Recognise any positives
You can have both negative feelings and frustrations about being disabled and have positive feelings at the same time – for example it is perfectly normal to feel frustrated about your pain and wish you could do things that you cannot but at the same time feel comfortable in your disabled body.
Take pride in your identity as a disabled person (if it is something you consider to be part of your identity) and find comfort in being part of a community. People who have experienced any kind of health issues learn a lot about adapting, being compassionate and becoming more open minded. I feel like I can use my struggles, experiences and resilience to help others.
Find others who are going through the same thing!
It helps to know you’re not alone. There are lots of support groups online for specific conditions as well as general struggles. There is also support out there in your community, the problem is that it is usually hard to find and access. Especially for younger people as there is usually less available for us.
Platfform could help you with finding support or perhaps signpost you to the right place. Meeting and talking to people who are going through the same thing can be therapeutic and it’s easier to open up in this scenario than it is when you’re talking to your family and friends. It especially helps when you meet people your own age that are going through these things as you will have more in common than your health and struggles.
Take time to recharge your social battery
It’s okay to take some time to purely focus on looking after your own mental and/or physical health. It’s also important not to do too much. Don’t feel guilty if you have to say no to your friends or have to miss work/school to work on yourself and focus on improve your health enough that you can function better. If you struggle with pain, fatigue, brain fog etc pacing yourself is key. That way, your battery won’t run out too quickly and things will be easier day to day if you’re not overdoing it.
Find techniques that work for you
There isn’t a “one size fits all” technique you can use to help you with your help. Some people find grounding techniques, breathing exercises or mindfulness helpful to manage their anxiety but these although popular might not work for everyone.
You may find something unexpected like listening to your favourite songs on repeat calms you down and helps your mental health more than the traditional therapy techniques. Keep trying different things until you find the best technique for you. Also, it’s best to make sure you learn more than one technique that you can use whenever you need to.
Accept yourself and what you cannot do
It’s important to accept who you are in every way, this includes accepting your health conditions, specifically if they aren’t something that will go away any time soon. There may be things that you can’t do because it will worsen your pain and fatigue, not being able to things, especially if it is something you’d enjoy, is frustrating but you’ve got to take care of yourself and accept that you have limitations.
It’s only natural that you would go through a grieving period over what you’ve lost and that grief will reappear sometimes, but you can get through it and reach acceptance. Mentally you will feel better if you accept your reality and accept that you can’t always do what you want or what your peers are doing. Please don’t see your limitations as something negative, our limits are there to remind us to take a break and take care of ourselves but it is also okay to let yourself grieve.