Life for people in orbit of disability
"Many people don't understand exactly what people have to go through when they have disabilities. I don't pretend to understand even half of it.
Saying that, however I believe I have a bit more of an understanding than others. This is almost wholly down to my best friend Chloe. Although she's puts on a brave face daily, she always smiles and does her best to survive without any form of aid, I know her well enough to see the stress and strain it puts her through, and however tough, however difficult life is for her, I'm honoured to be there for her, no matter what. If she just needs to rant at someone (god knows how many essays she texts me) or if she just needs an arm to lean on.
But back to my point. I've never experienced disability first hand, I've never even broken a bone! (touch wood). But, I do know that it affects the people surrounding the person with the disability.
Sometimes it can be difficult. One day they can do something, the next they can't, its like trying to read someone's mind, which, everyone knows, is near impossible (unless you're Professor Xavier) and you're never going to get it right everytime. Sometimes you have to just go with the flow, cancel some plans for reasons you don't fully understand, change the location because suddenly it needs to be just a teensy bit more wheelchair friendly. Most of the time, I don't mind. Being outside isn't really my thing and I can just as easily talk to people through the internet or via text (despite what my parents think) but sometimes, after a while, you need to get out and talk to them and cancelling a plan can sometimes knock you down a few pegs, even if only for a little while. But you have to understand, it's even worse for the person on the other end who had to cancel it, they were (hopefully) looking forward to it just as much as you and they can't trust their body to cope.
Sometimes, especially if you're close, you take some of their problems onto your shoulders. Not even on purpose, suddenly you have this little part of your brain dedicated to them and things they can and can't do (because how awkward would it be if after five years you couldn't remember how far is too far). I don't mind this at all, and I'm sure many people in a similar position to me feel the same, anything I can do to help make life a little easier, consider it done (even if it does mean nearly running a few people over with me at the helm of the wheelchair.) It also includes any funny looks we get from people who don't understand that there are such things as part time wheelchair users thank you very much! And the inevitability of someone making an inappropriate comment, or an innocent question that takes you over the edge (thankfully I've had little experience of this) I wouldn't say it was unusual for someone in my position to become just a little protective. I know I hate it when she's upset, or just feels useless because there is damn well close to nothing I can do to help! Sometimes its like I want to just shout at the closest person to me because I have nothing physical to really blame and vent my anger and frustration at. I try my best to be supportive but I know how much it drains me, having to see her deal with things like she does, I can only imagine what it does to her.
I'm not really the best ambassador for disabilities, however I can try my best to understand everything I can, and find the best way to support my friend (which, most of the time is a chat and a movie marathon). I can't say I understand the pain, I can't even say I know how you feel, which, in many ways, makes it even harder to be useful, but I can say I am proud of my friend, I'm in awe of anyone who is still living life, despite any set backs and if I have half the hope and determination I've seen, then I am a lucky, lucky girl.