This article was written by Judith Tekin for Fethiye Times. Photos by Judith Tekin.

Spring is here, the season of rebirth and rejuvenation, bright and cheerful with many trees in blossom and flowers blooming. Animals are breeding and people are now planning for the summertime. My tortoises are out of hibernation, the birds are singing and it’s just a lovely time of the year.

It encourages us all to consider exercise and perhaps improve physical fitness. We welcome the sunshine and it’s very promising for us all.

This leads me to the theme for this article which is about the understanding of disability in a very positive way.

But first of all, let’s be grateful for all the people who come into our lives to enrich our life experience and let us all look forward to more favourable times.

Having empathy is vital as it helps us to understand and be able to imagine the depth of another person’s emotional state and life situation.

The understanding of disability in a very positive way.

Chronic illness is close to my heart. I will write about K – a lady who was compelled to step away from her remarkable professional medical career through illness and is just a most amazing person.

She is relatively young and has great courage and now a new purpose in life, to help others in a voluntary capacity whilst she battles with her own limitations due to her own illness.

Mindfulness is about love, respecting life, and making the best out of all we have. When it’s cultivated it creates much clarity and compassion for life and others and it is something we could all do.

Behind every illness is a normal person finding their way in the world whilst having to handle undesirable limitations.

K strives to focus on what she can do for others to lift their spirits.

Her inspiration is immeasurable always believing in hope and keeping positive, being resourceful and with an open mind.

Quite often illness can be invisible as the person looks normal so that others cannot appreciate the severity of what is transpiring which can result in some negativity shown towards them, which is unfortunate.

Illness is never an easy reality to face but with insight and courage, people can get on with life with support and advice to do the best they can in each unique circumstance.

K has inspired me and others beyond belief and any problems I thought I had dissolved to nothing in comparison to hers making me feel considerably humble.

Having a limited energy span, K has to prioritise to best use the energy she has. No-one could have the same expectations of her as you would a normal healthy person. However, her remarkable positive attitude and feelings for others push her forward, whilst she is aware of her own limitations and the possible consequences of overdoing things.

K is a very positive person smiling and often covering up her suffering and fatigue and does not complain, accepting her situation and just getting on with living and thinking about others.

Extreme fatigue is impossible for most of us to comprehend as we haven’t experienced it. A limited time and energy spent can be as tough as a hard day’s work for most of us.

Please remember all you healthy people out there, who, – for whatever reason didn’t sleep last night, it’s a one-off! Can you imagine what it would be like to experience it for most of your life?

It’s humbling when we recognize such a dilemma.

With only a limited amount of available energy to draw upon, it creates a massive impact on the sufferer’s lifestyle and day-to-day living.

There will be unfortunate cancellations of daily schedules planned as part and parcel of the unpredictable medical conditions. It’s a sad reality that cannot be avoided.

When having to stay put and being unable to function as intended, life can be a traumatic time for the sufferer. With a physical disability, the brain stays alert and is very active and willing and so it’s a frustrating scenario when unable to do what was planned.

However, I’ve found that people can be phenomenal and rise above normal possibilities having so many skills at their fingertips and such positive attitudes, care and empathy beyond normal expectations. The special qualities they possess seem to develop, like a powerful force is helping them from beyond and it just astonishes me.

K has an inner instinct that puts others first and she is selfless. I have learned so much by being with her.

She wants no reward, no recognition, has no feelings of self-importance and is a magnanimous giver. Despite her own dilemma she rarely mentions her own situation and has become an unpaid volunteer with many groups of people in need.

Focusing on the present to give hope to others, her happy disposition and empathy allow her to work with people to regain their strengths. Yes, miracles were meant to happen.

She has her own radio program and has won awards due to the enlightening manner and the interesting content which is most insightful helping lots of regular listeners. They follow her programs and give great feedback

She visits day centres promoting healing and suggests a gratitude journal so that people can lift their spirits in times of need.

People are taught coping strategies to eliminate fears.

Whilst I appreciate that many of us have experienced some adversity in our lives at one time or another it has helped us to be who we are.

Whilst people have limited choices, K helps these people to recognize and be more mindful of their needs and feelings. Like most things in life, it’s a case of keeping a balance of being real and optimistic at the same time.

The support groups K engages with teach coping strategies to stop people from feeling overwhelmed. It’s a relaxed atmosphere with much laughter and good spirit.

As illness can adversely affect the quality of life as most of us know it so that every little helps.

People each use all the senses they possess, to explore, touch, smell, hear and see, with open discussions which can be incredibly moving and positive for all at the same time.

People also feel a sense of fun through lots of different creativity which is on offer for them. People look forward to and enjoy the various options. Reiki (healing), meditation, massage, aromatherapy, yoga, art therapy and exercising gently in water are some of the opportunities.

It takes courage and great understanding, together with acceptance to empower people again. Each person giving to others decreases the dependence, creating a feel-good factor, helping all.

It’s all a case of being here now, not there and then, to be present with your current self versus past and future. A totally great sentiment.

Most of us like patterns and predictability in our lives generally but with chronic illness it’s impossible and flexibility is the word.

K helps people move forward and accept their unique situation with as much ease as possible.

This in turn allows for favourable judgements to enrich lives, knowing what really matters in life, quite often the smaller things.

People feel much better when permitting themselves to express their emotions, to believe in themselves and be heard.

All feelings are valid and we must never underestimate that kindness does have the power to change lives and I’m sure we can all help in some small way.

Behind every ill person is one finding their way in their world when possessing impediments, restrictions, hindrances and limitations. Often with reduced finances.

We can all learn from K, who lives with unbearable circumstances yet is self – motivated and never gives up.

The projects she is compassionate about give her a real purpose in life which promotes her own wellbeing.

She let go of what she could not change, accepted her situation and lives life as positively as anyone ever could and is extremely knowing.

So believe in healing, believe in good people but most of all believe in yourself –K would define all of these.

It can be difficult to adapt to challenging circumstances, but it’s good to remember this. “Every day may not be a good day, but there is good in every day “.

It also melts my heart when people show empathy and compassion towards our cohabiting species in this world. Animals, birds and all species deserve a place here too.

Let’s all try to show that little bit of extra thought and attention towards others consider our actions and care more for Mother Earth.

I gave K a copy of this article as it’s all about her and she’s very happy with it and permitted it to be published in Fethiye Times, in the hope that it will raise awareness and encourage us all to do our bit to help the disabled.

The way I look at it, it could be any one of us in that predicament and we would hope for similar care and attention.

Happy days!