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What’s Independence?

The idea of independence means different things to different people. I have cerebral palsy and walk with a walker. To me being independent means being able to shower and dress myself among other things. The things I have to think about are: 1. Can I get into the bathroom? 2. Can I get into the shower or bathtub? 3. Do I have a shower seat? 4. Will I be able to get out of the shower safely?

These are questions and problems that a lot of people with disabilities think about. We strategise and worry. I used to wait for someone else to be at home before taking a shower just in case I fell and needed help. Then one day I had no choice. I froze, and gave myself a pep talk.

I said, " I have to figure this out." " There's no one here to help me." It took a while but my spasms finally calmed down. I was able to do what I needed to. Since then I still need to strategize and I still worry, but I don't freeze up.

When I was younger I didn't think I could do the things that adults who do not have disabilities do. They don't have to think about them. Nobody tells they can't do it. Nobody tells them they shouldn't try. I got over my fear of failure by trying and being successful. I became more independent by knowing my limits and being OK with them. I became more independent by being OK with me.

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