One of my biggest pet peeves is people who are physically and mentally able that choose not to take the initiative and do something with their lives. Even though I have this “disability” that makes me physically unable to do a lot of normal activities, my parents raised me with the idea that I would DO something with my life one day. I wouldn’t be feeling sorry for myself at home on a bunch of painkillers watching TV all day. Pity parties were never an option. Granted, when I broke bones I was allowed to take a few days off, and I often didn’t even want to take them. I can remember begging my mom to let me go to school, even though I had multiple broken bones that needed to heal a bit before I left the house. My physical therapist will tell you that today I STILL push myself too far sometimes and end up causing more harm then good. To that effect my parents may have done TOO good of a job.
That’s not to say that I don’t have days where I just want to lay around and do nothing but binge watch Grey’s Anatomy. Everyone has those days. Sometimes the thought of exercising in the pool or getting dressed and leaving my house is just…Ugghhhhhhh. I can do most of my job in my pajamas, and it spoils me. T-shirts are my best friends!
The fact is that I have some kind of pain all day, every day. It varies. Most of the time it’s just a soreness in my back or hips, just enough to remind me that it’s there. But there are those times where the pain becomes practically unbearable, and I turn to light painkillers (but this is not very often). And then there are the days where it just hurts to move one way or another, and as long as I don’t do that movement, I’m okay. It’s a mind over matter thing. If it’s not too bad, focus on work and put it out of your mind. If it’s bad, just accept that it’s going to be there, it’s going to be bad for a little while, but that it’s eventually going to get better and it’s not going to kill you. It takes practice, but I’m living proof, like many others, that it is possible to function with chronic pain.
I’m not saying this to make you feel sorry for me, but to make a point. I hurt all the time to a certain degree. What seem like normal activities to you are often daily challenges for me. But I get up every day and I DO something. I create something. I have a friend who’s an artist also, whose psychologist once told her that she needed to create something every day. I think that the same is true for me. I’m not happy unless I feel like I’m making progress or doing something worth while. Maybe that’s from how my parents raised me. Maybe that’s just me. I don’t know, but I’ll tell you this: I get bored quickly and easily. If you know me, you are definitely nodding your head right now.
My point is, I have a real, physical problem, yet somehow I find a way, almost every day, to get my butt in gear and do something productive. And I’m certainly not the only one. I know many, many disabled people who are often more active then their able-bodied counterparts. There are several people that I know or have known personally that are perfectly capable of taking part in society and just don’t. They choose (or chose) to feel sorry for themselves or allowed substances like drugs and alcohol dictate their lives. They didn’t get help when they needed it. To me this is one of the saddest and most disappointing phenomena, because ALL of these people are/were smart. What if they could have cured cancer? What if they could have invented a time machine? Or what if they brought joy to just one person a day? Wouldn’t that make their lives worth it? Wouldn’t that make the effort of contributing to society worth it? Are you one of these people?
I guess my point is that if you’re feeling like you have nothing to offer to the world, think again. Everyone has something they can do, something to make themselves and their communities better. Don’t say you can’t. Figure out what you want and find a way to make it work. It may not work out right away, but if you try hard enough and have enough faith that the universe will help you out here and there, it’s going to happen.
So. Get up. Get off your couch. Step away from the TV and the computer (after you finish looking at my website and that last episode of Grey’s…because, priorities). Use your brain. If an opportunity presents itself, even one that seems insignificant, TAKE IT! Do something! (Well, if it’s 3 AM you can wait until tomorrow, but get on it!)