Do you suddenly find yourself depending on others for basic necessities? It’s hard, isn’t it?
When people meet me, they often say things like, “Wow, you break that easily? You’re in pain all the time? That must be so hard. I can’t even imagine that.”
The truth is, yes, there are days where it can be difficult just to breathe and the pain factor really sucks, but most of the time I have an underlying pain that I’ve adapted to over the years. Sometimes physical pain makes it hard to be me, but doesn’t everyone have something in their lives that makes it hard to be them too? Whether physical or mental, everyone has something that affects their lives making some days more or less miserable than others.
The people I feel for the most are the ones that have been physically able their entire lives and are suddenly struck with some type of injury or disability. Their world totally changes. Suddenly instead of being able to cook, drive, or even walk, they must rely on others to do everything for them, and their independence is gone. Now that is something I can’t imagine. See, I have always depended on everyone for everything, so I have never had that kind of independence to begin with. Certainly there are days where I can do more than others, but overall, I need able-bodied people with me 24/7 to live.
Over the years I’ve watched several of my friends lose their independence from accidents or illness to varying extents and for various amounts of time. Nearly all of them have said to me in one way or another, “Katherine, how do you do this? How do you live like this every day? It’s hard depending on everyone else for everything!” If you are someone who finds yourself in a situation like this, here are a few tips:
- Remember that things aren’t going to be perfect anymore. The fact is, you’re going to have to give up a good bit of control over your life, and that’s really hard for people who have always been independent. Your schedule is going to have to revolve around other people, and as annoying as that is, it’s just the way it has to be for now.
- To an extent, physical pain is only as bad as you make it in your head. This is a really hard one to learn. I’ve found that there is definitely something behind the saying, “mind over matter,” when it comes to dealing with physical pain. As I mentioned, I have some level of chronic pain all the time, but I’ve had to make peace with the fact that I have to function with it if I want to get anywhere in life. Certainly there are days where the pain is bad and I am terrible at the whole mind over matter thing too, but most days like this I just remind myself that it’s been this bad before and I will live through it again.
- Try to be nice to your helpers even though they may drive you absolutely batshit. Generally speaking, if you have someone willing to help you function and do things like eat and go to the bathroom, they really like you a lot. Their hearts are good and they are trying to be helpful even if sometimes they make you bonkers. Remember to take a deep breath and be as nice as you can at these moments.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. The people helping you and making sure you are more or less okay are not going to do things EXACTLY how you would do them. That’s okay. I’ve found that as long as you get the end result you are looking for, how you get from point A to point B doesn’t matter as much as you initially thought.
I’m certainly no expert on this stuff, but I hope that maybe some of these little tips will help you if you ever find yourself in a situation where you have to rely on others for basic necessities. And remember, everyone has problems and everything is relative. Chances are that you have a friend or two that can relate to where you are in life right now and would be more than willing to let you vent on them when your frustrations have hit the max. You have two choices: A), you can roll up in a ball and never do anything with your life, or B) you can learn to live a little differently and still have some fun and make a difference in the world. I find option A to be quite boring, so option B wins!