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What I've Learned Since Becoming Disabled

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Since becoming disabled I have learned a few things. I now see the world from a different point of view. There are so many things I didn’t think about until now. So many things I took for granted. But now, I appreciate my family, tools that can help me, and sites like this that let me share my stories and experiences with y’all. Being disabled has changed my life and turned it upside down, but it has also given me a new outlook.

1. The importance of accessible stalls. Now that I have a wheelchair, I have realized accessible stalls are a must for me. When I was little I used to love going in the accessible stalls because I thought they were so big it was luxurious. I would imagine it as my room because of how much space there was, and the privacy. Now that I am in a wheelchair I will never take them for granted, and I am very grateful for them.

2. Appreciating the little things. My big problems used to be that the guy I liked didn’t like me, or I couldn’t go to my friend’s house. But now I can’t shower without a chair or walk to get the mail. I used to take everything for granted. Now as a chronic illness warrior I take the little things and turn them into victories. If I can walk from my bed to the bathroom, that is a win. I will take it. If I have a day where I can get things done, I celebrate it. Yes, I get sad sometimes but I never take the wins for granted. Not anymore.

3. Help can be good. I have always wanted to be strong. I don’t want to let my guard down. So when my symptoms first started I needed help, but I didn’t want help. So I let it get to the point where I didn’t have a choice. I couldn’t do it by myself anymore. So my parents helped me and you know what? It was the best decision. Ever since, they have been amazing. Sometimes I feel like a burden, but they want to help me. It makes my symptoms better when my mom, my wheelchair, or even my walker helps me. Help can be good.

4. Service dogs really are amazing. I do not have a service dog yet, but I am training my dog to be one and I have friends that have them. Before all this, I only knew of guide dogs and therapy dogs, and now I can’t believe how much they help people with disabilities. They can go from opening doors to pulling a wheelchair. I once thought it would be cool to have one before I was ill, so my dog and I could go everywhere together. But they are so much more than that. They are angels that help us through tough times and lead us to good times. I appreciate and respect them a lot.

5. Disability parking stickers are a godsend. I don’t know where I would be without mine. With my joint pain, fatigue dizziness and much more, I couldn’t go anywhere. The spaces are the perfect size to unload my wheelchair and the perfect distance between the parking lot and store to where it’s not too much on my body. “Normal” people think we are “lucky” because we get to park closer, but it’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity, and I am very grateful for it.

6. I never knew how many mobility aids were available to help us. Between the walkers, shower chairs, wheelchairs, and thousands more, it is amazing how much help we can have. These tools are so beneficial for me.

7. Support groups are awesome. All the sites I am on suggest support groups. So I thought I would join some and see how it goes. Now I love seeing everyone’s helpful tips, stories and being able to vent when needed. I have made some amazing friends from these groups and these sites. I love being part of these support systems because it really helps me not feel so alone.

8. My mom is amazing. She is my biggest advocate and without her I could never get through this. Thank you, Mom!

As you can see I have learned a lot, and my knowledge is my biggest strength!

Originally published: June 25, 2018
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