Updated: 17 May 2015
I know many out there are hurting with disabling mental, spiritual and physical pain thinking there is nothing more that can be done to improve the situation. What is a social disability expectation? I coined this term back in 2004 when I understood my injury was permanent causing lifelong pain that must be managed daily. Through this time it was apparent I was looked at by many as a disability casualty that met the social disability expectation… one who couldn’t provide for self and family; and that was a very depressing point in time for me.
I do understand the feelings associated with loss of finances, immobility, productivity, loneliness, worth and dignity. I’ve personally experienced these things during my own physical adversary and mobility challenge from 2003 to 2008 after injury. And one thing I know for certain, physical loss almost always leads to mental depression. And if not prepared with a plan to beat it, the mind and body begin to experience more illness and pain.
However, if you are able to mobilize your body for longer periods of time throughout the day, especially outdoors when possible, nature has a way of inspiring, providing solutions and purpose, while allowing the mind and body to heal. The encompassing being when connected to God’s universe have healing energy.
Regardless of whether you’re recovering from injury, addiction, illness or disease and feel broke, you can be made whole again through self-healing effort. Even when temporarily or permanently confined to a wheelchair, dependent on crutches or cane(s); or have loss of limb(s). We’re capable of finding new and exciting purpose while enjoying life to the fullest.
When the mind and body are stimulated, energized and challenged by changing environmental surroundings and activity; the brains cerebrum thinks, perceives and processes everything within and around it. Through transport of mind and body the processing of sight, sound, smell, sense and touch stimulation and spiritual elements have therapeutic and healing benefits.
However, if the mind actually believes the body cannot receive such a benefit through exercise activities then a disabled social expectation may likely result within the mind’s eye.
All too often we tend to lock ourselves away when we become mentally and physically ill or hurt, or disease enters our lives. Then ponder on all the whos me head games. Why did this happen, why won’t the pain stop, why can’t I continue the same lifestyle I had before, why should I continue to self-improve when it’s physically and mentally too hard and it hurts?
Instead of focusing on the negatives… focus on all the positives to heal sooner than later. For instance, determine who you trust well enough to share how you feel. Create a support group, let them help you find answers and treatment leads, identify healthy and positive environments to surround yourself within while going through physical and mental adversity. Find the best treatment and social, and therapeutic support group(s) possible; then focus on creative purpose during a self-healing time. And realize, you can live life to the fullest once you apply new and other challenging lifestyle change goals – Your capable of achieving. Climbing your way out of adversity to a better life scenario is possible, but you have to believe it is possible.
I believed for a short period of time my new purpose in life was to live as a disability casualty, or learn to live the way I believed society and medical doctors viewed and classified me. Especially as I struggled to walk correctly with mobility aids for many years while battling pain depression. It became apparent post op recovery… psychologist, orthopedic specialists and physiatrist recommendations were to live life as comfortable as possible and not stress over the things I could no longer physically do. However, those words were easier said than done, due to neurological pain complications radiating throughout my body after my first hip surgery.
At that time of my bone graph surgery to save my left hip, I didn’t understand how to reinvent myself within a less mobile and pain ridden body during the healing process. This was my physical adversity challenge that would continue from 2002-20 after my 3rd hip surgery and 2nd total hip replacement.
Make no mistake, it makes no difference if depression begins within your mind’s eye… or caused by substantiated medical diagnosis, etc. Severe and chronic depression can be coupled with a mental or physical disorder, illness and/or disease or injury and is a serious medical condition. And without proper treatment and support may spell disaster for a patient on the mend.
In either case, the psychosomatic [brain and body] are connected through Neuro biochemical transmitter conduits [hormones, and feel good chemical pathways]. The point being, mental and physical illness, disorders and disease can all depress, stress and cause neurological pain through the same neuro transmitter conduits which can further sicken and disable the encompassing being.
I know many of you have woken up on certain days and felt bad, or under the weather and didn’t go to work. Imagine feeling that way every day. How would that affect your daily activities, mood, feelings and outlook on life? And what would you be willing to do to make yourself numb to those feeling? Begin a bad drug or drinking habit? Or fight your way back from the obis through self-healing mind-body-spiritual activities.
When the mind is sickened and depressed then the body and spirit often follow suit. And when this goes on for too long mental fatigue transmits less of the healing feel good chemical energy (serotonin, dopamine and adrenalin, etc.) the body produces. Then puts more stress on bodily functions, immune system and cellular health. Then as internal and external environmental stressors continue, increased oxidative cellular damage occurs internally. Thereby increasing risk of illness and disease and more physical and mental pain depression.
I know from expert medical consultation and educational experiences there is a universal energy capable of healing all that ails us [1/3 encompassing being spirit]. Reversing ill-health can be accomplished through lifestyle change that connects our physical being to nature’s spiritual energy. My healthy spiritual connection occurs during daily walking activity within wooded and rural trail systems.
Let’s get back to your changed lifestyle – like mine, caused injury or disease or mental disorder. You may/may not have limited mobility, take drugs to manage pain, or bodily systems and receive a disability check monthly. People in general understand disability payments is a needed resource for those clinically diagnosed as disabled. What becomes bad about those payments are when recipients stop living life to the fullest when in fact capable of doing so much more with their lives.
For example, some believe their not capable of doing anything after disability rating and award of monthly support. Other than living a sedentary lifestyle and stuck inside their home while partially or fully mobile. And others fear if they try to increase activity or become more productive, they may lose their financial support. In either case this type of thinking is justified. But you can think and act differently while receiving support to improve your lifestyle without worry of losing any benefits. Especially if you have a substantiated medical diagnosis or claim.
One does not have to live a 100% disabled and sedentary lifestyle if no living on 100% disability support. There’s room to increase daily mobility and exercise activity and improve productivity, while managing pain without fear of losing financial support. Keep this in mind, once substantiated and administratively signed off as disabled by a medical doctor, this will not stop you’re disability checks unless you’re gaming the system [an entirely different scenario and discussion].
If you’re now suffering from a depressed state of mind, body and spirit, realize no matter the physical adversity challenge, you have greater purpose in life than meeting a 100% social disability expectation. For instance, does physical disability mean your brain or body is not capable to some degree to make physical, and mental improvement throughout time?
Does the disability expectation we often lead ourselves to believe mean there’s no greater good one could aspire because of partial, or full immobility, disease, mental disorder and pain challenge situation? Does this mean a broken body or mind can’t work to reason and mend itself out of depression and limited mobility with proper treatment and support resources?
The point is, everyone has purpose on planet earth. Your decision to make – will you accept your disability as a lifelong sentence without hope of better circumstances? Or will you fight for happiness, purpose and quality of life experiences for the sake of self and family… will you do everything possible to heal and live life to the fullest with your loved ones? Remember, they need you as bad as you need them… their worth fighting for…
To fight and die for country, cause or family is often considered noble and honorable. To lie down without a fight serves no purpose, especially when capable of doing more. In my mind, only total incapacitation [hospice care] should relieve one of further service and purpose and responsibility to self, family and community. In that situation… life purpose has been served to the fullest in our organic bodies.
Even if your diagnosis and health condition is classified as stationary permanent (means condition is stable, may/may not improve and “may” get worse with age) is certainly no reason to throw in the towel. To age without challenging substantiated disability can only increase other health risk. Especially when depression begins its insidious course on the organic brain and body.
If lack of mobility causes body weight to climb, then cardio and circulatory disease often follow and may further complicate disability circumstances. And when you see no way out of a progressive disease then you experience more mental and physical pain and depression that need not be.
Don’t let disability and society dictate how to live your life. Don’t accept or fulfill a social disability expectation that’s less purposeful than your capable of sustaining… especially when capable of doing so much more.
Be a MirrorAthlete Warrior and take back as much of your life as possible.
Live life to the fullest, with purpose and in a way that makes you feel good about your time here on earth. Then you may experience life to the fullest with no regrets and find peace within your mind’s eye, heart and soul.
Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2015 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., www.mirrorathlete.org, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.