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Coping Successfully Requires Making a Conscious Choice to Cope!
BFC Helps You Cope With Disability

Illustration: A sad girl in a party dress with pinafore, looking back over her shoulder at a party on the veranda.
Anyone can become disabled, anywhere, anytime.

As they say (whoever "they" are), you never step into the same stream twice. Life IS change. And as our lives change, we each MUST adapt and evolve in order to cope with each new challenge those changes bring.

And until we MAKE THAT CONSCIOUS CHOICE TO COPE — and to KEEP ON COPING, what we once regarded as simple tasks can sometimes become tedious and frustrating.

... o
r maybe almost impossible ... for some of us.

Most people with disabilities understand that all too well.

Life may be going along just fine. And then something happens. Could be an accident, sports injury, combat injury, street crime, heart attack, stroke ...

Or any of a multitude of disabling conditions.

And, suddenly or gradually, your daily life is ... different!

Some of the activities you took for granted yesterday may have now become major challenges ...

So maybe you don't participate in those particular activities very much anymore.

Some of the places you used to go may have now become more difficult for you to navigate than they used to be ...

So maybe you don't go to those places very much anymore.

Some of the people you used to know may not be quite as happy to see you as they used to be, because they know that in order to associate with you, they will have to restrict their activities to accommodate your limitations ... and that makes them uncomfortable.

So maybe you don't see those people very much anymore.

And sometimes, after "disability" happens, you might have to give a lot of additional thought to WHERE you're going to go; and WHAT you're going to do when you get there; and HOW you're going to manage to do it; and WITH WHOM you're going to do it.

Who's disabled? Where are they? What do they look like?

According to the most recent U.S. Census data, slightly over 23% of Americans have a "disability severe enough to impair their mobility" at any given moment in time. And the percentages are similar for every nation in the world that keeps statistics on such things.

Twenty-three percent of us. That's more than ONE out of FIVE who's disabled – right now!

Some people have "temporary" disabilities. Maybe they broke or sprained something, and might only have to spend a short time struggling to get around with a wheelchair or crutches or a cane or a walker.

Others have "permanent" disabilities, and might have to learn to live with it for the rest of their lives ... or until science finds a cure for their particular condition, if it ever does.

Deafness and blindness and arthritis and asthma (to cite just a few examples) are among those disabling conditions that are sometimes called "invisible" disabilities because most of the world won't notice that something is "wrong" ... however, sometimes people around them become impatient and angry, and curse those people who might "look normal" but who can't always do what others think "normal people" should be able to do.

One of the biggest challenges to coping with your disability may involve developing a tolerance for the rudeness, ignorance, and insensitivity that you will inevitably encounter.

The "Mine is Bigger Than Yours" Game:

Over the years, we've heard many (sometimes heated) discussions about such topics as:

Whether coping with one's disability is more of a challenge to someone disabled from birth (or early childhood), or to someone who became disabled as an adult; or
Whether "visible" or "invisible" disabilities have a greater "social importance"; or
Which disabling conditions are "nobler" or more "embarrassing"; or
Which disabling conditions are more worthy of "special consideration".

In the final analysis, we don't think it really makes much difference. Each particular situation will always have it's own challenges. And the fact of the matter is that most people will NEVER really understand someone else's situation unless and until they have actually had to deal with a similar situation themselves personally, or in the life of a close friend or family member.

And if we live long enough, each of us most likely will eventually have to deal with some sort of disability in our own lives, or in the lives of our friends or family members.

Here's How to Make that Conscious Choice to Cope:

Regardless of any person's particular situation, the best way we've found for coping with any disability is to focus on those things that you CAN do – and then get out there and do them.

So begin every day by being grateful for what you can do, and by making a conscious choice to adapt. And evolve. And learn. And then do whatever you can to enhance your quality of life.

Living with a disability might not be perfect. But it can be better. We can help make it better, with reliable information you can use to make your life more barrier-free — every day!

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