Overcoming unhappiness in disability is the subject of a free e-book which has been launched by its author Stuart Rose, who has lived with multiple sclerosis (MS) for more than 30 years.
"I am a happy person and, in the book, I wanted to explain how and why I am happy even though I am classed as being severely disabled with multiple sclerosis," says Stuart.
Over 7,000 people and families live with MS across Ireland. Although MS is a progressive neurological condition that can affect a person's health, lifestyle and relationships many people with the disease find ways to manage and cope with many of the affects and difficulties.
Stuart explains that he was first diagnosed with MS in 1978 and for the first 15 years his disease was relapsing and remitting, which allowed him to carry on with his life without major change.
"After that, slowly and relatively evenly, MS progressed without remission until, among other things, I couldn't walk, had difficulties with my bladder and use of my arms and hands weakened."
Stuart insists that while his disease continues to get progressively worse, his happiness is unchanged.
"The idea for writing [my book] ‘Happily Disabled' had been simmering in my mind for some time, but the ‘last straw' occurred when, yet again, because I am disabled in a wheelchair, people kept assuming that I was unhappy and unable to mentally fend for myself. This is not how I feel, nor how I am, and this understanding needed to be corrected not only for myself but for all disabled people experiencing similar discrimination," Stuart remarks.
‘Happily Disabled' has 21 chapters portraying: caring, peeing and catheters, cooking and eating, walking to wheelchairs, normality, transport, sex, falling, anxiety and stress, memory and forgetfulness, invisibility and freedom, anger, pain, relationships and families, weakness and fatigue, depression, happiness and sadness.
"Happily Disabled was written as a free e-book to show that in reality there is no difference between an able person and a disabled one. Okay, I can't physically do some things but this does not make me any less of a person. I am a happy person and, in the book, I wanted to explain how and why I am happy even though I am classed as being severely disabled with multiple sclerosis."
" I like my life as a disabled person," he adds. "This life is not a matter of choice, it's a matter of how it is. Yes, I would like to trundle through woods or along the seashore or do all sorts of things I now cannot do but I have to accept what is possible and what is not, just the same as everybody has to do in their lives. If I evaluate either the good or the bad then I create trouble and disturbance for myself, which isn't happy.
Using the analogy of the sun, Stuart says that happiness to him is like sunshine: "The sun is always shining somewhere, 24-hours a day; it is only clouds which temporarily appear to block out its existence.
"So, when life creates clouds, which it always does, they can be transcended through the mind to the sunshine and happiness is regained because it's known for certain that, like the sun, happiness can never completely disappear. This is the principle message of 'Happily Disabled'."
Download the free ebook here
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