Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Real Life Survival - Experiences of a Disabled Prepper - The Support Group

Support groups work well for some people, but not so well for others and not very well for me personally. I can even see where it may be helpful for a group to get together to learn to prepare. This will help them strengthen their resources, as well as get the disabled out into the public more frequently. In my opinion, one of the things that causes the most problems is isolation.

 Disabled persons quite often want to keep from getting under foot. You may even find yourself feeling as if you have nothing to offer. In both cases, you find yourself isolated because you stay away from others. This creates a situation where the disabled person actually finds themselves dropping out of society. This is where a prepping group for disabled persons could be very empowering and may well create a situation for disabled persons to become more actively involved in society. If they find themselves starting to do things like volunteering in the community, this could possibly open up a whole new world for them.

My support group is me, my family, friends and some neighbors. I realized when my disability started to get worse that no one else was going to be standing in my shoes. This meant that I would have to pull myself up by my own boot straps. No one, including myself understood the true nature of what had happened in that mishap. Dealing with the day to day was my job and I tried to shoulder it, but the PTSD began to creep in and my body began to fail. In short I fell down and could not get up but I didn't ask for help. For a good long time my own brother watched and tried to help but even he didn’t have a clue as to what was going on, either. To make a long story short, I had to learn to lean on others and they had to be willing to let me fall on my own sometimes. In short, you can not be helped if you can not accept help when it’s offered.

I also believe that in society each community needs diversity of function as well as personnel. A group with only one type of training leaves big holes in what is possible from within that group. I also know that it is better to try with what you have than not try at all. The more diverse a group you have; the better opportunities for everyone that are available. That is what we are all after in life, whether normal or disabled, is a better opportunity.

My day to day activities are limited by speed. I know it sounds funny but I am very slow when I'm working out of my chair. When I’m around the house, I try to use only my cane because this helps to work on my leg strength and balance. Now when I'm out and about, I am usually in my chair and this speeds things up a great deal. My normal day is pretty much like everyone else's. The big difference is I'm retired and actually get to do what I want. Disruptions to the flow of my day can and often are detrimental to what ever I was doing. Since I am so slow, disruptions mean that something doesn't get done. If that something is critical then, “Houston, we have a problem.” The stresses and strains that are felt by everyone else is felt by the disabled person as well.

One thing that I would like to say and I want to be very clear about this point. Everyone has a really bad day every once in a while but sometimes disabled persons have a really bad day every day. To understand my point, I want you to think about pain for a moment. The normal person walks around feeling pretty good every day and doesn’t give pain very much thought.  Now think about the worst pain you have ever had and picture it fluctuating. It stays constant, then it starts to throb, then it starts to run through your whole body. THIS is where the biggest misunderstandings about disabled persons comes from and creates the most problems. The average person simply can’t understand the concept of pain 24-7. It’s hard to imagine pain that never goes away and it’s a pain you never get used to no matter how hard you try.

So the next time you are dealing with a disabled person and they are being, well a butt, think about how you would feel if you were being kicked in the groin all day long. Now I'm not saying that every disabled person is like that. Some people are just plain ornery but the benefit of the doubt should be applied in most circumstances when dealing with disabled people to avoid misunderstandings. I am constantly amazed at how often I am apologizing for reacting to the pain and not reacting to what I should be when dealing with other people.



Note from RW: Once again, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Shorty.

Staying above the water line!



Anonymous said...

Shorty, we appreciate the insights you have written and given us - I for one have learned much. I am lucky in that my disabilities are very minor, but do recognize in time, ALL of us gain nicks and dents that add up as we age.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for saying this so well.
I have not had one pain free day in years.

One time I had a pain free moment that scared me really bad. I had taken a new pain medication. I was sitting in my chair reading, when I suddenly realized that I was not in pain. This terrified me. I was afraid to breath or try to move. I thought I was paralyzed. No feelings at all.
Too bad that med had so many bad side effects for me. Being pain free was so nice.
My computer is my only connection with the outside world these days.
Thank you again for expressing my thoughts so well.
Bless You

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