Making life better in disadvantaged communities - our thoughts on everything - from Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc.
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As a person living with a disability I often experience stressfull days. However, the types of stress and things that bring it on, are not typically what a person would encounter. From daily issues of bowel or bladder to muscle spasms or arthritis soreness. How I handle or deal with these problems has sometimes gotten me in trouble.
For instance many years back, when I was a drinker, I would self medicate until I put myself to sleep. This was my way of not dealing with daily problems. Since then I have quit some 12 years ago, I have found that prayer and working with my docter to find alternative medical options helps deal with the daily stress. Including, those that do not involve taken medication. And of course if all else fails, you could rest and take it easy. But, as for me this options sometimes is not a choice, since I am very active both professionally and personally.
when i was younger i used tp party a lot to feel more "normal". I know what you mean about the self-medicat thing. Now I have found some real friends and i relized my family really is there for me. I talk to my mom and my sisters. I have one or two good friends that I can always count on to understand. Maybe it is different for a man to talk about his feelings but i find talking to my girlfriends really can help. I am not sure if men talk that easily to each other tho. I don't think so.
The thing that is stressful for me is not being able to do things like other people. Some days it just seems so unfair and that is what bothers me a lot. It is hard to have a relationship. People say oh you'll find someone who loves you for who you are but some days i think that is a big lie. People want someone normal.
How I deal with it is sometimes better than others. Some days I cry. Sometimes i eat ice cream and watch romantic movies. Other days I remind myself about all the things I can do and all the good things in my life.
There is an article in the next Miniwakan newsletter coming out by Dr. Erich Longie on growing older with a disability. Not to give away too much, but he talks about the usefulness of learning as much as you can about how to minimize the loss of ability with age as his way of dealing with the stress.
It is definitely easier to deal with stress by drinking and doing drugs, but this ends up creating more problems that will induce further stress - possible medication interactions, poor decision making, illness, financial difficulties due to spending money on your "partying". To reduce stress in a more healthy manner, talking to friends and family is definitely the way to go, exercising in which ever way suits you, taking up a hobby that distracts you. Stress is a tough thing to manage, but once you find the coping skill that is right for you, you won't even want to head back to the bottle ...
What worries me as I watch my mom get older is how she can do less each year. I can tell sometimes she gets depressed about this. It is not that it would bother me or her other kids if she had to move in with one of us but she has had her own place after all those year having to live in someone else's house worries her. One thing that I hope helps my mom is telling her that she took of us all those years and now we can take care of her. What I see as the stress for her is that she thinks it is a burden on us when its not. Like the lady said my mom seems to mostly talk to her friends when she feels down and that helps her. I am trying to get her to use teh computer to keep busy. I don't know what is out there for older people but I am sure there is something. She says I am crazy and she is too old but I am pretty sure that being busy is a good way to reduce stress. Maybe I can get her to do new stuff so she doesn't worry so much about the stuff she can't do any more.
Erich and I were talking about this today and he mentioned that in the traditional Dakota view that people were expected to behave a certain way at stages of their life and because of that there was less stress and no generation gap. People were not upset if an older person could not do all of things that a younger person does because that is how old people were supposed to be.
This made a lot of sense. I don't know where we Americans got the idea we were supposed to be young forever. I hear people say, "I don't want to be a burden on my children." Personally, if when I am old I am a burden on my children, that is just too damn bad. They were a burden on me for the first 20+ years of their lives and I didn't complain about it (well, not all that much!). I took care of them because that is what families do. This idea that we should work our whole lives, give our children everything and then die relatively young and healthy before we get to be an inconvenience on them - what kind of Machiavellian little brat came up with that idea?
There is some discussion of aging beginning here on our website, on how not being able to do things any more affects your self-concept.
http://www.spiritlakeconsulting.com/SLC … adult1.htm
So far, I have found that the things I can no longer do as I age are offset by the things I can do now that I could not do before. What I have lost in physical ability I am trying to make up in technical skill and experience.