Helpful Resources

Help can come in all shapes and sizes.

There can be a tendency sometimes, when you’re in a tough place, to ignore the simplest of solutions to a problem.

With the case of disabilities, it can bee too easy to dismiss solutions which seem trite, glib or seemingly shallow. Most Brtish people are relatively aware of basic Psychology, can see a lecture coming a mile off and will roll their eyes at the slightest sniff of condescension. 

Listed below are a few of the things that helped me out whilst I was struggling. They cover a wide range of mediums and might not help you in the same way, but they’re always there for me in my time of need:

Film

The Intouchables 

French Films might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this movie grabbed me particularly at a time when I needed some real inspiration. Although they might be speaking a different language, the message of the movies is universal. A well off gentleman, wheel-chair bound after a paragliding accident, is supported by a French-Algerian man with no experience of care work.

This film takes an unflinching look at living with a newfound disability, the fact that it’s based on a true story only makes it more effective. A must-watch, which always makes me smile.

Cast Away

I’d be surprised if most people haven’t heard of this one. It’s a classic tale of survival and determination that sees Tom Hanks’ FedEx employee stranded on a desert island with only his undelivered packages and a volleyball to keep him company. Although most people remember the movie for Tom Hanks’ convincing performance, as a man totally alone, it’s also a great example of the power of the individual to overcome great odds.

Cast Away is not based on a true story, but it’s still a story concerned with rising above adversity, something that those living with disabilities should be able to relate to.

Lost In Translation

The final film on this list is a movie that some may not enjoy. Bill Murray, in a typically deadpan performance, is an ageing Hollywood star who meets Scarlett Johansson’s Charlotte (a Philosophy graduate recently married to a successful photographer) in a hotel in Tokyo. Both characters, although in committed relationships, find themselves feeling isolated in their personal lives, these feelings are amplified by their alien surroundings.

A movie about reaching out to perfect strangers and finding solace in the unlikeliest of places, Lost in Translation is one for a late sleepless night – a slow burning romance that never strays into cheesiness.

Music

Understandably, Music is even more of a subjective topic than Film. I often found that listening to purposefully ‘happy’ or ‘upbeat’ music would only serve to anger me. It may well be different to someone else. For my part, I soon discovered that listening to slightly more sombre music or tunes that brought back old memories – had a better effect on my psyche. 

Radiohead

radioheadThe go-to ‘mopey’ band of the 90s, they have more emotional range than they are often given credit for. Although I enjoy all their records, the last three that they released are probably them most modern and accessible.


Joni Mitchell

joniMy mother used to play Joni Mitchell songs on the piano to me as a child. Hearing Blue and Clouds, whilst I was recovering from surgery were real comforts to me. A soulful singer with a light touch and carefree soul, Joni’s music is as soothing as it is sorrowful.


Future Islands

future-islandsA bit more alternative, Future Islands have been playing their soulful electro-pop music for the last 10 years. Although you can draw parallels between them and moodier bands such as Joy Division and The Cure, they’re really a great deal more optimistic than their influences. Eschewing moody shoe gazing for heartfelt, chest beating sincerity.

Books

Whilst you’re stuck in bed, or simply don’t have the energy to move, it’s good to keep your mind active. Although you could put your spare time into learning a new language, or getting caught up on your History, Fiction can often be more of a comfort to your mind.

bell-jarSylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar

Just like music, sometimes it can be a good idea to engage with works that deal with depression, in order to gain a greater understanding of the subject. Plath’s semi-autobiographical book is short but not too sweet. Reflecting the struggle with depression that she experienced as a younger woman (and would later cause her to take her own life), The Bell Jar is a bleakly comic novel on the isolating effects of depression.


hobbit_coverJ. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit

Nostalgia and fantasy can be a potent remedy to sadness. The Hobbit was the story of my childhood, and one that most are familiar with. It still makes for a wonderful read and espouses wholesome morals of pushing one’s personal boundaries. Bilbo’s story is quintessentially British, a stuffy, set in his ways middle aged man is forced into taking an adventure – one that he could never have imagined taking. A story for children that can offer a fantastical relief to adult’s who choose to read it.


grapesJohn Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath

If you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, then Steinbeck’s near-500 page Biblical epic could be the book to fill your spare time with. Another story of overcoming adversity – this is a book deeply rooted in Depression Era America. Filled with charming characters, with the American Dream coming under attack from left, right and centre – this is a book that takes no prisoners. At it’s heart, it’s a road story told focusing on a well-meaning family, looking for a place to live.