The knowledge that we have lost an ability we had, that some or one of our physical abilities cannot be recovered after losing it has two direct effects on us:

• First, the pain, depression and frustration want to overwhelm our thoughts and take away from our creative abilities. Worse yet, these feelings send a message out that this is the new and desired “normal”, so many of us stop pushing to improve our situation and actually get the people around us to stop being truly helpful.

• Second, we have a powerful excuse to stop doing what we used to do as well as to avoid rehabilitation, turning to excused laziness and inactivity instead, which hampers recovery and further limits our abilities. Worse yet, we can use specialized technologies to substitute for skills which we have not yet lost, such as motorized scooters that free us from walking, even when we can. These scooters are a blessing for those individuals that cannot walk but Dr, Deepak Chopra and other neuroscientists have determined that by not making any regular effort to walk, our body concludes that we do not need the skill any more, and so does not heal , repair or find alternatives for itself (to put it simply).

It is fascinating to know that neuroscientists have determined that the body will regenerate neurons and neural paths, as well as repair physical damage to the body if it is stimulated to do so via exercise and use of the affected parts. This reminds me of the coordinated arm and leg movements that are part of physical therapy for babies with socio-motor disabilities, including autism: utilizing the limbs a certain way repeatedly generates unconscious reflexes and repairs the damage. An artificial replacement limb is life changing once the individual learns to use it (we still don’t know how to regenerate limbs), but the learning process is often tedious and painful… and if nerve damage causes what are often called ghost pain, then the situation can be nerve-wrecking, too, even with the excitement of recuperating the ability to walk or do other things..

But, how to deal with loss of abilities that technology still cannot emulate? Loss of hearing, blindness and low vision, can make the individual feel that he/she is now excluded from much of life, excluded from the good memories and experiences that made up our childhood. In fact, many adults who lose sight, hearing or a limb feel incomplete for the rest of their lives, lamenting the loss of what they once had, even though some can find a new way to be able to do what they did before! And there are many who refuse to let the loss of vision, hearing or a limb stop them from reaching their dreams, and they work very hard on finding alternative ways to do what they want to do.

Technology cannot answer the feelings of loss: a mechanical substitute is never the same as our original eyes, ears or ability to move! But, just as children learn to stop suckling their mother’s breast, those of us who lose part of ourselves must learn to use our lives in a new way, must learn to achieve new forms of success and go beyond what anyone, including ourselves, thought was possible! But, how can we do this?

As I understand it, we need to “be as children”, paraphrasing what the Bible says, and just learn to deal with reality because the joy of life is more important than the sudden limitations that were imposed on us. Focusing on the joy of life means that we can turn all of our activities into a challenge, into an opportunity to succeed and do more than survive what happened to us.

Of course, professional help is critical if we are to make the best use of technology, of medicine, and of our mental health. Luckily, in the USA there are many organizations ready and willing to help, and on the Internet there are many international support groups, too! So, if you have a friend who is going through sudden dis-ability, feel free to share this article and suggest we get in contact, since I’ve been there and have had to learn to live a new life, too.

Please feel free to give me your opinions, too, as well as to share any experiences you might have.

Manny Perez, Certified Master Coach

Author's Bio: 

Manny Perez (Manuel Perez) wasorn in South America,and came to the USA as a child. With a Masters in Public Administration (NYU) and performing in church and street fairs with his guitar, he is known as a Renaissance Man. He is an avid reader and experienced in NYC local organizations, international Oil Operations, financial compliance, cryptocurrency, empowerment, participation, civil rights, local and government development, promotion of human space development, technology, and non-profits. And, being born overseas, I understand the realities immigrants face when coming to the USA. In addition He is a certified master professional coach besides being an entrepreneur and published author.