The First Person In My Support Group Ought To Be Me | Eve Reiland

I’m considered severely disabled. The transition (once I became more aware of it in the early years) into this chapter of my life was incredibly traumatic, disruptive and soul crushing.

There’s no 12-step program to how to live life and transition into this place of acceptance I am now. There’s no guru, no positivity workshop that made it all magically better. It’s a tough transition and stigma and judgement made it even more difficult.

I could sit here and list all the things I can’t do anymore. I could list all the things that are out of my reach, not in ability and bemoan my fate. I could martyr myself consistently and … well, it would all be true. It would all be factual. I could throw the largest pity party in the world and bawl my eyes out daily and have quite the spectacle and a crowd of people muttering assurances at me . … but why?

Before becoming disabled, I focused on what I could do. I didn’t focus on all the things in life and the world I couldn’t do. … I was never going to be a pilot, or an acrobat or a president, and I never worried myself about not having the skills and ability to do those things. Not once. I was focused on what I could do in life, in my career, in parenting, and so on.

So now that I’m disabled, I still don’t see the need to consistently focus on all the things I can’t do. What would be the point? A puddle of self-generated misery to drown in is not my idea of living. It’s not helpful or conducive to a better quality of life. It’s self-sabatoging, not self-supporting. … And I really don’t want that kind of attention. I’m not something to be pitied, and the first person in my support group ought to be me.

Now, this isn’t to say I don’t have my down moments. Oh, I do. There was a period of time I simply couldn’t fathom I’d never work and have a career again. I fought hard to improve and heal and find the cure to get back to being not disabled. Accepting that this “is as good as it gets” took some time. It took some adaptation. It took some paradigm changing, and then I evolved. Somewhere in there acceptance happened.

And now that I’m disabled, why focus on all the things I can’t do? Well, there are times I have to figure out how to do tasks I couldn’t otherwise complete. That’s when adaptations, changes, and support come into play. The rest of it though? Nah, I’ll not wallow in that. Why start now?

When I was abled I never focused on all the things in life I wasn’t able to achieve. I focused on what I was able to do. I don’t see why being disabled needs to change that focus for me.

Today, I can still focus on all the things I can do. I focus on all the abilities I possess (right now, this very moment) and go from there. My brain doesn’t work as fast as before – and it takes a lot more effort to do some things – but I’m doing what I can do every day. I focus on what my capabilities of the moment are and keep going.

And yes, sometimes I want to bang my head on the desk in frustration because I remember a time when my brain and body worked better and faster — and then I get over it. I go back to focusing on what I can do, and by the time I’m done doing that I’m too damn busy to perseverate on all the things I can’t do.

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