In a few days, Don and I will talk with a group of counseling students about issues faced by people with disabilities. As I compiled a list of issues people like Don and I struggle with, I pulled from our experience to try to give insight to the students. Although everyone’s experiences are different, we probably have a lot in common with other individuals and families who struggle with disabilities.
One issue we deal with is fear. At first when Don had his stroke, I feared he would die. As it appeared that fear wouldn’t happen immediately, I moved on to worry about our children, finances, safety issues for Don…the list was long. Don worried about our family’s pain if he died, about falling, about having another seizure, about me leaving him, about saying the wrong words, about getting back to work… We didn’t worry all the time, but fear crept into our lives over and over.
Fear appeared again for me last week when I questioned Don about going out for breakfast with a friend in 5 inches of new snow, and he said, “I need to get out.” There was a period at the end of his sentence. He went, and he returned safely. Things could have turned out differently, but again, all my angst was for nothing.
Last week I heard a quote from Mark Twain, who wrote, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” Isn’t that the truth! Actually, fears are not the truth. They amount to negative, misguided speculation that runs rampant in our minds.
What helps us cope and gives us hope: We acknowledge that fear is not usually productive. It helps to ask ourselves what truth is and try to let go of unrealistic fear. Don is better at that than I am. We try to be kind and not provoke each other’s fears, and when we fail, we hopefully apologize.
Questions for our readers: What fears plague your mind because of your disability or your loved ones disability? What helps you cope?
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