How Disability Impacts Your Comfort Zone

About the Author: Natalie Williams is an awareness raising, world changing, blogger. She not only writes but also shares amazing visual content on her instagram about disability and works to constantly bust myths about those with disabilities. To see what Natalie is up to check out her instagram and read some of her awesome writing on her blog!

We all have our comfort zones, whether we have a disability or not, and stepping out of those comfort zones can be more difficult for some people than others. When you have a disability, however, it’s not as simple as just confidence – although that can play a part. There’s the various aspects of our disability itself which can make trying something new challenging, whether that’s finding it physically, socially, or mentally difficult. Or it could be that you struggle with the change in routine, as many of us who have dyspraxia and/or autism do. Depending on your disability, you may need to also think about accessibility, which adds an extra layer of complexity to it all.

Growing up with a disability means that over time you become aware of what you feel comfortable doing and what tasks you struggle with. You know yourself best and you shouldn’t let another person tell you what you can and cannot do. But wouldn’t life be boring if we only ever did what we were already 100% confident with doing? It can be a good thing to challenge yourself and step outside of that comfort zone, even when that does mean doing things that you might find difficult due to your disability.

Recently when in London, I tried bike riding for the first time in years. For someone without a disability, it’s likely something that they wouldn’t need to put a lot of thought into. As someone who has dyspraxia and mild cerebral palsy, however, there was more to think about. We had to think about the route we went on – my Dad had planned a route which was relatively straightforward and mostly in a straight line! When I began cycling, I found it difficult, it didn’t suddenly all come back to me like it does for most people. I needed to take some time to practice cycling back and forth first, before going on the route we had initially planned – this meant starting in an area that was wide enough to do this.

Despite the uncertainty initially and the extra time it took me, I gradually improved and by the end of the route I had really enjoyed it and would love to do it again! If I’d have just done what I was completely comfortable with doing that would have meant not giving it a go and missing out on what was a fun experience.

Stepping out of your comfort zone when you have a disability is so much more than just having the confidence to try something. There are various things to think about and what these are will depend on your disability, every individual is different and you know yourself best. But challenging yourself to take that step can be a good thing, you never know what you might enjoy and what opportunities it may lead to!