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It’s been a difficult week...

It’s been a difficult week – everything was going along swimmingly and suddenly I fall off my bike and smash my elbow to bits. From being a fit and able human being I have suddenly been thrown into the realms of the disabled. I can’t chop my food, I can’t get dress myself, I can’t wash my hair, I can’t drive the car. All of a sudden, many of the things that I have taken for granted for so long have been taken away from me. 

This of course is a very temporary situation for me.  In a few weeks I will be doing what I did before, albeit with a slightly stiffer arm.

But this unfortunate episode has given me a teeny weeny insight into what it must be like to have a disability on a permanent basis.  Apart from the inability to do certain things, it has also worn me out.  The extra energy needed to get about daily life has been exhausting, not to mention the emotional energy of getting my head round the whole situation.

It's easy to get down when times are hard. My arm is painful, it is frustrating when I can’t do things, I can’t sleep as it’s difficult to get into a comfortable position.  I could easily become depressed and fed up (and sometimes I do) but what has really kept me going has been the support given to me by family and friends.

Having social contact when times are tough is so important.  My family have been there to help out with all the jobs that I usually do.  And my friends have rallied round as well.  They have driven me to appointments, typed up documents, taken me out for numerous cups of coffee, and basically been there when I’m bored and in need of some stimulating conversation.

No one should have to struggle on alone, and I have found that people want to help. Of course, everyone is in a different situation.  Some people live alone, some find it very difficult to get out.  Not everyone wants or has someone to share their difficulties with.  

But having social contact can boost your mood, can help you see things in a more positive light.  And it doesn’t have to be friends and family that help. In every town there are numerous voluntary organisations who offer advice, assistance and support.  As well as offering practical help, they can introduce you to social groups and put you in touch with others who are in a similar situation.

So if times are hard, don’t struggle on alone. Pick up the phone and ring your sister, your best friend, the local voluntary action group.  Sign up for a social activity to get you out of the house, join local or online friendship groups where people are looking for new friends.

Whatever you do, don’t go it alone.  It’s too hard.  And as they say, ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’.  There is a lot of truth in that.