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Adjusting to a new impairment or condition

Woman walking on path in green summer park

Here’s some advice from people with disabilities, advocates and those offering support.

  • You come first – you should not be defined by your disability. Don’t worry too much about the labels – they are often useful for seeking support but you can describe yourself however you like!
  • Find the right support and information for your situation – explore the Online Information Hub for articles on topics like financial support, independent living and wellbeing.
  • Look after your stress levels and wellbeing – dealing with a new diagnosis can be very overwhelming. Talk to people you trust and seek help if you’re feeling depressed.
  • Allow yourself time to adapt – coming to terms with any illness is not easy and might take a long time especially when your illness surprises you all of a sudden.
  • Get organised – the sooner you figure out how to make your life easier and more practical for yourself the better.
  • Think about using ‘natural’ supports as much as possible (eg. friends/relatives/community groups) as these connections are likely to be more long-term and fulfilling.
  • Start thinking about where your strengths and interests lie and make a plan to include these in your path going forward.
  • Acknowledge grief: grief is a natural response to loss. Most people do not expect to live with a disability and, when that happens, much of what they imagined and planned is forever changed. Grieving takes time, patience and support. Here’s an article on loss and grief from the Skylight Trust. It’s important to talk to someone you trust if you’re feeling the effects of grief.
  • National support organisations can provide you with information about your impairment or condition, and may be able to help you connect with local branches of the organisation. You can also find information and support through your local Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) and your local Disability Information and Advisory Service (DIAS).
  • Do you have some advice or a tip that you’d like to share? Get in touch via the form below. We’d love to hear from you.

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Suggest an edit for Adjusting to a new impairment or condition