Tag Archives: understanding

Double Disability?

Mr Pamsperambulation coined this phrase and encouraged me to write this post.  I guess I’m busy dealing with it, whereas he has to sit and watch it.

What we are really thinking of are the extra challenges of ‘Invisible Disability’ (health issues that severely effect your life, but not necessarily in a way that everyone can see).  Invisible disabilities are many and various and by their very nature, you may not know who is suffering and struggling.  This doesn’t mean that they are worse than very visible and obvious disabilities, just that they bring the extra challenges of people not even knowing you need help, understanding or special arrangements.

“Tourisme&handicap MOULINS” by Jeanlouiszimmermann. – Own work..

 

Such an example would be needing to use the ‘elderly or disabled’ seat on public transport, and getting accusing looks.  But it goes much deeper than that.

If you need something, you have to constantly ask or explain.  An obvious disability cuts those corners.  You may think I am perfectly healthy.  If you don’t know me well, you won’t recognise the signs that mean I’ve had enough, I can’t cope any more or today is a really bad day.  I may just appear rude, or disinterested.  I may just go home because I don’t have the energy to explain that no I can’t just go upstairs because it’s full down here; I can’t park there and walk; I can’t sit on that chair for very long; I can’t concentrate for more than 40 minutes, however interesting you are; I can’t take part in any activity that lasts more than an hour because it exhausts me – however exciting it may sound; I can’t hang around waiting; I can’t stand in this queue; I can’t keep coming back at your convenience; I can’t talk for very long; I can’t even always find the words I want to string a sentence together; I can’t just go and do that…  And they are just some examples from my problems, other people with other invisible difficulties will have their own.  They may include access to toilets, needing space, help with logistics – the list is as long as the individual people.  And we can’t always bear to have to explain AGAIN, because no one can see them.

Today depression has hit the news again.  Can you imagine how it would be to have to try to gather yourself to explain what that means in your life at this moment?  What you need to help you?  Yet it is very real, and by the nature of the illness often hidden, yet needs understanding and support.  Not all adaptations that need to be made are physical.  Sometimes we need to change the way we say things and the atmosphere we present.

It is true that we never know what is happening in someone else’s life, how it is to live the life they live.  They may appear stroppy, attention-seeking, awkward, distant or any other way of being – but we do not know what they are battling or living with; how much it might have taken them to get up or be where they are.  We should make no assumptions and no judgments.  We should find out what we can do to help, to make life and events accessible (and not promise you will if you haven’t thought that through or don’t mean it); accept what people need to do to make something bearable (that may mean something like lying on the floor – that needs to be OK, not questioned or tutted over); try to help and most of all seek to understand – not necessarily by asking lots of questions, just taking what is.

Disability is hard enough, please don’t make it any harder by your reaction, lack of reaction or failure to understand.  Listen, accept and do what you can to make life as easy and bearable as possible.  Because actually that applies to everyone, not just those who have a ‘disability’.

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Learning to Live

 

I’m relying on you Lord.

Show me
what you want me to do
and I’ll do it;
help me to understand
what it is you want of me,
that I may do the right thing;
make me want to live your ways
above anything else.

You give me everything I need
to fight the battle,
you save me.

When people say I am stupid
for relying on you,
may I stand strong
and speak truth.

You give me freedom
from needing to follow the crowd,
you alone are my source of joy.

I trust
and follow you.

Psalm 119:33-40  (CEV)

33 Point out your rules to me,
and I won’t disobey
even one of them.
34 Help me to understand your Law;
I promise to obey it
with all my heart.
35 Direct me by your commands!
I love to do what you say.
36 Make me want to obey you,
rather than to be rich.
37 Take away my foolish desires,
and let me find life
by walking with you.
38 I am your servant!
Do for me what you promised
to those who worship you.
39 Your wonderful teachings
protect me from the insults
that I hate so much.
40 I long for your teachings.
Be true to yourself
and let me live.

Teach Me, O Lord

I Can See You

Do you remember that childhood feeling that if you couldn’t see someone then they couldn’t see you? So closing your eyes became the obvious way to not be seen…

It’s comforting sometimes to think that no one can see you – but how much more comforting to know that you are never alone, and even more so that someone is watching out for you.

12 What God has said isn’t only alive and active! It is sharper than any double-edged sword. His word can cut through our spirits and souls and through our joints and marrow, until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts. 13 Nothing is hidden from God! He sees through everything, and we will have to tell him the truth.

Jesus Is the Great High Priest

14 We have a great high priest, who has gone into heaven, and he is Jesus the Son of God. That is why we must hold on to what we have said about him. 15 Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin! 16 So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help.

So this is why we can shout at God.  Nothing is hidden from him.  He knows the truth of how we’re feeling anyway, so we may as well share it with him.

We can also tell him, because Jesus understands – he knows – he has lived a human life.

Of course the double-edged sword of always being watched over is that everything you do is seen – good and bad.  So God sees not just our cries and our difficulties, but our stupid and wrong actions too.  But even so, the fact that Jesus lived a human life is good news for that too – he understands what our life is like.  God is not someone far off, sat on a white cloud, moving pawns around, with no concept of how they work.  He has, in Jesus, “Been there, done that” and so he gets how life is.

Jesus knows even the temptations of life.  He didn’t fall into them, but he can understand how we do.  So if the depths of our hearts are even shame and guilt, we can share those with him too.  For we will find, not him turning away, or getting exasperated with us – but kindness and help.

If we do not share how we are feeling, then those feelings can’t be dealt with – so today, tell God how it is for you.  He’s waiting to listen and to help.

Thank you Lord

that you understand life,

that you know the reality of it,

the problems and difficulties,

the fears and questions,

the temptations and how I respond to them.

Thank you

that there is nothing I cannot share with you,

because you are already aware of how I am,

and where I’m at.

Thank you for understanding me,

helping me,

and loving me

– always