I've always tried to maintain a positive attitude towards most everything in life. It is not because I am a person of faith or that my family of origin was positive in nature, or that I married a positive person. These were NOT the case! I guess, despite all that, I have my own sense of looking at life to uncover the best possible means to be happy or improve my own situation or that of my loved ones. Considering the environment in which I've lived 60+ years, I manage to be positive most of the time. And so it is in dealing with disability and family health issues that have been part of my adult life for 40+ years.
I do get depressed from time to time! And I do take medication for periods of time when I need it. And I do talk with a therapist on occasion - also when I know I need it. In other words, I recognize the signs and symptoms, and I take care of myself. I have to....because I am needed. I can't help those in the family who need it if I am not whole and sane. (Tennis and my fiber art help too!)
Somehow, and this seems rather ironic, I've gained strength from the many setbacks our family has encountered. For example.....the knowledge that one daughter would fail her DMV vision test and have to give up her driver's license - although we knew this was coming - was initially devastating. A life-altering experience that has been characterized by relief, rather than angst. I worried more about this lack of driving permission than her driving itself. And she has dealt with it beautifully - hiring drivers for work, appointments, and errands, and prevailing upon friends and neighbors for other needs and entertainment. I should have been worried about how safe she was (and others!), and so now I realize why she's experiencing this as a HUGE relief, rather than a HUGE burden. And she's handled it with aplomb! So proud! I pray that our other daughter will accept her fate when it happens with similar equanimity.
Each person handles life's experiences differently. That's a function of personality and one's personal philosophy. How do I handle the various tribulations of my life? Not always with aplomb! Not always with positivity! Not without falling sometimes! And not without failing sometimes. But I realize that I have a process that seems to work. If shared, this process can perhaps help others in dealing with their own trials. But that's where personality comes into play, I think.
Here's what I've done - even before I realized it was indeed MY process!
My initial reaction to adversity is not always good or positive or effective. In an emergency (such as the many cardiac issues encountered with my DH), I am usually OK through the crisis and fall apart after the critical period is over. With disability issues for my children, I am initially devastated, shocked, frightened, and immobilized. I ALLOW myself 24 hours (but generally no more) of self-pity. Sometimes it's hard to "snap out of it" (as some have advised!) If it persists for more than a few days, then I know it's time to resort to other means - medication first and then arrange to meet with my wonderful, compassionate but direct LISW. Generally by the time I get to the appointment several days later, I have snapped out of it, and embark on a plan to DO and COPE rather than STEW and MOPE! This has proven effective in so many instances! But this is MY personal plan - it will not work for everyone.
The most important thing is to find the resources and help to develop strategies that WORK for you! For some, this might be faith in God, prayer, support groups, involvement in disability organizations, writing, helping others, presenting, educating, or any number of other engagements that WORK! Helping others always works wonders, so if you're reading this and having difficulty dealing with Usher Syndrome, low vision, hearing loss, any other form of disability, disenfranchisement, disaster, or distress, consider these possibilities and SHARE them with others.
This blog is proving therapeutic for me but with the hope that it will perhaps help others too. Comments welcome!