This article is part of My Plan Manager’s guest blogger series.
Living with disabilities means that you are constantly facing challenges in life.
Whether that be dealing with health challenges, managing pain, battling your mind, and balancing the ever-increasing medical appointments; being confused by government agencies and the forever fight to get the help and assistance you require; dealing with the discrimination one faces as a result of having a disability whether with employment, barriers in the community and on and on it goes.
I find, as someone living with multiple disabilities, that the majority of my week is a series of very serious conversations. Conversations about what my future might look like. Conversations about what therapy I should or should not be doing. My mind can become overwhelmed with how bleak things are portrayed, that I often just want to scream and beg for a ‘normal life’. Instead I’m beginning to see the importance of finding time to switch off from the constant challenges of having disabilities and embrace the inner child that wants to be free to enjoy the life that I have been given.
My disabilities and the subsequent lack of income that is associated with having a disability limits what I can do, but I know that it’s important to find a way to switch off from the relentless bombardment of challenges that come with being a person with a disability.
For me this means finding an hour or two in the evening to sit down and hand knit a blanket, scarf or beanie. For years I’ve wanted to knit but have been prevented as I can’t use knitting needles, but my friend discovered loop yarn, which just requires me to pull one loop through another. It’s like putting together a puzzle, with the outcome being a warm fluffy blanket.
Perhaps the arts and crafts don’t take your fancy. Perhaps you like to escape into a new world through a book, audiobook, TV or gaming. Perhaps you like to be out in the sun, watching the water, playing sport, being active, listening or playing music… the list goes on and on.
I think it is vital that we embrace those things that allow us to escape from the never-ending challenges of disabilities. We need to hold on to those things that gives us a laugh or brings a smile to our face and allows us in that moment to forget about the serious conversations, the barrier of discrimination and the challenges that we face.
Briar has cerebral palsy, two mental health conditions and a number of other medical conditions. She has trained as a social worker, as well as a policy writer but her disabilities have prevented her from developing a career in these fields. Briar hopes her writing can encourage others in a similar position and provide them with useful advice. You can read more of Briar’s work on her own blog Strength, Dignity, Hope.