Welcome again to another day, and another post for the 30 Days, 30 Posts Challenge for WEGO Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge – and some of these posts have certainly been a challenge!! I hope you have all enjoyed reading the entries so far, and today’s prompt is another one which really requires a certain degree of reflection:
Learned the hard way…What’s a lesson you learned the hard way? Write about it for 15 minutes today.
There are a great many lessons that someone with a chronic health condition can learn through the journey of being unwell. However, the one I have chosen was inspired by a quote I found on my Pinterest page, and says the following:
There are so many times where I have sat and wondered what my life would be like if I didn’t have the long-standing brain stem lesion and spastic paraparesis. Where I would be in life, and what I would be doing with it? Would I even be living in my own place, away from my parents? So many times, have I dreamt of the life that I so desperately wanted – a good job, my own car and house, good friends to share good times with and so on. And also been many times where I have wanted to be anyone else but myself.
However, as the quote says, dreaming about a life that we don’t have, very often stops us from living a life that is out there waiting for us to grab it with both hands…
Very recently, myself and my parents have referred myself to Social Services. To find out what help there may be to help me live a fuller life - maybe help to get me out of the house more instead of being stuck indoors the majority of the time, to gain a more independent and active social life.
And as I have found out, it looks like I am eligible for help. For instance, there is a scheme called ‘Direct Payments’ where a person is given a grant from the local government in order to employ a personal assistant. On personal circumstances, and the needs of the person themselves, these personal assistants may be for someone to come in to the house and clean, or in order to pursue social activities in the wider community – trips to the local cinema or theatres, using the services of the local leisure centres and so on.
In addition, I may be eligible for an assessment by Occupational Therapists for mobility aids and adaptations to help me around the house and in order to prevent accidents and falls. It may be that I could have a wheelchair to help get outside of the house more, and to prevent falls outside and without the worry of my legs giving way. A wheelchair may be a fantastic idea, as it would give me the opportunity to visit more places, and to visit them for longer as I’m finding that whenever I am going out, it is only for short periods of time due to the weakness in my legs and the fact that I am unable to stand (and therefore walk) for long periods of time.
There are also schemes which take disabled or people are otherwise unable to get out of the house on day trips to places outside of the local community as a means to getting to know others and to help starve the loneliness that they may otherwise face.
Therefore, if my days weren’t spent dreaming of a life other than the one that I have, it may be that I may have looked and found help sooner. I may have thought about the possibility of gaining help from Social Services before it was suggested to us my somebody else if I weren’t wishing away my condition or dreaming about being anybody else other than myself.
If I hadn’t done that I may be living a different kind of life that was waiting for me and just within my grasp - met all different kind of people, made new friends and contacts, and seen different places that I may otherwise not have seen, instead of being stuck inside with no company to speak of…
This is the lesson that I have recently learnt, and learnt the hard way…