Disability: Believe in yourself, believe in your future


 Just the other day I saw a photo on Facebook that led to a shopping outlet. Nothing strange about that nor, for me, any interest in buying anything. It was the picture, using Scrabble letters, to spell out the phrase ‘Always believe in yourself’.

That’s really apt for those of us living with multiple sclerosis – and a host of other disabilities for that matter. How often do we doubt our own abilities, our own determination and even suppress our own hopes and desires? How often do we hear ‘You won’t be able to do this’ or ‘You can’t do that’?

Now, of course it is true that our abilities are somewhat limited but that does not mean that there is nothing we can do. It is about having a positive attitude and making the most of the abilities we do have.

We need to get ourselves into the mind-set of ‘Yes, I have MS (or whatever), so what?’. Similarly, for those of us who use a wheelchair – as I often do – we really must be positive and adopt a ‘Yes, I use a wheelchair, so what?’ attitude. That is not to say that everything will still be possible or achievable but much will be. Most of what we can achieve is very much within our own grasp.

Years ago, besides my work as a journalist, I was involved in voluntary work. First, I spent more than 10 years as an adult leader in the scout movement and, later, a similar length of time as an officer in St John Ambulance.

With the scouts, among many other things, I was an authorised mountain walking leader. Now, I accept that my days of mountain activities (including rock climbing and abseiling) are over but feel that may be as much about age as MS. The desire for those has left me.

First aid is a crucial part of St John activities and, while certificates are only valid for three years, the basic knowledge never leaves you. As such, I know that if no-one else was around to help, I could and would be able to give someone first aid, maybe even keeping him or her alive, until help arrived. Getting down to a casualty on the ground would no problem, I fall often enough that the ground and I are very good friends, but help would probably be needed to get me up again. Would I be capable enough, physically, to make a real difference? You don’t know until you try but I believe so.

Writing has been my life-long passion that I have been lucky enough to enjoy as a career. Getting paid to do what you love to do is a dream that many have but few realise. Even as a child I knew what I wanted to do and was determined enough to achieve it. For most of my career the world-wide web either did not exist or was in its infancy. News arrived in newspapers, on television or via radio. Online news didn’t exist; the blogging phenomenon was unknown.

Now, though, from the comfort of an armchair in our living room or while sitting out on our terrace enjoying the sunshine, I am able to indulge my passion for writing through this blog – attracting many thousands of views every month. It wasn’t an instant success but, having started it only last year, I was confident that in time it would be. I believed that I could make it work.

So to everyone with a disability, I’d say believe in your own abilities, concentrate on what you CAN do, ignore those who say ‘you can’t’ and remember that it’s your life and your body. Believe in yourself and, through your determination, make others believe in you too.


You might also like to read ‘CAN do’ attitude to life by clicking on this link: http://50shadesofsun.com/?page_id=51


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