Coaching Clients with Disabilities

Many years ago, I had reconstructive knee surgery.  I lived in Denver at the time (no it wasn’t a skiing accident but a feisty horse) and my mom and sister came to visit me for a few days post surgery. We went to a museum and since I was on crutches, I decided to use a wheel chair for the first time.  It was long before I was diagnosed with CFS and fibromyaglia and my first experience as  less abled than the general public.

My sister was my guide through the museum and every time we stopped to view a work of art, people would be careful of my extended leg, swaddled in padding and ace bandages, as they walked in front of me, blocking my view.  My sister was furious and at times told people to show some consideration but I was more introspective.  I felt invisible and my injury was simply a wall for the public to walk around.  I was grateful that my situation was only temporary.

For years, even before the surgery, I had lost my energy, always felt kind of sick and very tired.  After several years of thinking I was just getting old and it was all in my head (thanks docs!), I finally found a new doctor who immediately identified my health issues as fibromyalgia. I was referred to a rheumatologist specializing in CFS and fibromyalgia and after all the tests discounting other illnesses, I was ultimately diagnosed with both diseases.  It has been more than 10 years since first being diagnosed and I have had periods of flare-ups, frustration with doctors (I moved away from my rheumatologist, and hero, several years ago), and tried to reason with employers who didn’t always understand why I had periods of great productivity and times of poor concentration and inertia.

When receiving a diagnosis that changes the way you have lived until that moment can be devastating and confusing.  My personal experience after being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia shared similarities to Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief:

Relief – I am not crazy and there really is something wrong with me.

Denial – I’ll just take some pills, try alternative medicine, and do whatever my doctor says and will be fine.

Anger – Why me? It’s not fair that I can no longer do the things I used.

Depression – In my case, I do not believe I suffered from depression, however, not being able to live the life I had previously was depressing. Sure, I had days of sadness especially when I had debilitating flare-ups.

Acceptance – Ok, my life is not the same but that may not be a bad thing.  I can explore new ways to fulfill my life.

I reached acceptance when I realized that it was time for me to look at life differently.  I no longer feel like I am just existing but am living life on my own terms.  There may be some things that I no longer do but many new doors have opened and I see opportunities as limitless.

The greatest day of my life!

I have the support of my family, married the greatest man in the world last year, and am managing my life better than ever. This is why I coach people with chronic pain and illness. We all have the right to live a full life.

People who live with disabilities look at life from a different perspective than so-called “healthy” people.  But – and this is a BIG BUT – that does not mean life should be looked at as limiting.  It is a matter of reframing who we are and what is our life purpose?

My life purpose is to guide others towards a more joyous rewarding life. If you are interested in learning more, keep following my blog or send me an email at: lbwebblifecoach@yahoo.com.

Advertisements

Published by

LBWebb Coach

Passionate, compassionate, opinionated.

4 thoughts on “Coaching Clients with Disabilities”

  1. Hi Laura,
    i suffer from fybromyalgia, CFS, and CARA, have a lot of pain in my hands, arms and shoulders every day, week muscles,and very very tired. I am in stadia acceptance. I know i cannot do anything about it and have to accept. As being a lifecoach myself i also want to be a living example to others not to be limited by their handicap.
    I studied Life Coach even because i could not work in another job any more and had to switch to a job that can be done with only using your brains and not so much my painful hands.
    I live by the day, some are good, some are not good. I unfortunately do not have much support as I have no partner or relatives and have to look after 2 children and a dog myself which is not easy. But I still enjoy life.
    Good that you want to be a coach to people like us. They need it to help them grow in their acceptance and continue with their life.
    I wish you success in your coaching!

  2. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 20 years ago and only after 5 years of wondering what the heck was wrong with me! Drs. gave me the ‘ole “You’re depressed….oh you are working too hard… and then the prescription for an antidepressant routine. If I knew then what I know now, would it have made any thing easier Well, earlier as a widowed Mom of 3 very busy young daughters and the main breadwinner, my answer is NO! Keeping my family together was not a choice, but something I just DID! The support of my family and friends was essential to keep me going.

    To begin with there was the pain and weakness in my legs and low back, intolerance to cold weather or extreme weather changes as well as hypoglycemia and unrestful sleep to deal with.

    Dealing with the grief of my children and myself and seeing how tight the stranglehold of fear of losing again was, really wore my system down to become susceptible to disease….and I am grateful that it was only fibromyalgia. I worked hard to build a team of support including alternative therapy practitioners to help myself and maintain a healthy life.

    I applaude you, Laura for being a “revivor” and reaching out to help others. Please drop by and have a look and a “like”, if you will, to my business fb page. I look forward to hearing your comments. Thank you!

  3. You actually make it seem so easy along with your presentation but I in finding this matter to be really something that I believe I might by no means understand. It sort of feels too complex and extremely broad for me. I am having a look forward to your subsequent post, I will attempt to get the hang of it!

  4. Leatha,
    I appreciate your concern that the concept of life coaching is complex. What I am attempting to do in my blog is to give a general idea of how coaching works. When I work with clients, we are very specific in areas of their lives where they want to achieve their dreams. My role as a coach is to help my client focus and through discussion and activities (aka homework) that can guide them in making decisions that are right for them.

    The reason I work with people with disabilities is that, as a person with a chronic illness, I understand how important it is to assess our abilities but not feel limited in achieving a joyous life with purpose.

    Please consider, this blog is not intended for someone to make life changes on their own. It is meant to give readers an idea of what coaching is about and I coach each client individually to help guide them based on their personal needs and desires.

    I hope this helps but please let me know if there is any way you think I should simplify my postings.

    Thanks for your comment!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s