Becoming a disabled person is one of the hardest things I have had to come to terms with in my life, which is quite an admission after I have spent most of my life supporting people in some form or other to manage their own disabilities, be they physical, mental health or learning disabilities.
But even becoming a member of the community that comes under the mass umbrella and half baked term of 'the disabled', there are significant differences between having a disability from birth and acquiring a disability in later life, as is the case with me following a stroke in March 2009.
Below is a list of 5 stages of coping after acquiring a disability that have assisted me and I hope will assist others.
1) Anger - it is perfectly natural to feel angry after something happens that leaves you with a disability or lifelong impairment, take control of that anger and use it wherever you can to stimulate as much recovery as you can.
2) Recovery - for those who are newly disabled there is sometimes a period of recovery. It is almost impossible to put a time measure on this as it very much depends on the individual and the nature of the disability or impairment. In the early stages. For me it was learning how to walk and talk and trying to regain movement and feeling in my affected side.
3) Management- learning to manage your disability or impairment is important, if you can manage it you can regain a level of control over what your body is or isn't doing.
4) Mourning - this might be considered a little strange but for whatever reason a part of you has changed and as much you battle to get back to as near to the person you were before, some things will not fully recover. It is perfectly healthy for you to mourn for your old self who, until recently, you have lived with with various degrees of happiness.
5) Acceptance - once you have mourned your old self you are in a position to accept your new self and tackle head on the challenges that life throws at all of us from time to time.
I do not claim this list to be in anyway scientific, but it has and continues to work for me. I have tried to keep it general and not specific to strokes, however I'm sure not every stage will be applicable to everyone.
I hope you have found this interesting and useful.