Guest Author - Monica J. Foster
Dinah Federer was always encouraged by her family to be independent regardless of the challenges of her disability. They prepared her as much as possible, but at age thirty five, she was diagnosed with another disability that promised to be very painful. In her book, "Chasing Normal: A Guide for the Newly Disabled and for Those Who Love Them," Federer offers the reader lots of insight into her pain and suffering, as well as triumphs with a disability.
Federer begins by sharing, what she believes, is important to hang on to along life’s journey. She stresses such things as being good to yourself, interdependence, as well as giving back to others in whatever ways you are capable. She gives a firsthand view into what she experienced, so the reader can better understand the thoughts and feelings experienced by family, friends and caregivers.
In her book, Federer urges people with disabiliites to reach beyond themselves and their own inner strength for help. It was particularly reinforced to me that being independent doesn't mean doing it all by yourself. Sometimes independence means being interdependent, making the choice to invite others into your solution for the life you choose to live on your terms. She writes that there's no shame in reaching out for the help from others. She makes it clear that we are all in need of help at times, regardless of our abilities or disabilities.
She shares that many who are new to the disability experience have a myriad of emotions to work through, such as denial, anger and fear, and more. Federer relays a supportive tone throughout her book directed, family and caregivers, as well as people with disabilities. She widens the scope of understanding around wellness, for people with disabilities as well as their caregivers.
Federer shares how to deal with loneliness and how to learn to reach out to others for support. She shares how someone often resists support at first when a sudden disability first makes itself known. Resisting support, she finds, makes the journey more difficult for that person and their supportive circle. Federer imparts to us how we can deal with failure, what to do when we feeling at our most fragile and how to get to a state of being okay with leading a life with the challenges of a disability.
"Chasing Normal" is filled with beneficial information and insight for people with disabilities. family and friends, caregivers and even people not touched by disabilities.