As part of being Ms. Wheelchair Illinois America 2014 there is a lot of stress that comes with it. I need to worry about fundraising in order to make it to the Ms. Wheelchair America 2015 competition in California. Not only do I need to worry about that, but I also need to worry about my clothes, shoes, and everything else that I will need to have for the competition. Fundraising doesn’t stop there. I need to fundraise for the rest of my year to make sure I have enough gas money and other transportation/registration fees to attend different events.
As part of my fundraiser I have been making raffle baskets, silent auction items, and other such things. That has been a stress on me because fundraising is one of my weakest points. Coming up with raffle baskets and making the phone calls stretches me out of my comfort zone. It’s just not something I’m used to doing, especially when it comes to going in and talking to people in higher authority positions.
I was…”blessed”…with a disability that gets worse over time. This in itself has caused me to find different coping skills to deal with the loss of mobility over time. This loss of mobility might have been something such as needing to use a wheelchair and no longer being able to play with my able-bodied friends to occasionally losing wrist and finger function during a flare-up.
I’ve learned that isolating during these times of high stress causes me to feel like I’m going crazy. I’ve had to cope in different ways depending on what I was dealing with.
Thank God for friends that have stuck by me during my reign so far and have given me ideas on how to fundraise and decrease the nervousness. Having friends who won’t give up on you has been a lifesaver. I’m also very lucky in the aspect that they have given me advice when it comes to clothing choices for Nationals.
Sports have been such a savior for me, whether it is an individual sport like adaptive wake boarding or a team sport like wheelchair basketball. Being part of something where I can challenge myself or be part of a team that challenges me in different ways takes that “negative” stress and turns it into a more positive outlet.
Being part of adaptive sports has also had a positive impact in that when I’m struggling with ways to deal with my strength decreasing, I have other people to turn to and ask how they deal with similar issues. I’ve also gone to support groups and been given stress techniques, which I still use daily. If you’d like to learn any, let me know!