The Disability Experience, Short Works and Poetry, Author Debbie Johnson. Debbie had had Major Depressive Disorder for more than 25 years. In 2004, she was physically disabled in a car/semi accident. She began writing in 2010 as a means of therapy. This as a collection of her writings about adapting to and living a life of disability.The intended audiences are the disabled, family and friends of the disabled, and those who wish to embark on a journey of therapeutic writing. I especially wish to thank those who have helped me through this transition, and those who have helped me see the therapeutic experience of writing as a way to heal
The Disability Experience is available on amazon.com/kindle.com
The Disability Experience ll by
Four years ago, I stumbled into therapeutic writing. I joined a writing
class for those with disabilities, and enjoyed it immensely. When I look back
at that work, I note that my writing was at a beginner’s level, but even so, it
served a therapeutic purpose. It is not how well you write, but rather that you
explore life through the written word that makes it therapeutic.
I have had depression for twenty-five years. In 2004, I was involved in a
serious accident which resulted in permanent disability. The notebook and pen
have helped rebuild a meaningful life and led to joy and success I had never
imagined. A powerful therapeutic tool, writing allows a look at the past,
evaluation of the present, and dreams of the future.
Prior to discovering writing’s therapeutic value, the last writing course I
had taken was Basic Composition in college twenty-five years ago. I had not
written since college, and had never studied poetry, but as I began to read
that of others, I fell in love with it.
When I started writing, my friends quickly tired of me asking them to read
my work. I found an online writing community where I not only learned much
about writing, but have also found support and friendship with writers across
the country and around the world.
I have taken a few online poetry classes and belong to a weekly writing
group. In the past year, I have had several poems published in literary
journals. Some of those published are about disability while others are not.
Recently, I have developed a particular interest in Japanese poetic forms.
Writing is a wonderful way to explore self, and to communicate and learn
from others. Writing also shows that I am still here, and my thoughts do
matter. Writing, like any art, is a challenge and there is always more to learn.
My first book, ‘The Disability Experience,’ (2011) includes work from the
first two years after I discovered therapeutic writing, and has both poetry and
short non-fiction works about disability.
‘The Disability Experience II’ focuses on the first three years after
surviving the accident, a period of time I call ‘The Aftermath’. This was a
time of profound change in lifestyle as I worked through the stages of grief to
slowly reach some degree of acceptance. Nearly every aspect of my life was impacted
by physical disability. Learning to cope was a difficult and not always
Writing has helped me continue to work through these issues as well as
others in my life. I write primarily poetry, so have also included a selection
of poems I’ve written since my first book.
My three goals for this book are:
1) To let others with disabilities know they are not alone.
2) To give the non-disabled a chance to see into our world.
3) To show the therapeutic value of writing in dealing with illness.
I also have a webpage/blog of writings on disability at www.thedisabilityexperience.vpweb.com.
Writing has become an integral part of life for me, much like eating and
sleeping. I hope you find this book both beneficial and, despite some sad
moments, enjoyable to read.
The floral artwork is to emphasize the beauty of the world and our ability
to adapt and grow with the challenges life offers.
Much of my story is sad,
but it has brought me to
where I am today. I have no regrets.
I feel truly blessed to have
found the writing community
with its wonderful and
supportive members and
for you, I will be forever grateful.
No matter what happens to us, life continues on. Whether staying stuck
in the darkness, or striving to live a good life is a choice. Some pain
and grief always will be there. How we choose to deal with it is what is
We all have our ups and downs, some worse than others. I have learned much about life since becoming disabled:
There are many wonderful and caring people in the world.
There are some who think those of us with disabilities aren’t equals.
The small joys in life are important. We spend too much time obsessing
over our difficulties, and too little enjoying what we have.
Being disabled does not make you immune to other health problems. It
means recovery from illness may take longer and require more work and
energy than it would someone who isn’t disabled.
There will be difficulties, but there are also some positives in living with a disability in a primarily non-disabled world.
Spirituality does enhance one’s ability to adapt to a new lifestyle as do supportive family and friends.
Resources for the disabled are seriously underfunded and plagued by
shortages and lengthy waiting lists. We, as a society, do not put enough
effort into programs that could improve our lives. There needs to be
one place to call that can help arrange what is needed to live life as a
disabled person. Our services are provided by too many programs, each
with different forms, eligibility requirements and regulations. Working
your way through the maze is overwhelming, especially when trying to
adjust to all the changes required with a new disability.
The disabled need to make their needs known and their voices heard.
Problems won’t be solved if we don’t stand up for our rights.
Twenty-five years after passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act,
we continue to have a long way to go to achieve equality.
It is possible to find a fulfilling life with a disability.
The greatest gifts that my disability has offered are appreciation,
gratitude and the discovery of writing, which has been so therapeutic
in my recovery.
Never Give up Hope.
There is also a guest blog if you have something to share. That page has the instructions for posting.
New Children's Book about disabilities available free
In Debbie’s Friends, Debbie
Johnson starts by introducing herself and the fact that she is an amputee. In
the following chapters, two children she befriends, Jenny and Johnny, meet her
friends with other disabilities, including physical, mental, and developmental
ones. They talk to Debbie’s friends and
see them in their environment to understand how they cope with their
limitations while remaining functional people.
The goals of the thirty-four page book are to: demystify
disability, promote acceptance of the disabled, and to show how similar the
disabled and non-disabled are. The author hopes that by introducing these
concepts to children at a young age, the next generation will demonstrate
Debbie Johnson plans to distribute Debbie’s Friends
free of charge to schools, libraries, churches,
and other settings where it may be useful. By emailing, firstname.lastname@example.org
, a copy-ready
version may be obtained. The user may make additional copies. Please help
spread the word to others that by sending an email, they can receive Debbie’s Friends
and see if they would
like to use it. That’s it. That’s all they have to do.
Debbie has been networking over the past year with those who
may be interested in this, and will be notifying them of the book’s
availability. She would love for the book’s email box to be overflowing and
take months to clean out. That would give her less time to write, but this is a
project she truly believes in.
Debbie Johnson is author of The Disability Experience, The Disability Experience II, and now, Debbie’s Friends.
Please repost this on social media and other locations to
help spread the word