Redefining the word ‘independence‘

I have written about the importance of Independence in the past and you will hear me in almost all of my interviews talking about it as well. But I read something the other day that made me think, so let me talk about independence in a different way!

As children we all strived to become independent. It’s the natural process of growing we want to be able to do things on our own. However, to achieve independence with muscular dystrophy or any other disability, we need to flip the ‘typical definition’ of the word on it’s head.

When you think about “independence” do you have the physical autonomy in mind, living on your own without assistance to function, move around or carry out your daily routine. For many of us with a form of MD, that just isn’t realistic.

Giving greater consideration to mental independence. While full physical independence maybe impossible, knowing your body and asking for help from others can be achievable.

Challenging the belief that independence is about doing everything on your own, it’s also about asking others to do it for you. While you are still responsible for completion of the action, someone else may be carrying it out for you. When I interviewed my PA’s the one thing I said was you are initially my arms and legs if I’m unable to carry out the task in hand.


Do you think the dragons’ Den gang would be successful CEOs spending their time making photocopies, designing spreadsheets. No they delegate those duties to someone else to free up their time to allow them to be leaders and visionaries. And yet we consider these people to be independent.

So I ask the question can we think of needing care with MD in the same way maybe? – As my type of muscular dystrophy is a rare form a progressive muscle wasting I’ve become weaker, I’ve had to learn to delegate tasks to others who are more physically able: my new aides, hubby, friends, and PA’s, allowing me to focus on other important things such as writing, connecting with people, and being an advocate for my disease as well as others in the disabled community.

Like many in society the concepts of “normal,” independence can be looked at through other lenses, particularly when considering those that need a little helping hand or legs. It’s not that I’m/we’re dependent, I’m/we’re just living out the notion of independence differently.

It’s a mistake thinking that needing others to help means that you will never be self-sufficient. By leading on others to help, I/we are as independent as any other functioning adult. It’s not a bad way to think about how we see Independence.

what are your thoughts – leave me a comment

Kisses K

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Past posts you might like to read

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