Tag Archives: disabilty

Reviving your dreams after disability

Disabilities put an end to your dreams. Wanting to revive them after a disability is natural. Dreams are what give us the energy to strive and overcome challenges. We don’t want to surrender that energy. If surrendered, we want to recover it again.

You should not revive your dreams after a disability

Your old dreams were for another you. Before your disability you had different abilities. You could do different things. They were made for a different person in a different situation. To try and live out those old dreams will make you face the new reality over and over again.

I used to enjoy driving. It gave me a sense of freedom and competence. I never worried about accidents or harming others. As my eyesight failed, I had several near misses. One day I miss-judged the response of the car I was driving and flipped it. We were safe but shaken. While I miss the freedom of getting behind the wheel and going places, I don’t miss the fear that came over time. I can now recall with joy the freedom and ignore the fear, as long as I don’t try to drive.

As you see the reality of a disability it often causes you pain and depression. Would it not be easier to start afresh and not face the constant reminder of your loss?

How did those dreams come about? Were they not the product of your parents and others asking you things and offering you options? They molded you and often projected their own dreams on to you. How often does a father project onto his son the frustrated ambitions of an athlete? Often these projections are more subtle but still result in an ill-fitting dream.

Did that dream cause you stress? Did you feel that you must live that life? A dream that does not fit you does not give you energy. You don’t wake up each morning looking forward to living out that dream. Each night as you try to settle down the tension between your day and your dream haunts you. The challenges of the day were challenges with no rewards for overcoming them. You survived another day, for what? If you got closer to that dream did you feel any happier?

Do those old dreams now excite you? A dream should give you energy, energy to attack and conquer the challenges of the day. You now must look at those dreams. You are not the person you used to be. You are now the one who must create the dream. No longer are your parents and other adults responsible for you. They may still give you input, but their life experiences are no longer the ones you face. They are no longer able to mentor you.

You should dream anew after a disability.

As you live into a new you, you must look anew at your life. What can you do now? What do others with your abilities do? Should you let their limited successes limit you? Blind men have climbed Mt. Everest and solo hiked the Appellation trail. What will be the dream that you will embrace?

I have put the responsibility of driving behind me. I can now talk with the driver and others without worrying about getting lost. When I do get lost, it does not matter. Someone else is driving and we can recover. I am not alone in being lost!

I have moved to a place where I can take busses. Busses give me freedom that I would not have if I had to depend upon others to drive me. I can use the time waiting for and riding on the bus to plan, think, and read audio books. It may not be the way most of my peers do things, but it serves me well and I don’t have to strain to see where I am going.

When you were young you saw stories of other’s exploits. Some excited you and some seemed silly. What exploits now excite you? What now seem silly? Are there new stories that interest you?

Share your dreams old and new.

Bring others into this conversation. Do you know someone who needs a new dream?

Next week I continue this series on how to put your life back together to achieve your new dreams. Sign up at the right to be notified of when it is posted. If you know others who might also want to join us on this journey, forward this blog’s link to them.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,


Want to Thrive with a Disability?

Thriving is what we all would like to do, but when you face a disability you worry about how you can just survive. But you should; not settle for survival! You are now freed from the binds that kept you from thriving before!

We can divide the ways people see their lives into three categories; trapped, tamed or thriving.

Have you been trapped in a life that did not serve you?

If you were trapped you probably knew it. Here are some ways you might have described your life, stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious. All these similar feelings come from a mindset that does not let you be free. There were beliefs that held you back. They made you a prisoner in your own life. Now the musts, should and ought’s that governed your life can be put in their place. When one of these gilt-producing ideas comes into your mind, you can say, “the disability won’t let me…”

If you were lucky, you led a Tamed life.

A Tamed life is one where you find it easy to get along. You do what you must to get what you need. The shoulds, musts and ought’s get met without effort. You had a job, friends and family. If so, you are lucky friends and family are still there for you now that a disability dominates your life. True the disability has put its own set of demands upon you. They too are met with little effort.

When my eye sight got too bad for me to drive, friends and family stepped up and I could still get around. In fact a neighbor I barely knew offered me a ride to a community group we were both in. I still lived a tamed life.

But is a tamed life what we really want? Is it the life that will be best for all those around us? Tamed people are plane people. They don’t make waves or get tossed by them. Are they fun to be around? Do they make you a better person?

The Thriving life is one where we not only get our “needs” met but also our wants. Few of us really want for our basic needs of food, clothing shelter and friends. True, the food we could get in a soup kitchen is not what we are used to or want to resort to for support. It is there if we are willing to set aside the self-image and pride we have and get it. The same is true of shelter, clothes, family and friends. No matter whom I have met they have always had these available. Those who lived on the streets still had some sort of friends. I might not want them. Call me a snob, but then there are many people I would rather not have as friends.

When a disability strikes your old life gets destroyed. We will miss it, but once we realize that we can’t go back, what is there to do?

We must make a new life for ourselves. Few of us consciously created the life we lived. It resulted in many decisions that others made for us. We did not choose our parents. They chose the communities we lived in and the schools we attended. They shaped our attitudes and beliefs about how we should live and how the world would be. Now, much of that does not work! The disability prevents us from believing such things as, “if we are good only good things will happen to us.”

I lost my eyesight due to no fault of my own. I was diagnosed with the disease early on. I went to one of the world’s experts in that disease. I followed his orders. Yet my eyes got worse. I could see less and less until there were major things I could not see and do.

With the help of a coach I now know I have choices. These choices can change my life. I can take charge of my life and Thrive. So can you!

What dreams do you have? If you could be any animal, what would you be? Let’s talk about those dreams and our animal personas.

As all Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

“Out of the Depths I cry …”

When we are in the depths of depression we will cry out for any help we can get. Yet some of the things that make us feel better in the short term actually make us more depressed. How can we feel better now and stay better?

Last week I reviewed some of the ways a disabling illness can make you depressed. Now let’s look at some ways to get out of depression. The biggest thing you can do is change your diet. This will take time to have a benefit. So let’s review the short term fixes first.

There are several things you can do immediately to feel less depressed.

  1. Make your bed. Hint: it is easier if you get out of it first.


  1. Stay out of bed: hint: letting your porcupine sleep on it will help. Don’t worry porcupines are nocturnal so they will prowl the house, keeping you in bed when you should be there.


  1. Get up and get dressed. That means set a time to get started and follow thru with it. You will feel good that you at least could do this much. It might have taken major effort but now you have a start on the day. After all, it is your porcupine’s turn.


  1. Capture the day: Getting outside into the sunlight will help your body orient itself. The natural rhythm of light and dark we experience each day triggers changes in our brains. At night our brains release Melatonin. When we lack the light and dark cycles this release stops.


I found that bedtime supplements helped patients in the ICU where the lights were always on and they were disturbed by the care routines day and night. Melatonin is not without side effects, so I don’t recommend it for depression.


  1. Get moving: Exercise has long been known to relieve depression. This should not be maximal exertion. Exercise that causes pain and soreness, means that muscles or joints have been injured. Remember that the healing process of injury contributed to depression.


  1. Seek Joy: Things that make us smile help our brains feel better. It can be simple things like watching children play, or listening to music.


  1. Be social: Humans are social animals. An infant left without parental contact will die, even if food and other needs are met.


  1. Help others: When we see the benefit we can have in the lives of others we find purpose in our own lives. Holding a door and carrying packages are simple yet appreciated acts of kindness.


  1. Relax: Tension and anxiety often accompany depression. The hormone Adrenalin released in times of stress reduces blood flow to the gut and some other organs. This leads to a leaky gut and toxins getting into our bodies. The various forms of relaxing will reduce your adrenalin levels.

By relaxing and meditating on life we can get in touch with what is important. Remember many things outside your control are making you feel depressed. You might not be able to change the world we live in but we can change how we respond to it. Old ways of thinking no longer serve you. That is why a disability will make you a new person. Choose who you want to become.


  1. Avoid “comfort Foods:” Research now shows that a diet high in fats and sugars actually contribute to making us depressed. There are foods you can enjoy that will make you less depressed. I will write about the antidepressant diet next week.

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As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave