Life is uncertain. And, it throws at you uncertainties that you can never really be prepared for; unexpected turns of life that instantly shatter all dreams and hopes for the future. They don’t just derail your life but can also have you sink into a bottomless pit of negativity and pessimism. One of the biggest uncertainties that man must deal with is the sudden onset of physical disability. Questions such as “Why me?” “What now?” “What’s the point of living a life such as this?”, plague the mind and add to the challenge.
While disability is traumatising, it needn’t be the end of the world. With a few changes to the mindset, attitude, and lifestyle, one can start life afresh and not just survive but thrive. Support from family, friends, and caregivers further makes it a little more bearable. Soulveda takes a dive into this ‘bottomless pit’ to emerge with a perspective that keeps the spirit unbreakable, and the mind undefeated.
Take time to grieve for what has happened
“Disability is a loss and you deal with it the same way as you would with the loss of a valuable object or person,” says Dr Ruchi Gupta, consultant psychiatrist at St Philomena’s hospital in Bangalore. Since the situation can’t be reversed, instead of being consumed by the adversity, it is better to allow oneself the time and space to grieve for what has happened.
The road to recovery begins with acceptance
Everyone wishes to live a normal life. However, a sudden onset of a disability can disrupt lives, dreams, and goals. How does one cope with it? “There are four stages to coping with a disability—denial, self-pity, anger, intellectual acceptance of the problem and emotional insight,” explains Dr Gupta. Naturally, losing the ability to do function normally can be the most devastating experience of life—one that perpetuates frustration, and a complete denial of the situation. “The frustration can convert into self-pity, depression, and anger towards yourself or the person whose negligence might have led to the disability or even towards a higher power,” she explains. But acceptance comes in slowly as the anger subsides.
Dr Gupta adds that it is important to accept disability at an intellectual level first and then at an emotional level for it to translate into a behavioural change. Only through acceptance, one can begin to overcome the challenge and hope to find some peace.
Challenges should never disable the spirit
Reach out to those you trust
It’s natural to feel more vulnerable and hopeless in the face of disability. But reaching out to those we trust and depend on, can help reduce the weight of such grave adversity. The French movie The Intouchables has the perfect perspective to it. ‘Sometimes, you have to reach into someone else’s world to find out what’s missing in your own.’