How to Adapt to Being Disabled

How to Adapt to Being Disabled

samanta bullock judge naidex wheelchair model

No-one ever dreams of being disabled, but millions of unfortunate people face the transition every single day. During the initial stage, you’ll no doubt face a ton of emotional stress, mental struggles, and physical discomfort. At this point, most disabled people have very little motivation for life, because they feel it will never be the same.

Now, while it may not be the same, you can still live life to the full. You can still create amazing memories, find true happiness and forge amazing relationships. You just need to endure the difficult phases, have faith in the process and do your best during the transition. To provide you with some help, here are some things to consider…

Take your time

It’s natural for those with disabilities to fear the worst because they just see the short-term changes that cause them distress. They fail to focus long-term, which would empower them to realise things can – and will – get better. Just remember to take your time and approach things at your own pace.

exercise gym wheelchair back posture samanta bullock model
Back Exercise at Gym

Focus on what you can do

You’ll probably concentrate on all the things that you can no longer do, right? That’s what causes the most emotional distress; the realisation that you can’t do things that you once found easy. Rather than dwelling on those, just focus on all of the things that you can still do. 

Accept help

You may well lose a certain amount of independence with a disability, but you never lose your pride. That pride can sometimes prevent those who need help to reject it, simply because they so desperately want to be able to do it themselves still. Come to terms with your disability and accept help from those around you.

Proud Paralympian samanta bullock wheelchair model
Proud Paralympian

Find a community

There’s a countless number of people who are in the same situation as you or have been through the challenges that you face. Whether it’s online or in your local area, just find a support group of people that you can talk to on a regular basis. When you do that, you’ll realise that you’re not alone.

Be positive

All of the negative energy that you’re full of is hard to eradicate considering your position, but you still need to try and remove it. Search for all the positives in every situation, rather than allowing the negatives to affect you. Being positive will help you massively through the process.

Believe: You will be fine!

It’s important to leave our thought, questions, and suggestions on the comments. Let’s build a strong community together. Love Sam

samanta bullock acroyoga disabled yoga
Acroyoga X Wheelchair User

wedding dress wheelchair user rafael freitas disabled

Fashion & Disability an Open Letter

Fashion & Disability an Open Letter

In 2018, it is not enough to have simply survived life’s obstacles – or even to thrive despite them. For me, as a paraplegic model, ambassador, parathlete, wife, and woman, to live my best life is to embrace my challenges.

Everyday, I accept myself. My legs, though at times I dislike them, are mine; though I don’t see them represented or reflected in the magazines and stores I browse in, they are here to stay. I’ve learned to love my body for all that it is. But still in 2018, and despite great progress towards diversity, it feels that there is much to be done to convince fashion to respect bodies like mine.

There are people like me all over the world growing up without any reference to their part or place in society; without seeing others, like themselves, living a full and fulfilling life. Still, it is as though having a disability is to be invisible – to have the full spectrum of who you are and who you could potentially become, ignored.

Beyond navigating the stigma, misconceptions, prejudice and doubts about what I, as a disabled person can achieve, I am working passionately to make sure that I see myself represented

samanta bullock wheelchair model abled body young
Before my accident – Samanta Bullock 1992

in my industry. I challenge myself to work fearlessly in fashion, so that others like me feel confident that they can not just survive their own obstacles, but thrive and embrace them too.

I want to make the industry I’ve worked in for 30 years, more inclusive. My drive comes from my experience growing up, working as a model in Brazil; having my accident and then feeling like my dreams had been taken away from me. This stage in my life lead me to the next – to becoming number one tennis champion in Brazil; to being signed to a modelling agency, representing top brands like the BBC and Toyota; and to featuring on the runways at London Fashion Week. Now, I’m channelling my passions towards making a difference – towards an industry that embraces and celebrates disabled bodies.

I want the next generation of disabled children and adults to see people just like them, working in all aspects of the fashion industry. I want to see disabled designers, stylists, makeup artists and photographers involved in major brands and fashion shows. In fashion’s future, there’s a place for blind and partially sighted people, deaf people, people in wheelchairs, people with learning disabilities – disabled people who have all sorts of abilities.

designer louise linderoth wheelchair model samanta bullock
Picture by Pavzo with Louise Linderoth at London Scouts LFW

I would like to work with all stakeholders in the industry to make fashion reflect society more accurately, and to create an environment wherein everybody feels welcome. In 2018, yes we have the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, River Island and ASOS to admire for their work towards this change; we have models like Kelly Knox and Madeline Stuart to inspire a new generation of models. But in 2018 I would like to see the leadership of these brands and power of these people’s stories motivating the entire fashion industry.

 

In 2018 it is not enough to leave the weight of inclusion on the shoulders of a few key players. Inclusion is about surviving and thriving together, embracing each other. Inclusion is about everybody – including you.