Some of us are more self-reliant than others. So, as limitations stack up, we may find ourselves feeling down. How can we cope with the loss of independence?
Thankfully, loss of independence comes to most of us gradually. So, we give up a bit of it here and there and accept the changes. I was just 41 when both my retinas detached. The recovery was long and arduous. I couldn’t lift over 30 pounds, swim, ride roller coasters, or drive. No riding roller coasters? No loss there and swimming wasn’t high on my list. However, no lifting over 30 pounds was a bit of a change and no driving was out of the question.
Months later, I was driving again but with specialized glasses and never at night. And my eyes ached for years. Then I added on arthritis in my spine and so on.
The fact is that we’re all aging. Some of us have been injured. And some of us abuse our own bodies through improper diet and a sedentary lifestyle. So, limitations are going to come and stay.
How can we cope?
- Get all the facts about our condition.
- Follow the rules.
- Engage in the things we can still do– more often.
- Maintain a thankful attitude for everything still within our grasp.
- Find a new way to do things. A new normalcy.
- Ask for help.
Write it Down Before it Gets You Down
From time to time, I’ll find myself feeling self-pity. That’s when I do this little exercise. I jot down all the things I can still do. Sometimes I generalize and at other times I detail myself right off the page.
I can walk. That means I can go to the park with my grandkids. I can do my own shopping. I can go to social functions, etc. True, I can’t walk for miles but not all is lost.
I can drive. Then I list all the places I can go. True, I can’t drive for hours or at night. But I can drive.
I can lift. I’m down to about 10 pounds now because of my back. But I can lift.
When it comes to the things I can’t do, I sometimes need to write those down as well. I’d rather complain on paper than into the ears of my children or grandchildren.
One of the biggest things I miss is not being able to carry the little ones. They can sit on my lap but I cannot tote them on my hip– never again. And someone else must put them on my lap.
If you’re losing independence bit by bit and finding it hard to stay positive, consider seeking counsel. And remind yourself of the wonderful things you can still do and still are.