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Keeping Positive During Life’s Transitions

Our lives will be constantly changing. This is true for everyone. Whether you are disabled or not.

Facing challenges and transitions

Life never stays stagnant so how can we adapt and stay positive?  Staying positive is harder when you add on a disability like Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Dealing with a disability that is progressive adds more transitions to your life.

Don't give up

I was lucky that I grew up in a 2-parent household with loving and supportive parents. My Mom and Dad have always instilled in me and my siblings that we don’t give up when dealing with life’s challenges. I know that everyone’s situation is different. Maybe you didn’t grow up in a positive environment or had the same love and support that I had. This mantra of never giving up has served me well.

It is more than just words though. Yes, my parents drilled this into my head. I am the one who actually has to carry it out. If you were not as fortunate as me, let me encourage you that with some determination and self-discipline you can instill this mantra too. Parents, if you have a younger child start at a young age. Teach them to overcome adversity. Especially if they have a disability like spinal muscular atrophy. They will have to overcome some extra hardships. Instill in them that they have the mental fortitude to do so.

Adapting as independence impacted by disability

As we go through life and our disability slowly chips away at our independence we need to make a choice. I’ve always chosen to adapt. Now is there sadness?  Yes, I’m human and I grieve the loss of my independence. That seems like a natural response to me. Think of losing a loved one, we grieve that loss. For me there is a similar grieving process when I have lost my physical abilities over the years.

Like losing a loved one we mourn the loss. However, we must move forward. It is never healthy to stay stuck in the mourning phase. We need to pick up the pieces and move forward.  I feel the same about losing my physical abilities. I made the decision to move on. There are still things I want to do. If I’m stuck in a constant grieving state those things won’t happen.

Practice staying positive

I try to envision myself as an athlete of sorts. I love sports so this is an easy comparison. Athletes need to work on their bodies so they can compete. The same methodology applies to staying positive. It’s not a switch that we can turn off and on. There is hard work to achieve this. Obviously like anything it comes easier for others. Nonetheless we all need to put some effort into it.

I’m a visual person. Lists are my way to keep myself on task. Find something that works for you. The goal is to create a list of life goals. Start small then figure out what needs to be done in order to achieve those goals. No one can do anything all by themselves. Surround yourself with positive people who can help you. We will run into naysayers. Don’t let them bring you down to their level.

Positive thoughts and energy become contagious. Once you start experiencing it you will also want to spread it. Everyone is capable of overcoming their obstacles. We just need to keep trying!

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