For many of us who strive every day to overcome our disabilities, seeking help seems to be the opposite of independence. We have already lost enough of our abilities, so why would we want to give up control of basic daily activities to a helper? It makes sense on the surface, however, this article from Craig Hospital makes a good point: when it comes to being self-sufficient, being able to everything does not mean you have to do everything. “Hang on to the activities that really matter to you, and delegate or negotiate away the ones that don’t.”
In other words, getting help with the basic daily activities such as getting dressed, fixing a meal, or keeping up with household chores should not be viewed as a cop-out. Rather, when it comes to doing what you love, ask yourself: Am I spending more time and energy on the unimportant things and less on doing what I want to do? What is more valuable to you: being able to do live your life the way you want to or trying to do everything on your own? When it came to being a good parent despite my disability, I had to ask my self this same question.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still a very independently minded person and I can do many things on my own but I am not superwoman; I can’t do everything. As any new parent will tell you, taking care of a little one is a 24/7 job. When my own mental and physical health began to wane as a result of being the primary caregiver for my own little one, I asked for help.
My caregiver helped me keep up with my personal health by assisting me with exercises while tending to my son. She kept the laundry clean, bottles washed and prepared, and watched my son when I needed a “brain break.”
In my case, I only needed a caregiver temporarily (although, as anyone knows, things can change on a dime) but my situation may be different than the next person’s. I work from home and have my husband and mother to share the load. Remember that your life is your own and you need to make decisions for yourself based upon your own individual needs.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you have to tackle this world on your own. There are plenty of people with spinal cord and brain injuries who are college students, professionals, artists, and athletes. As individuals, we still have control over our lives and a responsibility to live them to the fullest. It might take creativity, innovation, and compromise. Therefore, we must be positive, interdependent, and cooperative. Where do you start? How do you ask for help or hire a caregiver? There are resources, including our blogs and website, www.advisacare.com, that can help you get started.
So, here’s the fun part: if you have been putting off going places or doing things because independence seemed so out of reach, start making a list of the things you want to do and find someone who will help you and get movin! Wanna hold a job, go fishing, travel? Want to paint a picture? Get out there and do it!