“Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?” – Frida Kahlo
Physical disability is a loss or impairment of part of person’s body function that results in limitation of physical functioning and poses a hindrance in daily activities. A person with physical disability does not suffer only physically but their emotions, thoughts and social life is also affected. But despite every difficulty they emerge out winners because they learn how to cope with loss of some organ(s). There are numerous examples of such persons that learnt how to cope up with disability and become an inspiration for the world.
Like Frida Kahlo, for example. Frida Kahlo, the famous Mexican artist suffered from spina bifida, an incurable birth defect. At the age of six, she got polio which affected her legs and at eighteen, she suffered fatal injuries from a bus accident that nearly killed her. When polio affected her as a child she was bullied, isolated and emotionally hurt by people. But the accident broke her, her dreams were shattered. But while recovering, she began painting and then she turned out to be a living legend. Why I am telling you this story?
Perhaps because we have this habit of looking at people with a disability with pity. I am connected to a lot of people who are physically disabled and I know one thing about them that is, they are the true warriors and you don’t pity warriors, you appreciate them. They are warriors because they faced a difficulty, they were bruised and yet they keep fighting. They live there to the fullest and they cherish what we take as granted.
And there is a saying that who with lacking one sense has one special one that we ‘normal’ do not have. And that is so true, we are the ‘normal’ ones, these people, they are extraordinary.
How to cope with sudden physical impairment?
Sometimes because of accidents, or diseases or any other mishap, a person is harmed so much that results a lifelong-loss. When you are physically fit all your life and suddenly you suffer a loss, its really difficult to accept that. All the stress, pain and grief affect the mental health badly and can cause depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. The initial months are really difficult. Everything takes a toll on your emotions. But there is no point in crying over things that you cannot change.
It is important that you realise your one organ or its loss does not define you. You as a person define yourself. Stop fighting with your body or situation, rather be positive because attitude will compensate for the impairment and your attitude will motivate you and others around you to do better despite difficulties.
I remember when I saw Paralympics for the first time, it brought tears to my eyes because I was so happy seeing each and every contestant playing, winning or losing and most importantly living their life to the fullest. It showed me that my problems are so trivial and that my negative viewpoint towards everything is so insignificant compared to the positivity that is shown in their eyes.
How to cope with physical disabilities and emerge out as a winner?
You know there are millions of people of suffer with disabilities who rather than giving up achieve heights of success in workplace, society and the world. Their glorious journeys have these elements:
1. Acceptance: First and foremost, you should accept your disability. Its easier said than done. Cry over your loss, tell your closed ones how you feel to get over your trauma but do get over your trauma to take the next step. People who are physically disabled by birth have unconsciously accepted that they are different and thus live happily with it. Its time you also develop such attitude.
2. Healthy lifestyle: It is really crucial that you take care of your health after such event. So much stress affects your body functions badly and thus can worsen your condition. Therefore, eating a healthy and nutritious diet and doing recommended exercise will benefit you and will help you to cope up with the impairment.
3. Positivity: When you have finally accepted the circumstances, it is time you accept everything with positive outlook. See more of your abilities, things you can do rather than lingering on what you cannot. Smile more often, go out in public, visit places you love and do what you love. Change your dreams and plans and start building a new world. I heard about a man who after accident could not handle his business anymore. So, he started another business of pet keeping which he could do even after the disability thus never stopped.
4. Reduce your disability’s effect: If how you look to others matters to you then find some way to reduce the appearance of it by prosthetics or other medical equipment. Like a person opted for prosthetic eyeball from which he could not see but his eyes looked absolutely normal. Though on my personal opinion it does not matter how look at all.
My conversation in a blind school
A lot of students were about to graduate from this blind school so their teacher decided to throw a party for these students. Most of the students who study here live in hostels and are blind from birth or early childhood. I was a guest among that party. In between the party the query session started where juniors started asking seniors about the outer world experiences, how they cope up with them etc.
One senior answered “Pity and sympathy is something you will definitely experience. Sometimes bullying too, but you should become used to it. Just remember one thing that every disabled person faces this situation so take it casually and normally because its going to be part of your life. You might even get a bit fun from it.” everybody laughed at the last line, including me.
Another senior told us about a fight with his wife. He said, “I wailed in front of my wife that just because I am blind and she is normal, she did that. She replied very calmly that can I just keep my disability out of our relationship because disability has nothing to between us as husband and wife. While I was shocked by her words, I was equally proud too.”
A thing that I learnt there is that they make the world more beautiful. And that we need them just as much as they need us. We should never forget that physical disability does not changes one thing, that they are humans, just like us, who have the same thoughts, dreams, ideas just as we have.