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Posts Tagged ‘disability’

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One way I learned to create a happier life was to try to find more reasons to smile, and create more reasons to laugh. Even when I was feeling pretty low, the mere act of smiling and laughing helped me train myself to feel better as a default feeling.

Now, when I see people, I try to remember to smile at them, even if I’m deep in my own thoughts. When things get tough and stressful, I try to think of something to bring up that will help people laugh and ease the tension in an appropriate way. Sometimes it’s just the smiling and tone of voice that helps move the mood upward.

I’ve had a long day trying to beat a flu or something, and tomorrow is going to be a day with more than the usual amount of pressure and stress. I’m going to go find something funny to watch before resting, to remind myself to continually find the laughter.

Tomorrow, I’m going to keep on the lookout for reasons to smile. May you find many reasons also!

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StrongEnoughI have recently been diagnosed with a very-reparable issue with my spine.  I was told that with support and treatment it could be fully recovered within 9-12 months, on average.

I wasn’t happy to hear the news, but I wasn’t upset, either.  I’ve had pain that I didn’t realize was from something that could actually be fixed in a year or less. I’ve lived with frequent (or even constant) pain for almost two decades now thanks to hyperacusis, so that was a welcome idea.

The real reason I wasn’t upset though is that I have already struggled with and overcome other health issues.  My hyperacusis has become much better over the past year, and I am no longer very limited by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. These haven’t gotten better all on their own.  They have only improved as I improved my own confidence in my ability to overcome, and my belief I was strong enough for the journey.

To turn the corner, I had to accept that I was already strong enough to win out against the challenges I faced. I had to recognize that I didn’t need anybody or anything to fix me, because I wasn’t broken. I just happen to have a body that doesn’t work the same as most others, so it’s up to me to master the skills of living within it. I had to find that space within me that held that strength, that wisdom, and let it guide me forward. After many years of riding a roller coaster of upswings and downswings, somehow I finally learned to hold on to that center.

My helper on overcoming this latest challenge also believes that only we can heal ourselves; medicine just helps us in the process. She reminded me of how often people give up hope before overcoming their challenges, and asked if I might write down some things about how I overcame my own. I didn’t think I really had that much to say, because I can’t really think of things to say that I haven’t already read elsewhere.

That said, I do remember being helped by reading of others’ journey, and also that I tend to discount my own road as being pretty day-to-day, as it happens to be the one I’ve spent my days in. So I’m going to shrug at myself, and see if I can’t try to share some things about what I’ve faced, and how I’ve overcome.

I think I’m strong enough for that. 🙂

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I once read of an Eastern method of transformation that involved starting with the presumption that you are there already.  Whatever it is you seek, whoever it is you wish to be, the idea is to recognize that these are already in place for you, and therefore the first step is gratitude and receptiveness.  And then, for all the steps that follow, they are placed with the single-mindedness of purpose to continually express that gratitude and receptiveness by acting in accord with these gifts that are already a part of you.

Now, I’m three-hundred percent on board with the idea that you need to keep your mind and heart open to refining your goals, no matter what they started off as.  So you need to not get so into your original picture of what you think you’re seeking that you miss internal clues as to how it needs to adjust.  All that said though, it’s always helped me when I’ve worked toward my goal with the feeling of peace and gratitude for all that I have already received.  In some cases, it really has been a matter of relaxing into this gratitude, and seeing where I really already am there.

My best example is back when I was having a really tough time.  I had been married only a few months when I came down with hyperacusis, and had to go on unpaid leave for a few months while because I wasn’t getting the support I needed from the AOL technical support center I was working at when it developed.  (They retrained me from a phone rep to an email rep, but were pretty unhelpful for getting me a quieter work environment or even short-term disability while I stabilized.  I was young and hurting and in utter shock, so I didn’t know enough on how to even make sure I got help with the medical bills then.)  However I managed to get them to let me go back to work with some minimal efforts toward getting me a remotely quieter place to work with earplugs and earmuffs.

Anyway, all that was just to illustrate why, for me, it was tough, and it was painful, and it felt completely unfair.  I had just started my life, and was told that I’d be spending the rest of it locked in a sound-proof room — they hadn’t even developed the noise training back then.  Fortunately, my husband refused to let my life go that route, and was very supportive as I tried hard to feel out how to make things work.  But I still was having a hard time feeling positive.

So I figured, why not go ahead and act as though I was?  I decided that whenever I saw someone, I’d give them a genuine smile that said I was glad to see them.  Whenever I could, I’d notice something to appreciate that I could sincerely compliment them on.

And you know what?  People started being glad to see me, too.  They smiled at me, and treated me with a little more kindness.  This made it easier to feel more positive toward myself, too, and made my workplace a less uncomfortable place to be, despite the physical pain.  It also helped me be more successful there, as it was easier to focus on doing great work when I was feeling good.  I ended up quitting the job because it was easier for me to work somewhere else than fight for reasonable accommodations, but I left feeling as though I had made the best of things that I could at that time.

I’ve had some pretty tough fights since then because of my hyperacusis, some of which I’ve walked away from into better situations.  But as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I don’t feel greatly limited by my disability, because it’s easy for me to focus on what I can do, most of the time.

This level of success was made possible only because way back then when hyperacusis first entered my life, I was able to set my mind not on where I didn’t want to be, but where I did want.  And then, I acted in accord with this vision as though I was already there.  It hasn’t always worked, but it’s done the trick more often than not.

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It’s been a big week. Though everybody came out of it unscathed, I’ve faced down a few different major issues of pain, illness, death and the seeming capriciousness of it all, and I think I’ve come through the “crash course” (ha ha ha) with passing marks. It was pretty hard on me at times, because these were all instances where I needed to face some deep-seated grief and/or resentment that hadn’t quite gotten out in my prior “life scrubbing”. But I guess my prior work was pretty decent, because without too much heartache, it took only a few tears to wash them away.

So I wanted to share with you a little message I felt in all this, because I think it applies to all of us:

The past is passed, and must be let go if you are to have your future. The world needs not more pain and punishment, but forgiveness and joy. Your purpose now is to release your pain and relieve it, not re-lose and relive it. Let go and take the steps you need to take into the bright and loving future that awaits.

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