Rage wages on inside you. Your mind battles your body. A single culprit remains responsible for the conflict, cerebral palsy (CP). The disability directly causes the internal strife. Hence calling the irritations cerebral palsy frustrations only seems fair.
These cerebral palsy frustrations creep into your life daily, manifesting in multiple ways. Possibly you meet an aggravating stranger. Or maybe the aggravations emerge within, set off by the extra efforts you must put forth to complete everyday activities. UGH! How maddening!
Okay, time to take a deep breath. Suck that air in and release! Today I plan to highlight various cerebral palsy frustrations. Though, more importantly I intend to examine effective methods to handle your troubles. Prepare to push back at those CP frustrations. Do not fret!
Wally West Pre-Doctor Alchemy
Unless you watched the third season to CW Network’s The Flash the above subheading means nothing to you. I shoulder the blame since I chose the pop culture reference. Allow me to fill the blanks you non-Flash fans.
Basically in one universe Wally West possessed super speed. Meanwhile in another he lacked the same power. Well, until a character Doctor Alchemy granted him speedster abilities. Still pre-Doctor Alchemy, Wally felt frustrated. He could not move at the pace he wanted. To my peers with CP, does such sentiment sound familiar?
Rather than relying on fictional superheroes, perhaps I should give a real life example. A few months ago I began working part-time at a local library. Even a couple months in I seemed to finish tasks slower compared to my co-workers. Cue the cerebral palsy frustrations bubbling up.
“It’s because of my CP” my mind reasoned. “Cerebral palsy makes me move slower and so I cannot get as much done so fast.” Thankfully I restrained my emotions prior to them causing damage. An accomplishment I reached reminding myself “Accuracy matters more.” Opposed to beating yourself up over your slowness, remember what matters the most.
Perchance you walk daily. However you require 45 minutes to walk a mile. Choose to celebrate your daily activity. Living actively after all proves the entire point.
Alternatively a nice scenic stroll eases frustrations. Actually I am unable to verify the scenic part. Cerebral palsy essentially demands constant concentration. Analyze the grounds around you. Identify falling hazards, albeit uneven concrete, acorns, banana peels. Whoops! A fall could just now happen because I broke concentration to tell a joke. I mean, come on! Banana peels? Do we live in a Mario Kart game?!
Resuming seriousness, identifying falling hazards only marks the start. Then you need to consciously concentrate maneuvering your body. Shift weight, step forward heel to toe, shift weight, step forward heel to toe and repeat. You end up too pre-occupied to consume your surroundings. Dare to sneak a peek and risk tumbling. Your body’s way to say “Eyes here buddy.”
Recall the half marathon I walked in October 2016. Runner’s World calls the Towpath course “one of the most beautiful marathons on the fall racing calendar.” Despite finishing the half, I am relegated to trusting the publication. Thanks CP.
Admittedly among the cerebral palsy frustrations I am addressing, the constant concentration perplexes me the greatest. Fortunately I recently discovered a successful method to supply relief. Utilize mobility devices. Not exactly subtle strategy but wow! The difference amazes.
Reality I finally succumbed to, caving in to a lengthy inner debate. “Should I use my cane during my marathon?” Training the first time upon deciding to use the cane, I became flabbergasted. The cane helped alleviate the necessary focus immensely.
Yikes! Apparently I fell asleep typing. Humor aside, fatigue provides catalyst to many possible scenarios involving cerebral palsy frustrations. Logical given according to the study “Fatigue in cerebral palsy: a critical review,” “CP can result in higher energy expenditure to perform the same amount of work as their peers.”
To paraphrase performing activities with cerebral palsy drains your energy faster. Tiring sooner segue to mental agitation. Personally, I experience denial. Feeling tiredness set in I often find myself thinking “I haven’t done enough to justify being this tired.”
Acknowledging CP’s ability to accelerate sleepiness challenges me. I fear making cerebral palsy an excuse. Ironically CP assists me in overcoming physical exhaustion. Amidst occasions where simply standing mandates mustering every ounce left in your being, I bare through. Rising I grab my leg braces and stretch. Sometimes I doze off wearing the leg braces. Yet napping becomes acceptable when incorporated along a multi-tasking combination.
“But I don’t wear braces to stretch” you might dispute. Brainstorm! Determine low energy exercise possibilities. Squeeze a ball to improve fine motor skills. Manually rotate your ankle to loosen spasticity. I believe you get the idea.
Adding Ghostbusters to Speed Dial
Hey! They said call Ghostbusters “If there’s something strange in your neighborhood.” Living with CP you frequently encounter strange reactions. Stares best fitting towards gazing at optical illusions. Merely seeing you a random person demands to pray over you. Nonetheless someone else praises you extravagantly. Weird considering you deem your feat ordinary. Truly wide ranging emotional responses!
Likely the parties involved maintain benevolent intentions. Nevertheless compiled together your patience begins deteriorating. Annoyance simmers. Timing also factors in. An interaction similar to the abovementioned worsens a bad day, multiplying your negativity. The urge to snap rapidly surfaces.
Stop! Control yourself. Utilize conversation to calm the situation. Ask questions to comprehend the individual’s perspective. Dialogue exposes misconceptions, enabling you to properly educate somebody. Honestly, the direction your discussion goes may surprise you.
A recent chat with my dear friend Michael Mannozzi illustrates precisely. Recapping my library work schedule and marathon training progress to Michael, he commented “Way to go! Giving a new meaning to CP, courageous person.”
“If you say so” I aloofly replied. He further explained his comments, referencing his late sister Shannon. Appropriately I previously referenced Shannon while blogging, “Cerebral Palsy Worst Case Scenario: Lessons Learned.”
Anyways Michael emphasized both my ability and willingness to pursue my full potential. His remarks reiterated a lot I forget to appreciate. Quickly his apparent extravagant compliments exemplified greater credibility.
Handling Cerebral Palsy Frustrations
Whether encountering strange reactions to your CP, battling fatigue, struggling with constant concentration, or general slowness, you will confront frustrations living with CP. Conversely choosing how you handle these moments impacts confrontations’ frequency. Choose to limit your cerebral palsy frustrations.
Focus on the grand scheme opposed to your speed. Relieve constant concentration with the aid from a mobility device. When tiredness looms, stretch or perform a low energy exercise. Upon receiving abnormal reactions to your CP, spark dialogue. Ask questions to understand the other person’s perceptions.
Said approaches at least work for me. Please speak your mind. What cerebral palsy frustrations do you most commonly battle? How do you handle them? Share by commenting below.