Stress makes coping with every day obstacles even more difficult for people with disabilities.


Dancing on our Disabilities Radio

interviews Cathy Alice Koyanagi

The funny and lovely Cathy Alice Koyanagi

The funny and lovely Cathy Alice Koyanagi


Stress is a part of everyday life.  Coping with life is something we learn to do.  We are not naturally born with stress management skills.  Most children begin to experience stress the minute they enter first grade.  That is only the beginning of their lifetime laced with all kinds of stress. 

Stress is not limited to adults

Stress is not limited to adults

There are so many varieties of health conditions that develop from stressful life styles.  Coping with stress and managing is a full time job.  No one escapes stress.  It does not matter what your social economic status may be.  Certain occupations create more stress than others.  A perfect example would be military personnel in times of war.  Life circumstances also can create excessive stress such as people living with disabilities. The ability to deal with more than the normal amount of daily stress that people with disabilities face is nothing short of amazing. In a perfect world no one would have to deal with limitations or disabilities.  However, this is the real world and coping with stress is an issue for everyone.  People with disabilities have a lot to share about their unique ability to cope with inconvenience, frustration and stress.

Positive aditudes help people with disabilities deal with stress

Stress dimities wihen we have a positive attitude

Stress fades wihen we have a positive attitude

 It’s a commonplace to hear comments from able-bodied people expressing admiration for people’s positive attitudes when they have a recognizable disability.  Actually the human brain has a remarkable ability to adapt to circumstances.   People living with blindness are a perfect example.   It is not uncommon to see them in public navigating streets and all kinds of obstacles.  It is also a familiar sight to see people in motorized mobility devices moving around normally.  Happiness is not just reserved for a chosen few.  It’s all about an individual’s attitude to adapt to adversity and stress regardless of any limitations.

Is patience a virtue?  It sure does help dealing with stress when you’re living with a disability.

 Adapting to adverse circumstances is just one of many skills that people with disabilities develop in order to deal with everyday life.  Patience when dealing with frustration is another coping skill that is often lacking in the able-bodied community.  What is taken for granted by most people is often a big deal to a person living with a disability. Think about the last time you had to run to a store because you forgot one ingredient that you needed to complete a meal.  You may complain but you will jump in your car and pop into the store and pick up the missing item. On the other hand a person living with a disability will have to work a whole lot harder to get that missing ingredient.

 Essentially what I am expressing is that people living with disabilities often learn to cope with everyday frustration more easily than is commonly believed.  Writing a handwritten note, viewing a computer, looking at your image in a mirror, driving a car, listening to music or voices, or even getting up from a chair, are all challenges for people with various disabilities.  The able-bodied community can perform these tasks easily and therefore are taken for granted.

 Yes, people with disabilities do live a difficult life with a great deal of added stress based on the severity of their condition. However, clearly they learn to deal with everyday stress very effectively.  Their determination to succeed does not recognize limitations.  The able-bodied community can learn a lot from people living with disabilities and their unique ability to deal with minor inconveniences and daily stress.

 NSI and DOOD Radio is pleased to have one of our favorite guests visiting again.  Cathy Alice Koyanagi is Hawaiian born. She was raised in Michigan and earned a bachelor’s degree in social work and childcare administration.

 In 2006, she suffered with cancerous tumors in both eyes.  The treatment to save her life caused her to lose her left eye leaving her with extremely limited vision in her right eye.  In 2010 she spent 8 months at a Rehabilitation Center, where she learned mobility skills using a cane, as well as other skills to help in the adjustment to blindness.  Cathy spent several years as a rehabilitation counselor at the Lighthouse for the Blind.  She’s had to adjust to some major changes in her life recently and is here to share some of her coping skills.

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