Despite our adaptability, humans are obstinate creatures who distinctly dislike change. Even when change is good, we’re often resistant to it at first, finding increasingly trivial reasons to avoid making the necessary effort to go through with it. Whether it be moving house, changing jobs, or something as simple as rearranging the kitchen cupboard, we often find reasons to procrastinate. Much as we dislike it though, change, much likes taxes, is inevitable.
Just like everyone else, there have been a lot of changes to my life over the years, & perhaps the most significant & impactful one of all was becoming disabled. Disability affects your entire existence; suddenly I had a new set of problems to contend with, mostly revolving around accessibility wherever I went.
At first, I resented the change. I had enough to worry about without contending with access in education, work, medical services, & social activities. Naturally I didn’t want to be in pain all of the time, disbelieved by everyone around me, & ostracised by those I called my friends. Even after a few years, I still resented my disability & wanted nothing more than to go back to being able-bodied.
However, when I started university, my perspective began to change. Had I not been disabled, I would have chosen to live in a much cheaper residence without catering, probably a small distance from campus, & I certainly wouldn’t have stayed there for more than a year. However, because I didn’t have the energy to both cook for myself & study, & because of accessibility concerns both for accommodation & transport, I remained in a catered hall of residence for my entire degree. Had I not stayed in this hall I would not have met one of my closest friends in the first year, nor would I have met my now husband a year later.
Accessibility concerns also mean that we reside in the city centre, which although it increases the rent has a significant impact on the resources available to me without the need to contend with public transport. I probably wouldn’t have applied for city-centre jobs either, making the chances of me obtaining my current role at the university highly unlikely, & although it has its rough moments, I adore that job.
It’s taken the better part of a decade, but I’ve finally begun to accept the change that I initially believed had destroyed my life. This doesn’t mean I’ve given up on getting better, or that I don’t want to get well, it just means that if this so happens to be my experience for the rest of my life, I won’t resent that. All in all, this attitude shift has had a significant impact on my mental health, which was the aspect of chronic illness I found the most difficult to deal with.
Life is chaotic, & fixating on long-term plans is, in my experience, a bad idea (note: having some sort of plan is not a bad idea, just don’t be inflexible with said plan). There will always be a curveball that changes circumstances in ways you never imagined, & not always in a negative way. The way I see it, you can either accept the chaos & just go where it takes you, or you can spend your entire life resisting it. There’s probably something to be said for trying to find order in the midst of life’s chaos, & maybe we need a balance between the two, but for my own purposes I try not to let any apprehension I might feel about change get in my way.