Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dependency, independence and interdependency

One of the blessings for me about living with a disability is that I constantly learn lessons about dependency, independence and interdependency. Here are a few of them:

1. Physical dependence is not the same as emotional dependence, a fact people sometimes confuse. This often applies to caregivers. It's crucial to maintain appropriate boundaries with those who give you physical assistance. Conversely, it's crucial for them to set boundaries with those to whom they give care. It's a two way street.

2. Independence is optimized by recognizing when and how to get help with physical dependence. This seems like a paradox at first but is learned quickly after accepting help and seeing the extra energy you have and the more tasks you can accomplish.

3. Interdependence is lacking in our society, but better recognized and practiced in disability culture. I was fortunate enough early on after acquiring my disability to travel in groups of disabled folks and saw this firsthand. Our different disabilities led us naturally to assist each other in mutual ways. Society would be much better off if more folks could experience this.

Right now my friends up at Ski for Light are getting together. I miss being with them! I think of them often and especially during the annual trips they take and am up there in spirit. I know they had snow this year. In fact, they'll be coming home over the next few days and are bringing snow back with them. Watching it fall is making me smile as I remember watching them on the toboggans on the hills up in the Poconos.

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