are similar to mine.I truly enjoy talking to her.
We can complain to each other about our problems, we can learn from each other how we deal
with our ailments, what remedies alleviate our symptoms or which alternative therapies are
helpful. We share a common problem and I know she will not be bored. We can put ourselves
into each other’s shoes easily. But I know that the rest of the world including my family will not
understand or be interested in what I am going through. I have therefore learnt not to bring up the
subject of my illness in front of others.
This might be difficult because you might want to share your problems with your friends but you
do not want to bore them with it. It’s therefore better to think of matters, which are more cheerful
and positive. Or just listening to your friends will do the trick - people just love to talk and will
appreciate that you listen. At the end of the day if you recount to people how hard life is treating
you, they will only tell you how much harder their life is.
Rarely might you come across somebody who understands and will be willing to listen to you but
apart from these rare individuals you have to find those who will like to share their own problems
with you. I have a friend who has health problems but never mentioned them in front of me. As
soon as I let her know that I became ill she suddenly flooded me with e-mails, how she herself
was not well and how she coped with it. Her normal messages of a few lines suddenly turned into
long pages. She knew I would understand and that I would not be bored.
I first thought that there was nobody else who had to suffer in the same way as I do. It was only
when I got to know my friend with similar health problems, I realised, I was not alone. I learnt
there were others who had to endure similar difficulties. Sometimes they manage to cope well;
other times they find it harder to cope. But they can be there to support each other.
It is therefore only to your advantage to join support groups and be there for each other learning
from your strength. I know of people who complain of such groups not seeing any point in them.
They argue that at the end of the day they still have to come to their own homes, being unable to
pay for all their bills and having to cope on their own. Support groups will naturally not solve all
people’s problems, but they can help people overcome some of the unpleasant sides of life.
It is important to appreciate all the help of the professionals who organise these support groups
and put people in contact. You can either ignore them or make most of them. The choice is
yours. When I was coming to terms with my new situation I was given a contact of a woman’s
group. When I looked at the details I could see that this group was intended for women with
mental health problems. Even though I was depressed I was not suffering from long-term mental
health problems. I therefore ignored this particular group. Your own family members might
sometimes not approve of you joining such groups. They might feel that you will just become
absorbed with your illness thinking of nothing else and making yourself even more ill by
analysing what you suffer or not suffer from. Do not look for your relatives’ approval. Instead
decide what works best for you. Like with everything else in life take the middle route, do not go
into extremes. Enjoy the support of your like-minded friends but only to enrich your life. Do not
get stuck in complaints about your misfortune.Surround yourself with people with whom you feel
great, avoid people who are distracting you from achieving your goal.
Try to be yourself; do not listen to criticisms of other people. And do not compare yourself to
celebrities who look ‘perfect’. They only look perfect in magazines but they have real problems of
their own.
You are not on your own, there are others with similar problems you can join forces with
Use the support of others in similar position like yours to enrich each other’s lives
Use the middle route; it is OK to complain about your position in the short term, in the long-term
concentrate on the positive.
Feeling sorry for yourself will take you nowhere.
3. Nurture yourself
I have a question for you to which I would like you to give me a sincere answer.
Who is the most precious person in your life, who do you value most? Give it a thought before
you read on.
Your partner, your child or perhaps your parent? Was this your possible answer?
I am sure all these people mean a lot to you otherwise you would not be naming them. But there
might be times when even they can let you down.The only person you can always trust is you.I
know it sounds funny but you will always be in your own company. You can either cheer yourself
up or make yourself miserable. But first of all you need to take care of yourself and make sure
that you can keep yourself as healthy as possible.
Naturally you cannot cure your illness or disability but you can learn how to live your live to the
best - that is how to relieve your symptoms in the best possible way.
There is so much you can do to help yourself feel better. We are all different and not every
remedy or therapy will help everybody with the same health problem. Take for example allergies
– they all work on the same principle when the body starts to defend itself against substances
which are normally not harmful, yet the symptoms can be so different ranging from runny nose,
itchy or weepy eyes, sneezing, rushes, eczema and digestive problems to name the few. It is
therefore understandable that some remedies will work for some but not for others. A lot of
people have said they tried so many remedies or therapies and nothing ever worked. Some
therapies take longer to kick in and it is important to be patient and observe the changes, which
are happening to your body. Often the most effective self-help techniques are the easiest ones.
Think for example of the time when you try to imagine throwing all your negative thoughts and all
your pain into the bin and getting rid of them. This is known as a visualisation technique and you
can imagine almost anything you wish; you can let your imagination work. Imagine yourself being
strong, as a leader, as someone who can make it to the top of the mountain. Or think of yourself
lying on the beach, sunbathing and the sun’s energy travelling into each part of your body
making you feel warm and energised. You might be amazed that by imagining it you can actually
get all the benefits of it happening in real life. You could also consider autogenic training, where
you will learn to relax and it might even help you go to sleep if you are experiencing problems
with your sleep.
Try and find something that you enjoy, develop an interest or a hobby. You might enjoy a good
story or just a cup of tea can be nicely spent just on your own. It is much easier to work hard at
achieving something for which others will say well done. It is much harder accepting that
because of your illness nobody will say well done for something you really wanted to achieve but
could not. Nobody will praise you for coping with your illness so say it yourself each day.
“Well done for coping so well.”
Praise yourself for any little achievement of the day no matter how small. If it helps put your
favourite poem on the wall or any positive quotes to remind you every time you pass that place?
Were you more positive today than yesterday? Then I would like to congratulate you. I send
praise to all of you.
Learn how to exercise can help you. The problem with exercise when you are ill is that you do
not feel like it because you experience too much pain, stiffness or lack of energy. But it is often
exercising that helps to alleviate stiffness or muscular pain. It is important to find the right
exercise for you, gentle exercise is more appropriate than anything vigorous and the rules are
little and often. Be persistent; do not expect any immediate results immediately. Likewise it is
important that you follow a healthy diet. You should certainly not be embarking on any drastic
diets to lose weight. Some of the diets to lose weight can actually cause havoc to your health.
Very often people who lose weight after dieting gain it back sooner or later. This is actually more
dangerous to your health than maintaining the same weight at all times; the body has to deal with
the skin constantly expanding and shrinking when people lose and gain weight too often. It is
important to eat regularly. Small portions more often are healthier than big portions less
frequently. It is crucial that all the food groups (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) are included in
your diet.In this respect please note that diets, which only involve one of the food groups, can be
very dangerous for your health. And naturally always consult your GP if you want to embark on
any new diet plan.
It is important to realise that you are the person who matters most
Make yourself comfortable and do something you enjoy each day
Praise yourself for all your little achievements
Follow a healthy, well balanced diet and if possible try to do light exercise each day.
4. Learn how you can best help yourself feel better
Try and find out as much as you can about your particular health problem. Alternative therapies
are a great way of harmonising your energy and the practitioners at alternative therapy clinics will
be more than happy to advise you on which therapy would be most suited for you. The clinic
might also run courses that will help you to apply some methods on your own. Naturally you will
not be able to do everything. It takes practitioners of acupuncture years of study and practise
before mastering the skills in their field and you would certainly not be able to apply any of the
techniques on your own. You can, nevertheless, learn about acupressure or reflexology points
and apply them regularly yourself. You can find out about which point corresponds to which
organ in your body and which points would be more beneficial to press for you, how frequently
and in which sequences.
I try to practise acupressure or reflexology on myself regularly and am quite amazed how much
sensitivity or pain I can feel in the points that represent the organs of my body which are not
functioning too well. I get also slightly excited that I am a bit of an expert on the subject. I feel it
works because of the sensitivity of the points and I can help others to apply the same techniques.
If you do not feel like pressing reflexology points on your feet you can just walk without your
shoes on grass, on sandy or pebbly beach. In the past when people did not wear shoes and with
no hard surfaces their feet were constantly massaged in the same way that the principles of
reflexology healing work. Stepping over small stones is very beneficial because you activate and
massage all the reflexology points at the same time. And there is so much more you can do to
help yourself.
Learn from books or courses how you can help yourself (many local health authorities organise
courses for people how to deal with any long term health condition)
Give the techniques which are recommended to relieve your particular symptom a try
Find out what works for you
Stick to the remedies or self help techniques which work best for you and be persistent (naturally
follow any breaks which are recommended – for example you are always advised to have a
break from herbal treatments in regular intervals).
5. Concentrate on the present, do not dwell in the past or worry about the
Have your caught yourself ever saying, “If this did not happen I would not get myself in the state I
am in. I should have done things differently and so on?” Such claims might or might not be true, it
does not really matter. What matters is that you try to ignore such thoughts because they will not
help you advance in your life. You might be experiencing pain because someone has wronged
you in the past. My sister keeps constantly reminding our mother how badly she brought her up
and that she never had time for her, basically drawing attention to the mistakes our mother
made. Some of these accusations might be true, others are not really justified but that is not
important. What matters is that my sister should let go of these feelings of hurt otherwise she will
always feel grudge against her mother and it will not help her advance in the relationship. In any
case it is something, which happened in the past and can no longer be changed, so there is not
much point trying to change it. If my sister really wanted to improve her relationship with our
mother she should concentrate on ways how the relationship between them could be improved.
As a child I was sexually abused by my uncle, luckily for me he died when I was 14 years old. As
I wanted to move on in my life I forgave him when he passed away, otherwise I would just live my
life full of anger with images of what happened haunting me all the time. Such feelings of anger
can sometimes completely dominate your life making you even ill. For your own sake it is
important to let go of these ill feelings, this will naturally not be easy and you might need to seek
help of a psychiatrist or a counsellor. But it is important to free yourself of any such feelings. You
cannot forget but you have to forgive so you can live a happier and more fulfilling life. If you ever
experience disturbing thoughts from the past you can keep saying to yourself. “What happened
in the past happened, I let it go, I let it go, I let it go, I shall now put it behind me and concentrate
on the present. There are good things for me to build on so I can achieve my dream one day.”
The present is the most important part of your life. Take a moment to reflect on how you feel.
Can you experience the ‘here and now? Can you sit down for 5 minutes to be in a calm state
concentrating on deep breaths without any thoughts spreading to your mind? Unless you
practised this kind of meditation before I am sure you found this exercise difficult. Meditation
techniques are very beneficial because they help us discover more who we are. That is not an
easy matter in today’s extremely stressful society.
Reflect now on the thoughts, which were springing into your mind. Did you worry about your
problems for which you have no answer? This is completely normal. As a result of your illness or
disability you might have less power to influence matters in your life. I myself often worry what
will happen to my children, or what if my illness deteriorates quickly and so on. But such worries
are useless; they will only make my life more difficult and I am learning not to worry about
anything that might go wrong in the future. Worrying only helps us to let our worries come alive.
Mothers often worry about their children being cold or catching a cold and would not let them
play with cold water. Children often feel warmer than adults and it is therefore better just to take a
jumper with you rather than forcing them to wear it. The funny think is that if children catch a cold
in the majority of cases it is not because they were cold or got wet (even though this might
increase their chances of catching a cold). Usually a virus spreads around and everybody has it
at the same time.My husband always complains about rain, yet it is his hostile attitude towards
rain that makes him more uncomfortable than the rain itself. At the end of the day a bit of rain
that we can feel on our bodies is only beneficial for us in the same way as walking barefoot in the
wet morning grass.
I know and have accepted that I shall never live into my nineties as my grandmother did but then
what does it matter. I am hypothesizing about something, which would be happening a long time
away from now. Instead I rather concentrate on this very moment making sure that I am enjoying
life to the full, that I give the right support and guidance to my children and that I can see them
grow into responsible citizens. Even though your life is or seems to you to be much harder than
anybody else’s do not imagine it to be harder. In our actions we often follow what our mind tells
us to do. Make sure you give it positive commands. Do not worry about the future, sure you want
to plan for it and see where you are going. It is only positive to have a dream or a challenge for
your future. Your dream can, however only be achieved if you set yourself little challenges which
you achieve day by day.
Do not dwell in the past
Forgive those who have wronged you
Do not worry of what could go wrong in the future – just let anxiety and worry go and allow reality
to happen instead
Do not believe things will end badly.
6. Try to eliminate stress from your life
As we all know stress contributes greatly to many illnesses. Stress in small dosage is useful but
on a large scale can be very negative.
When our body senses danger it prepares to flee in which case our heart rate increases. If we
experience such states too often our health suffers as a result. The slower our heart rate the
longer our life. Breathing exercises can help us calm down influencing our heart in a positive
way. Take deep slow breaths to the count of 5.
Are you breathing properly? Let’s make a test. Stand or sit straight in front of a mirror. Take one
deep breath and watch yourself.
Did your shoulders move up? Then you are not breathing properly as you are breathing through
your chest and not through your abdomen. Now put your hand on your abdomen and take some
more breaths. Can you feel your hand move up and down? Then you are breathing correctly. Try
and practise this deep breathing exercise each day for a few minutes. You will then start to adopt
such breathing automatically throughout the day.
If you find it difficult to sleep then deep breathing can also help you to relax and go to sleep.
Sleep is naturally very important. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day ensuring
that you have at least eight hours’ sleep.The need for the length of sleep will naturally vary from
individual to individual. Try to free yourself from all worries or any anger, relax the hour before
going to bed with a gentle music or a book, anything which will help you go to sleep better. Do
not watch television just before going to bed and if at all possible, have your bedroom television
free. Just think how parents put their small children to bed. They pamper them with a bath and
once they are nice and cosy in bed they read them a bedtime story or sing a lullaby. We know it
works for little children but we do not apply it to ourselves.
We should try and live in harmony with everybody else. This might not always be easy. I know
myself that the relations in our neighbourhood are rather tense. When I consider my family there
is always an argument of one sort or another going on. The neighbours in our road always fight
for parking spaces, especially during the weekends. One day our neighbour could not find a
parking space so she parked her car in front of her garage but at the same time blocked an
entrance to our second neighbour’s garage. He did not like it and asked her to move the car. At
the end they started to argue. The arguments ended up in violence with the police having to be
involved.In such arguments it is difficult to judge who is to blame because both parties are
equally guilty, but the lesson to learn is not to get involved in such arguments or learn how to
deal with them constructively. If you are angry with somebody take a few deep breaths and
explain calmly to the person why you are angry and what you would like the person to do
instead. Do not swear at anybody or accuse them of being an idiot, the response you will be
getting should be less hostile. Write down on a piece of paper something similar to the following
“I can express my anger, irritability or rage politely and effectively. It does not matter who with or
what the issue is.” Do not forget that if you can’t do so it is likely that you are constantly
increasing your blood pressure which is not good for your heart.
Our neighbour has learnt a lesson not to park in front of the other neighbour’s garage.
Sometimes it is better to avoid conflictive situations even if it means an effort. In the case of our
neighbour it is the inconvenience of parking her car a bit further away from her house and having
to walk slightly further. But then walking is healthy; she might even be doing something for her
health. Actually she is doing rather a lot of walking at the moment because she was drink driving
and had her licence taken away from her for a year.
When it comes to arguments and judging people I like to become non judgemental. Our
neighbour no longer lives next to us but I have remained a good friend of hers. She has
supported me incredibly well when I was at my lowest and all I am doing is praising her for that.
She might have some faults but then we all do, and often it is impossible to put ourselves into
other people’s shoes and understand why they behave the way they do. Before I had my own
children I sometimes used to see children who were really naughty, full of tantrums in the streets,
and could not comprehend how their parents could let them behave in such an awful manner.
But when I had my own children I finally realised that even they have their difficult moments. In
such situations I would say to myself that there must be others who are judging me in the same
way as I used the judge the parents of the naughty children.
New information and communication technologies are making our lives easier and especially
people who are not very mobile benefit greatly from these. But there are naturally some very
negative features. As well as encouraging a less healthy and more sedentary lifestyles modern
technologies take the human touch away from us. Children find it more difficult to interact with
each other when they spend hours on the computer and many families now are deciding to have
their home computer and television free as it makes their family lives more stress free. Children
might resist such idea first but later they become more creative and can interact better with their
parents, siblings and friends. It might be an idea to review your use of modern technologies and
possibly restrict their use, if at all possible. It is always nicer to meet your friends in person than
just send e-mails to them.
I have also found that prayers can help you have a positive attitude and keep you peaceful. They
work very much like hypnosis; you believe there is some higher spiritual being that is helping you
overcome your problems. As a child I grew up in Prague under the communist regime. At that
time you were not allowed to practise your religion and only could do so in secret. My family went
to Church on Sundays, but because discussing matters was also not on the agenda under the
communist regime, I never quite understood the concept of God till I was in my teens. By then
the communist regime was breaking down. Since then I believed sometimes very strongly but I
also, like everyone else, had my doubts at other times. When I feel better, I believe in God
strongly, but when I feel ill, I can doubt his existence. Yet I know this is somehow wrong. You
yourself might be going through very similar mixed feelings. But I am always assured that God
will be there for me even if I doubted him that he will forgive me and be there for me even though
I might occasionally doubt his existence. I once assembled some prayers and put them on a
website. One energy healer said to me that the prayer page was full of energy. His comment
reassured me that with good intentions you would always be surrounded by positive energy.
I pray simple prayers every day, just keeping it simple, thanking God for all the great things he
gave me, teaching me to get on well with everybody else, not to bear a grudge against anybody.
I have learned that God is inside each one of us, but it depends on each individual how much we
actually notice him. Praying is all about making you a happier, healthier, wealthier person. It can
also help you go to sleep.
It is also well known that people who worship God regularly live healthier, longer and happier
lives. It is often the social contact and support from church members that contribute to this
happiness in great amount. But beware of sects, who in God’s name want to create evil, they
recruit people and especially those vulnerable ones will say yes. If you know the Bible well and
all God’s teachings the sect member will not bother you. I remember after the fall of the
communist regime the Czech sects that were until then forced to practise in secrecy, were
recruiting their new members. Once my father invited them in because he did not know who
these people were. When the cult associates found out that my father knew the Bible well, they
left very quickly without bothering him ever again.
Learn how to breath well and practise deep breathing exercises
Relax before bedtime ensuring you get enough rest, going to bed and getting up at regular times
Learn how to live in harmony by learning how to express anger in a constructive way
Prayers can help you to live a stress free live as well as giving you hope and believe in yourself.
7. You are the maker of your own luck
Right at this moment you might be thinking that it is not in your power to improve your life in any
way. Let me tell you that even if you think you have very little left there is still so much strength in
you which you are not aware of and that I would like to help you discover.
The main clue to success is to start small, giving you manageable goals each day that will build
on each other. Break your tasks into smaller chunks if your challenge is slightly larger. Many
people make the mistake that when they have a brilliant idea they think big and want to see
success overnight. I would never manage to write these strategies in just one day, I get tired
quickly and have to rest but at the end I shall complete it if I write a little every day.
My son thinks he will be able to swim easily to the other side of the river. When he is in the
middle, however he has to return because he is out of breath. He will manage it one day but
must pursue his goal and practise swimming each day a bit further.One day his stamina will
improve to make it all the way. He also wants to write series for television. But he does not
realise that before aiming so high he has to have small success first then work hard for the big
success. He would be much better off if he considered entering competitions of creative writing
for his age group first. But at this moment he can only see fame, he cannot understand he has to
work really hard to get to the top.
It is therefore important to take one step at a time. If it is an effort for you just to get out of bed
and make breakfast perhaps this could be challenge number one for the rest of the week to get
up by a certain time. Gradually and slowly add a few extra challenges as you go along. A the end
of each day or week make a review of what you managed to achieve that you could not do
previously. You could perhaps keep a diary and set yourself some targets for the day and review
them later. I find keeping a diary very useful with my son. As the majority of children of his age he
finds it difficult to plan his homework leaving them often till the end when there is not enough time
left. The diary helps him to monitor what he has done and what he still has to do but it gives him
also this essential skill of planning and organising his day so he does not spend the whole day on
the computer.Keep on reviewing your tasks and challenges and make sure that you do not set
yourself too tough challenges which you then feel disappointed because you have not achieved
them. Rather slightly adapt your challenges and make them easier, or if your tasks were too
easy, set yourself more demanding goals. And do not be a perfectionist; it does not matter if the
house is not absolutely 100% clean.I have got a friend who is always so worried about things
going wrong when she invites her friends for dinner that at the end she is so stressed and
exhausted. Friends are there to cheer you up, not to make you feel even more awful, they will
most certainly not mind if everything is not absolutely 100% perfect. Do not therefore worry about
things going wrong or that anything is not perfect.
If you want to work I believe you can find a job that suits you, will be enjoyable and will give you
satisfaction. Ill or disabled people often feel depressed because they feel they cannot contribute
to society as much as others. Companies are often discouraged from employing people with
disabilities because they fear that such people will be absent regularly and not be as efficient as
others suffering loss as a result even though by law employers must not discriminate against
employees with disability. There is help at hand for you as there are organisations that will help
you find a job that is suitable for you with training for the appropriate job. You might also enjoy
other benefits such as reduced alternative therapy treatments, or start up money packages if you
think of running your own business. Explore all that is available of which you can take advantage.
As mentioned previously it is important to think small.You might feel others have got an easy life
and can prosper well without having to fight an illness or disability every day. First let me assure
you that even the people who appear to have no problems can be flooded with them. I know you
feel like you are a victim, but it is important to think of yourself as a winner or becoming one. Do
not compare yourself to others. We are all unique individuals with different experiences, values
or beliefs. If your neighbour was disadvantaged like you would he or she have achieved as much
as you?
You might still feel uneasy about the whole situation saying you are too ill to do any work. That is
exactly how I felt not so long ago. The nature of my illness is such that I would not be able to turn
up for any regular work. I have so much skill and ability yet I cannot use it even though I very
much want to do something. I started to think whether I could work for myself on a self-employed
basis. This would mean I could work when I feel a bit better and when I feel unwell I can just take
it easy and relax. I speak and write 6 languages fluently so I could possibly do translations.
Everyone around me is discouraging me because they believe it is a job that is not very
financially rewarding. Yet I am not discouraged and am determined to work hard for it; most
translation agencies only accept people with 3 or 4 years experience. But that does not
discourage me. I am in the meantime translating adventure stories my uncle published in Czech
after his journey to South America into English and this should give me some experience in
translation.If I were healthy, I would naturally aim higher. It is nevertheless a great challenge for
Do not look for any reasons which would be stopping you from pursuing your realistic coal.
People manage to find all kinds of excuses for things they have not done and should have done.
As I am writing these strategies my life is certainly not straightforward. Yet I believe that
tomorrow will be a better day and I will be able to continue and help great people like you
achieve your dreams and be happy. I know things were tough for me and it took me a long time
to finally find the right path. If I had a chance to read something similar to the 7 strategies I would
have appreciated it very much and I hope that what you are reading is beginning to change your
life for the better.
It is important to go only at a pace you are comfortable with. While you are patient and waiting for
your dreams to materialise you are obviously doing all the right things that will help you to
achieve your goal one day in the future.
In the past I watched films, where people who were involved in accidents causing them serious
injuries made an incredible comeback.I always used to admire their strength and wished nothing
of that nature would happen to me as I felt I would not be able to cope with it.Yet without this
incredible strength such people would have no life at all.People who are blind develop all their
other senses much better than we do, otherwise they would have to live in total darkness and
isolation. I just wanted to show you that this incredible strength is in all of you and you have the
capacity to use it to improve your life and the life of those around you. And do not forget - it is
those around you who also help you enormously to pull through your difficult moments. One lady
who became ill said there was not point for her to live on because she could not do what she was
hoping to achieve. She just started to work in a nursery and only recently completed her course.
But her family assured her that there is live for her only if she remains positive and that they are
there to help her pull through it. Even though she can no longer work and has to rely on her
family to help her she is happy because her family are there supporting her, she keeps herself
positive and focused and is very proud of her children who learned to help their mum as much as
If you think there is no such strength within you to change live for the better I am going to prove
you wrong. On one sheet of paper write down all the negative aspects of your life, on another
sheet reflect on the positive ones. Weigh them all up. You probably wrote more negative stuff
quickly while the positive stuff only came up very slowly. Never mind, this is all about
appreciating the entire positive side of your life now. The negative parts are hard, but throw the
negative sheet in the bin. As you do so, imagine all these problems are locked up in the bin now
and when you take the rubbish down to be collected imagine they are going with all the other
rubbish into the landfill site. Every time the negative parts re-appear in your life try to imagine
them going into the bin and away with the rest of the rubbish.
Let us instead concentrate on the positive now. If you only managed to write down very little let
me help you to think of some more. When you are not feeling too good, it is difficult to see all the
positive side of your life. But do you have a supportive family, a circle of friends, can you read,
write, have access to the Internet, can you walk or have enough strength to push yourself in a
wheelchair? If you have some of these you will be able to pursue your interests – perhaps
studying something you enjoy, you can join like-minded people on the Internet or you can write
about your problems and share your experience with others. To write about what bothers you
helps and you never know your articles might be great and appear on websites for which you will
earn some money. Nowadays there are so many opportunities thanks to the Internet, especially
for people who are ill and disabled and cannot go to work on a daily basis. I always felt people
with disabilities were so much closer to God and artistically gifted – they have the time to notice
little thingsthat busy people cannot. I am sure you have heard of artists who paint with their legs
or their mouth and their paintings are truly marvellous. Would they have not had their disability
they would probably get on with their everyday lives and they would never have discovered this
special gift in them. There is a special gift in everybody and even you can discover it and make
good use of it.
If you cannot continue in your current job or cannot achieve your career ambitions help those
around you who will certainly appreciate your input or expertise. Or help those who are facing
similar problems like you. If you have children help them to achieve their potential. They will
appreciate it greatly and it will be a consolation to you that they will do well and may not only fulfil
but also eclipse your hopes and dreams. Let them, however, decide for themselves what they
would like to do.
If you stick with your realistic goal you will achieve it. Also do not always listen to your prospects
that have been forecasted by doctors for the development of your illness. As mentioned earlier
the same illness can behave differently in various individuals. If you were forecasted that it would
probably be 3 years by which time you would be in a wheelchair do not fix it in your mind. Rather
try to be positive and keep walking as much and as regularly as you can. The longer you keep it
up, the longer you can do it. I have heard of people who were told by their doctors that their
illness was not curable; however, they even adopted a different approach to treatment than
suggested by their doctor and have cured their illness even though their doctor has given them
only a few years of life.
You can achieve your goals
Think small; accept that you will have some bad days. Find ways how to overcome these and
say tomorrow will be a better day
Break bigger tasks into smaller chunks
Stick up with your goal – do not give up
It is now exactly a year ago since I wrote 7 Strategies how to cope with illness and disability.
Since then my live has improved even though the first 6 months of this last year were the
toughest of my live. I am afraid during these 6 months I have completely forgotten about these 7
Strategies and somehow never believed I would ever get better. But I did, perhaps because
unconsciously I had these Strategies in my mind.
In the last couple of months I even started to work as an Invigilator, something I never dreamed I
could do a year ago.And I am also thinking of helping out at my sons’ school, I could use my
skills and help perhaps some students prepare for their French or German exams. I am still
thinking about becoming a translator one day but I have other very exciting plans as well. I see
my life as very rich; I do so many different things I could not do if I had to work every day and
doing the same thing over and over again must be boring. Well a couple of years ago I thought
that being unable to go to work is the worst thing that can ever happen to anybody.
It is the belief which is very important. Just try to say the following in your head, “Life is very hard,
life is very hard”. Then relax, take some deep breaths and note how you feel.
Now do the same exercise again and instead of saying that life is hard, try and say something
positive, such as, “I can take steps to make my life better and happier.” Now relax again, take a
few deep breaths and notice how you feel.
I am sure you felt better when you kept telling yourself that you can take steps to make your life
better and happier.
I hope that you found reading the “7 Strategies how to cope with illness or disability” enjoyable
and useful and that over time some of these strategies if not all will help you to improve the
quality of your life and make you a happier person. If you are in doubt about anything please
consult your doctor, especially if you want to embark on any new exercise, diet or treatment
regime. I wish you all good luck.
Citation: Disabled World News (2009-07-28) - Article gives assistance to help you cope with a
sudden illness or disability: