Living with a disability in this world poses significant challenges. Simple activities, such as getting yourself a glass of water or going to the bathroom, can be a struggle every day. On top of that, being limited physically usually comes with frustration, depression, stress, or anxiety.
Sadly, these mental health problems are often overlooked or shoved off to a lower priority because their physical disability appears more pressing. But this should not be the case. The psychological well-being of people with disabilities is just as important as their physical needs.
Taking care of their mental health will not only solve one public health concern but would also strengthen them to better cope with their situation.
Mental Health Issues And Disability
According to studies, people living with disabilities, such as with physical and sensory problems, are more likely to experience psychological issues than others. Some of these conditions include, but are not limited to, depression and anxiety.
Disability is just an umbrella term for people with an impairment, be it psychological, physical, or sensory. Although the frustrations from the constraints are common in every case, it is still critical to distinguish how each one differs when it comes to triggers. For people with cerebral palsy, mental health issues can be triggered by the difficulty of communicating with or finding friends. These triggers or stressors also apply to other forms of disabilities.
What are some of the coping mechanisms people with disabilities can do?
Mental Health Care Habits
The first step to achieving a better state of mind is to accept your situation. The frustrations that you sometimes feel comes from not being able to do what you want and need. However, the only way you can work around your disability is by acknowledging and accepting in yourself that you have special needs. It does not mean that you will pity yourself; it means realizing that you can still pursue goals and dreams despite your situation.
Feelings of frustrations and self-pity are valid and normal, and you should allow yourself to feel them. Do not suppress your feelings away – if you feel sad, then acknowledge it, and if you feel sorry for yourself right now, then feel it. The more you hide or deny it, the worse you will feel. It can also resurface in a more unpleasant way, sooner or later.
The important thing here is that you develop ways or find outlets where you can healthily release your emotions. You can let your feelings out through journaling, talking to a friend, getting psychotherapy help, or self-expression in arts or writing.
- Do Not Shut Your Doors Down
People with disabilities are more likely to self-isolate for various reasons. They could feel stigmatized and discriminated. There are instances when they may feel like a burden to others or sometimes comes with the overall feeling of hopelessness. These situations are triggering and even traumatizing, but be careful not to overgeneralize. However, know that there are people out there who genuinely care and support you.
- Take Care Of Your Health
Physical and mental health are two connected things; you can’t prioritize one over the other. Take care of your health by observing healthy habits, like getting enough sleep, proper diet, and regular exercise. If you feel good inside and your blood flow is in shape, you are also likely to have a lighter mood.
In doing exercises, slowly ease in. It’s best not to push yourself right away with strenuous activities. Find out which exercises are appropriate for you. You can research first about it, or much better if you consult a physician or a gym instructor to guide you properly.
- Find A Hobby Or A Passion
As mentioned, accepting your condition is not a ticket to feel useless and hopeless. You may have extra needs, but you have the same rights as other people – you deserve to live your life and enjoy it. Find something to learn, pursue whatever your dreams may be. Finding and doing something you love will keep you busy and fewer chances of derailing in unhelpful thoughts.
There might be a few constraints here and there, but know that you are capable of achieving your desires. If people like Stephen Hawking, Hellen Keller, or Beethoven have been successful in their respective fields, so can you.
Every context may differ, and not everyone has the resources, but the defining ingredient to success is your will power. Whatever the odds may be, find your drive because, without it, success is almost impossible. Without it, it is impossible.
The Bigger Picture For Mental Health Among People With Disabilities: Advocacy
We must shed light on how mental health problems of people with disabilities are a public health issue.
People with disabilities still have a hard time seeking psychological help because their psychological symptoms are often downplayed and merely viewed as a normal consequence of their disability. Hence, they are left unaddressed and unacknowledged. This concern needs intervention at the policy and systemic level, such as institutionalizing training for the topic among physicians. But you can do your part in raising awareness, too.
You can become an advocate of people with disabilities. Helping others and doing volunteer work also uplifts the mood and overall outlook in life. Besides, who else will represent and give voice to the community but you?