September’s Disability Topic of the Month by Toni-Marie

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27th September 2021
Blind man sitting in armchair reading with logo overlay saying Topic of Month

Be your own light

Hello Readers! 

My name is Toni-Marie. For the purpose of my blog I will tell you just a little bit about my disability because I feel it is relevant. I have cerebral palsy quadriplegia and scoliosis of the spine. I have been disabled since birth and I am a full-time electric wheelchair user.

Revitalise resident Toni-Marie enjoying coffee

Topic Of The Month: Well-being!

Our own well-being is so important especially in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. I feel the whole topic of well-being is now very much in the spotlight. I have often said that we are nothing without our health. Those of you who know me very well will also know that I am fiercely independent, pragmatic and a survivor! I write this next paragraph purely so those of you who face a constant struggle can see that someone like myself, who is always perceived as a very strong, capable woman can also have times when I am extremely fragile too.

I have learnt through my own experiences that nothing is more important than our physical, psychological or emotional well-being. I went through periods of sustained and continuous pressure that definitely affected my physical, psychological and emotional well-being. Sadly, the situation was way beyond my control, but somehow I found a way forward.

I was lucky in the sense that I have always been a person who is very self-aware and I knew that my own fragility was suffering massively. As I began the process of piecing myself back together, I realised that my own well-being had to be my focus, no matter what else might be going on.

 

These are my tips to improve your overall sense of well-being:

  1. Talk about your problems with someone you trust.
    1. Remember nothing can be worse than the feeling of drowning under the weight of all of your different issues. If you cannot communicate on your own without help, please make a conscious effort to find the courage to lean on someone within your usual support system.
    2. Maybe set aside a specific time each month when all of those people who support you on a daily basis will know that you need them to listen extra hard to you. By creating the time and space to talk freely, you will also be creating a platform of positive change.
  2. Think about each issue individually and deal with them one at a time.
  3. You may find that an advocacy service — whose primary role is to support an individual through their problems — can be of massive benefit.
  4. Remember that there may never be a permanent solution to every problem. You may need to focus on effective management, so as to maintain an overall positive sense of well-being.

Woman with dwarfism looking in mirror applying moisturiser

Other things that I personally do to improve my own sense of well-being:

  1. Self investment. By this I mean caring for myself, my body and my general appearance. 
  2. I make time just for me. To read, watch a film, meditate or write a little.
  3. I often send a card/parcel to a loved one for no reason. Not only does this make me incredibly happy, but I get to pass that feeling on!
  4. I often learn about something new or find the answer to random things! This can be extremely funny and a lovely thing to share with others.
  5. I always plan something to look forward to. It can be as simple as having coffee with a friend.
  6. Spend time with those who love you the most in your life. Those who accept you for all that you are — from the inside out. 

 

Final thoughts:

  1. Communicate. I have not always found it easy to be very open about the tough topics. But I have it on good authority that I am getting better!
  2. Try to accept and celebrate all that you have. Stop giving your energy to things that, realistically, you know in your heart you can never have.
  3. Never stop maintaining your own sense of self-worth. I know this can be very hard to do. However, I have also learnt that you will never, ever find it as a constant source through other people around you. Even if someone loves you — ultimately you have to try and find it for yourself.
  4. Never see getting the help that you may need as a sign of weakness. In fact it is entirely the opposite — it is definitely a sign of strength and taking responsibility for your own well-being. Even if it means getting some form of short term medical/therapy intervention.
  5. Having a positive mindset will draw people towards you! Allow yourself the odd “can’t be bothered day,” — but do not live in them!
  6. You cannot change everything that you don’t like about yourself or your life…But try changing the way that you see these things.
  7. Be present in the moment! Be your own light — and be the light in someone else’s darkness.

Sign that says Self Care Isn't Selfish against pink background

Listen well. Life is now!

I feel this is the perfect opportunity to mention the British Tennis player Emma Raducanu and her courageous decision to pull out of her first ever major Tennis Tournament. Her third round match of Wimbledon 2021. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this decision was one of the hardest that she has ever had to make. And in the end, she put her physical, psychological and emotional well-being above that of what I’m sure is her most fought for dream. 

So because of this she will always be a First-Class Champion in my eyes!  And besides, she went on to win the US Open in the same year anyway! Much respect and love to her!

Always see your ability in disability!

Thanks for reading!

Toni-Marie x

 


1 Comment

  • Stephen James Guy says:

    Each and every month I look forward to reading Toni –Marie’s Blog.
    I too approach life with a similar positive approach, but of course there is always a hurdle that I cannot just conquer… But with these hints and tips she shares puts a little smile on my face and gives me the kick start to try harder.
    Keep up the good work Toni – Marie and thank you for your help.
    Steve Guy

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