If you or your loved one have experienced some sort of trauma or maybe have a genetic physical disability, you know that emotional, motivational, and psychological support plays a major role in your everyday life. Factors associated with the rehabilitation and treatment of people with a range of physical disabilities, including spinal cord injury, stroke, and chronic pain may differ from patient to patient, which is why every individual should be cared for differently. Listening to what may be causing them distress is one of the biggest supports one can give.
If you have a physical disability:
- Seek professional emotional support
Seeking emotional support from a licensed professional can seem daunting at the beginning. We know you may not want to admit to yourself that you may need someone who actually knows how to help you cope with what you may be feeling, but once you decide to take this brave step, you will finally understand and feel the blessing of relief that comes right after.
- Talk to your friends or your close ones
Who better to reveal your emotional secrets to than your best friend? These are the people we can always count on, even when we are feeling under the weather. Disabilities can often cause a person to feel slightly overwhelmed or even depressed. You needn’t go through this alone. Ask your friends for emotional support and talk about what you’re feeling. The only downside of this is if they are too empathetic, they may end up enabling you to feel the way you already feel.
- Seek an emotional support animal
Emotional support animals by their very nature, and without training, may relieve depression and anxiety, and/or help reduce stress-induced pain in persons with certain medical conditions affected by stress. While dogs are the most common type of assistance animal, other animals can also be assistance animals.
- Do not compare yourself to others
People with the same disability can make different progress over different times. You might see someone with a disability accomplishing things that you want to accomplish, while you are still struggling. You might feel upset, but you don’t need to be. You will accomplish your goals when you are ready.
- Keep in mind that disability can happen to anyone
Disabilities can often make people, especially younger people feel different than their peers, which can be very isolating and discouraging. Remember, these negative thoughts are not based on reality. Disability does not make you an outsider, it can happen to anyone at any time. People with disabilities have existed throughout history, and we always will exist. After all, Stephen Hawking is one of the coolest and most successful people with disabilities. Disability is a part of human life making it diverse, and diversity has a beautiful, positive effect on society!
If your loved one with a disability needs emotional support:
- Try talking to them to identify the root problem
A sincere talk can make wonders. Open up to your loved one with a disability about something you feel insecure about. Sharing a similar or semi-similar experience will make them feel less alone and alienated. Often when we are presented with something that reminds us of our own predicament, helps us open up and talk about what’s bothering us. Your loved one already knows how much you love them and want to help them, it is all about the right approach.
- Try talking to a professional to get some guidelines
If talking to them yourself does not help, licensed professionals can help you see the potential problem from your loved one’s perspective. They can identify what may be causing the emotional disturbance and provide you with advice and directions on how you can address the matter. Support is not the same as enabling. You don’t want to acknowledge destructive behavior by starting to feel the way your loved one feels.
- Get them an emotional support animal
As we already mentioned in the previous segment of this blog, emotional support animals are more than a pet. They are companions that can help people with physical or mental disabilities go through a range of emotions each day. Aside from being cute and cuddly, emotional support animals help their owners to control their emotions and relax.
- Constantly remind them that there more to them than their disability
Constantly remind them that they are a person just like everyone else. With dreams, hopes, and aspirations. There are a lot of things that make them who they are — their disability is just one of them — and there is a lot more about them to love!
- Celebrate their strengths
"No one can do everything, but everyone can do something." regardless of your loved one's disability, they can contribute great things to the world. All they need to do is want to. Maybe they have a physical disability that makes it hard for them to participate in games and sports. Instead of comforting them about what they CAN'T do, try to help them celebrate all of the amazing things that they CAN do! They can be a great friend, a talented musician, or a skilled artist. Talent is everywhere, we just have to nourish it.