Most people don’t realise just how debilitating it can be to have to live with a disability. There are many different types of disability, and a lot of them aren’t even visible on the surface. Instead, they linger as mental health problems, unseen physical health problems and even degenerative diseases.
Because of this, a lot of people suffer from disability discrimination within the workplace. Essentially, this is when a disabled employee (regardless of the disability) is treated differently from their able-bodied coworkers. This can range from not having the tools and training to work effectively to not being granted appropriate time off or breaks to manage your disability.
And unfortunately, ongoing disability discrimination can lead to low self-worth, depression and various mental health issues. Because of this, we’ve put together the following guide to help you deal with the negative mental effects of disability discrimination.
Don’t Suffer Alone
First, it’s extremely important to make sure that you never suffer alone, regardless of how embarrassed you are about your mental health and/or disability. There are thousands of people across Australia suffering from similar problems and discrimination, and support is available at Southside Psychology.
For starters, tell someone close to you about your struggles. This could be a partner, family member or even just a close friend. Seek advice from a psychologist if required, and don’t hesitate to seek legal advice in the case of ongoing disability discrimination.
When you visit a jewellers, particularly around Valentine’s Day, you can quickly get the impression that such a store is more suitable for loved-up couples. While many options fit into that category – such as wedding and engagement bands – there are equally as many that can spell friendship too.
If you are on the hunt for something that can cement your friendship, then these options below could be worth your consideration.
A charm bracelet is not only something you can buy for your significant other – or even yourself, but for a near and dear friend as well. You will be surprised at the options available in the charm bracelet market too. Depending on your budget, you can choose something classy and elegant like gold, or something more practical and stylish such as silver. Then, as a token of your friendship, you can include one or two meaningful charms with the present as well.
A locket is a meaningful piece of jewellery that your local jeweller may recommend for a long-distant friend or one who is planning on moving away from you soon. In one half, you can put a picture of yourself, and in the other, a picture of them. The locket itself usually is quite an elegant necklace too, featuring either gold or silver.
Depression is an insidious condition and even though you may easily recognize the symptoms in other people, it is much harder to recognize depression in yourself. If the depression is not very severe, you may think you are just feeling a bit off, but you don’t know why. Sometimes, it may just get better by itself, but other times it does not, and may become worse.
If you have had the symptoms for some time, you may forget just how good life used to be and that is the big danger; accepting how you feel now as the norm. If you don’t enjoy life as much as you used to, it is a good idea to ask friends or loved ones if they have noticed any change in your behaviour. It could be that you have become more irritable or you refuse to go out with your friends like you used to.
If you are not as happy as you would like to be, think about why that might be. Naturally, if you have suffered an emotional or even physical trauma of some kind it is going to change you for a while until you come to terms with it. But if you can think of no reason why you should feel down, then it is time to look at what is happening to you.
Here are some of the milder symptoms that can help you to recognize depression in yourself, but they may also have other causes:
Most health care professionals now agree that stress has a large part to play in many diseases from the common cold to diseases that are major and can be fatal. When a person has a lot of bad stress in their life, their immune system often gets worn out, or cannot work the way it should to protect them from such diseases. This makes their body far more likely to become a victim of things like heart disease, ulcers, digestive problems and many other enemies of health.
It is well-known also that having a pet can reduce stress levels to the extent that people even live longer when they have a pet to love and care for. Of course, not everyone can have a pet for various reasons. If you are at work all day, leaving a pet alone in the house or chained up in the back yard is cruel. Then there are people who suffer allergies to pet hair and dander, making de-stressing with a pet impossible. So what can you do?
One way to ensure your stress levels don’t get out of hand is to create a quiet place in the back garden or even in the home where you can relax. It should be a private place where there will be minimum noise and interruptions. You can do this by creating an outdoor space using comfortable outdoor furniture that is easy to relax on. Much outdoor furniture is not all that comfortable, so make sure you test it out before purchasing. Back support is important and you may need to have additional cushions, otherwise you won’t want to sit there for long.
When you have a disability such as a lost limb, vision problem or a disease that affects you physically it is all the more important to stay healthy. And sometimes it is extremely difficult to do the things you should in order to gain optimum health. All you can do is try your best and be guided by your doctor or health care professionals. Here are some of the ways you can stay healthy both physically, mentally and emotionally.
Physically: Get all the exercise you can with your type of disability. Whether you go to a gym, can swim in a pool, have some form of exercise aides in your home or depend on another person to help you exercise, it is vital to move your body in as many ways as possible to keep as fit as you can. If you don’t it will be very difficult to stay healthy and your muscles will just waste away until you can hardly move at all.
Mentally: Exercise of the mind is just as important as exercising the body, no matter if you have a disability or not. However, a disabled person is often deprived of the many sights and sounds that can stir up the mind and imagination to become creative and educated as far as possible. Letting your mind go to the pack can make it difficult for people to relate to you, talk to you and make you understand what it is necessary for you to know in order to stay fit physically and in your mental health. There are many ways to exercise your mind, from watching documentaries and even movies on TV to reading informational books and magazines. You may be able to take a correspondence course in something you are interested in. Doing various kinds of puzzles, learning a craft and even playing cards also helps your mind to stay active.
People with a disability are the most at risk of unhealthy weight gain and losing muscle tone, especially if they are wheelchair bound for most of the time. It is essential for them to have some kind of exercise to increase lung function and keep their cardiovascular system healthy. Pilates will not only keep them more flexible, give them more stamina and boost muscle strength; an added benefit of exercise is that it increases endorphins in the body and so makes you feel good rather than depressed, something that many disabled people struggle with.
Pilates is one form of exercise that many disabled people can take part in because it is low-impact. Developed by Joseph Pilates in the 20th century to help injured dancers and athletes recover their strength, the movements have been adapted from ballet, yoga and callisthenics. In the United States alone, over 11 million people practice Pilates.
People with disabilities have a tough time of it, yet often they don’t realise it, especially if they were born with the disability. But those who lose limbs or vision through accidental injury as an adult will know what they are missing because they have experienced life without a disability. It is these people who find it more difficult to adjust to their new ‘normal’. Playing a sport can help them in many ways.
It gives them something to look forward to. With a disability, many of the usual activities simply cannot be done so a lot is lost from their new life. With all the things that they now can’t do, it makes a big difference to find something they can not only do, but have fun with.