Adapting to life with a disability can be stressful, difficult and upsetting. Your routine might change, and things that used to be straight forward might become difficult. You might obsess over life before your disability and struggle to come to terms with what has changed. Don’t worry – this is all completely normal. You’ve had a big shock and it’s going to take time to adapt. This isn’t something that people prepare for in life, so, if you’re newly disabled what should you do next?
As someone with a disability, you are entitled to certain benefits from the state. This is because you might not be able to work or need to pay for additional healthcare. So, make sure you get what you are entitled to. If you don’t know how to go about this, or are finding the process stressful, you may wish to contact a disability lawyer, like Sinklaw, who will be able to guide you through the process. You’re already dealing with a huge lifestyle change, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. It’s what they’re there for.
If your new disability limits your mobility, you may need to make some changes around your house to make life easier for you. For example, if you now need a wheelchair to move around, you may need to lower your light switches and other appliances so they are within reach. Likewise, you might need a stair lift or your bedroom may need to be moved downstairs. Whatever the situation, make sure you get the right adjustments made, and ask for help if you’re finding the situation overwhelming. Additionally, you may need extra equipment when you leave the house, such as a scooter or zimmer frame. Make sure that you get whatever you need to make getting out and about as easy as possible, as fresh air will improve your way of life and help you to get back into a routine.
If you’re struggling to adapt mentally to your new disability, you might want to consider speaking to a mental health professional. Speaking to a therapist will encourage you to vocalize your concerns and help you to find ways of dealing with them. It’s useful to speak about your worries with someone objective, instead of a friend or family member, as they won’t have an emotional investment. Make sure you find a therapist with good training, experience and who you connect with – and don’t use it as an excuse to close yourself off from family, either.
Whilst you may be surrounded by friends and family, and have an excellent support network, some people feel isolated and low when they try to adapt to their new disability. Therefore, you might want to consider joining a social group or finding a new hobby. It might be a good idea to find a group specifically for people with disabilities, who understand what you’re going through. Joining a disability sports team might also be particularly satisfying, as exercise raises your heart-rate and releases endorphins. However, there are many different groups that you could consider joining.