Monday, 21 May 2012

So You Don't Think You're Disabled: Accepting Help When You Need It

It Used to be so Easy

Coming home from work, hopping in the shower, going out to meet some friends for a drink. Does that seem like a regular Friday night? It seems simple, right? Wrong! That used to be a simple series of tasks but that's now a serious set of tasks that will leave me exhausted for a few days afterwards, even more so if I didn't ask for help. I don't think of myself as disabled but I still need help.

What's Different

Since coming out of hospital 2 months ago I have come to realize that I can't take things for granted anymore, I need help with everything I do now and from what I've been told it isn't going to get any easier. Even the things I can still do for myself have to be slowed down and calculated so that I don't screw up and hurt myself or become exhausted.

Things like hopping in the shower now have to be broken down into at least two parts as I can no longer wash my hair and shower at the same time. If they both need doing on the one day then I will do one in the morning and one at night but either way I need help getting into and out of the shower and having my hair washed. There's no shame in asking for help even with personal things like hygiene, there are always ways of keeping your dignity. For example, for getting into the shower I undress, put on my bathrobe and then I'm helped into the shower/bath where I can then draw the curtain and remove my towel and getting out is just the reverse of that. As for washing my hair I think of it as a pampering session, I get to have a head massage every single time. Until I can get a walk in shower that's the way it's going to be and there's not much I can do about it so I accept it and deal with it. 

What is My Point ...

Ask for help when you need it. There are not only physical sources of help but also financial. For example, I'm struggling to work full-time so I'm applying for financial aid through the government. This will allow me to pay all my bills and work part-time without making myself worse, I can focus on getting better and stronger and if I can go back to full-time then the benefits will stop because I can manage by myself again but until then that extra money will help a lot.

There are also other things you can apply for such as:
  • Mobility allowance
  • Blue badges
  • Specially adapted vehicles 
  • Careers
  • Careers allowance
  • Housing benefit or reduced council tax
  • Special equipment
The list is endless. If you're in the UK I would suggest stopping by to see what you might be eligible for.

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