Routines of everyday life are often riddled with roadblocks for people with disabilities. The range of obstacles is as vast as every person’s individual journey but there are basic systems of overcoming that can aid everyone. We as humans are diverse but connected in many ways, aspects of my life have been lived by many others before me and my experiences will echo in those of the future. Learning about other people and what works and doesn’t work with their struggles can also teach us about ourselves.
Our first steps are identifying our obstacles. Always, these are lessons in knowing ourselves.
There are many questions to ask, what are your physical limitations? Are there attention issues? Have you sustained yourself for optimal performance, eg, eating, sleeping, water consumption? Is there psychological stress masking your perceptions? Are there specific aspects of your life and responsibilities that are overwhelming to you?
Writing down your stressors and reasons your productivity and motivation have been affected will help paint a clearer picture of what you’re facing and what to do about it. I’ve written a bit about finding self awareness in Disabled Motivation: Procrastination.
For example, today I haven’t eaten anything, causing low energy, which makes me feel as though I have no energy to make myself food or do daily chores. I’ve taken my ADHD medication but I’m distracted away from my responsibilities by creative projects and hyperfocus. My body dysphoria and dysmorphia is making it difficult to go outside to take out the trash or do the laundry. The smell of dishwater often triggers dissociation or anxiety related to PTSD, making me avoid doing the dishes. I’m overwhelmed by the number of chores to do because I’ve created impossible assumptions of what ‘success’ looks like and am held back by anxiety of feeling like a failure.
For every perceived limitation, there’s a resource and a way to lessen the load. Finding resources relies on keywords, often involving specific symptoms of your disability (time perception, fine motor control, low energy, etc) and knowing how to sift through unhelpful info found through search engines. Every skill and exercise that I’ve been taught in therapy, I’ve also been able to find online.
With our obstacles labelled, breaking them down and finding feasible solutions is our next step. Sometimes we can do this on our own, like deciding to wear a face mask or lighting an incense while doing the dishes to alleviate scent triggers, and sometimes we may need help, like asking a friend to lift something for you. For more elaboration on the next steps, read on with Disabled Motivation: Prioritization.
We may find skills in time management and overcoming anxieties but with some obstacles there’s no shame in asking for help.
This can be related to needing major life changes and intense therapy, or just needing a favour. Learning to ask for help is a valuable skill because we can’t and don’t need to do everything alone.