Living with Disabilities

Written By: Dan Miller, M.A., LPC, BCPCC

                                                                                                                                            

Diagnosed at the age of thirty-four with Cone-Rod Dystrophy, I felt like a nuclear bomb went off in my life and my world as I knew it was obliterated, leaving me in a state of desolation and despair. The prognosis was that I was going to be blind. There was no known cure. I went through the typical stages of grief and loss. My fondness of multicolored sunsets was going to reside in the recesses of my mind. Seventy percent of our perception of the world around us comes from our sight. Now I was going to have to learn how to rely upon my other senses left to me.

Feeling led by the Lord to pursue a career in counseling, I earned a B.A. in Psychology graduating with honors. I then went on to earn my M.A. in Professional Counseling. I took my State Boards and passed, found an LPC Supervisor and was awarded my LPCI License from the State of Texas. There are two quotes that were recited to me by family, friends, and well intentioned strangers. I would like to share them with you. “When life deals us a bushel of lemons, the best thing to do is make us a pitcher of lemonade.” “When life attempts to close doors of opportunity, the Lord has a way of opening a few windows.”

Remember that when you are faced with a disability, perhaps as in my case, going blind, or the victim of an unfortunate accident that leaves you in a wheelchair, it is not only a traumatic life event for you, but it affects all those around you as well. As you may experience a since of helplessness adapting to a new way of navigating and remaining productive, your family, friends and other associates may feel the same since of helplessness. They want to help you, but are at a loss as to how to. As you struggle coming to terms with it, they face a similar struggle. They may desire to help you, and by attempting to minimize the situation, they appear to ignore the situation, a form of denial, or in some cases attempt to overcompensate by wanting to do everything for you, they want to be there for you the best way they can.

A beneficial and therapeutic course is initiating and maintaining open dialogue with family, friends, and associates. This is a journey of growth and healing for all parties involved. There are governmental agencies and laws designed to assist those with disabilities. I am not referring to going on disability unless absolutely necessary. The more productive you become the more psychologically prepared you will be to face the challenges ahead. Don’t perceive them as obstacles, but instead take a more optimistic view. They are opportunities to exercise your creative skills in meeting these challenges, but more important they are opportunities to succeed and discover things about yourself that you didn’t even know.

You may be surprised to know that there may be local support groups in your area, where individuals in similar situations come together, and share ideas, and provide support to each other.  You may find out about these groups from Allied Health Care Agencies, local government offices, and even through counseling agencies in your area. They may provide you with beneficial resources that are designed to help. There are State Agencies such as DARS (Department of Assistive and Rehabilitation Services) designed to provide training, education, and assistive technology to help you achieve your goals.

Below are some recommended Bible verses designed to encourage and uplift.

Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

 

Isaiah 41:10

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

Zephaniah 3:17

 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

 

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

 

2 Corinthians 4:16-18  

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.