DISABILITY AND NATURISM
Hello, my name is David, after my FB New Years post I was asked to write a blog. I’m not much of a writer but I’ll try to explain a bit about what being a naturist means to me from the perspective of a person with a disability.
Firstly, as a healthy teenager everyone thought I had great confidence but behind it all I was shy and had no body confidence at all. I had not been a fan of clothes and sometimes I used to go into the quieter part of the countryside and ditch the clothes to just spend time in nature alone because of my lack of confidence.
I’m now in my late 40s, I received a spinal cord injury when I was 20 and since then I am a full-time wheelchair user. I’m sure when some people look at me they see a man in a wheelchair and automatically think that being in the wheelchair is the tough part.
Being confined in a wheelchair where steps, stairs, sand and the likes are huge obstacles and do form major physical challenges but it’s the medical aspects that create the most difficulties, both physically and everything combined can cause severe mental challenges.
Sometimes we need to face our mental challenges before we can deal with the physical ones and naturism helps me break through my physical and mental insecurities and at last I can be myself and be completely happy and comfortable with no need for the fake smiles.
I think some people can turn to alcohol or religion to deal with certain life events, I used alcohol for years to numb the pain and feelings after the accident but when suddenly someone very close to me passed away, it brought me to new levels that drink or religion could not reach.
After the initial months and years had passed I began to think about life and how unpredictable and short it can be, I thought of the wasted years of worry about things that were now insignificant and eventually it let me to a friend I met on FB and to the INA and finally a meet up in Ballinasloe to be in the company of other naturists. The people were so welcoming and made me feel 100% comfortable.
Life finally became like living again. I was completely comfortable with being myself and comfortable in the company of others. It felt like being back as a kid again with no regrets of the past or thoughts of the future, no fake smiles to pretend everything is OK, it’s me completely comfortable, forgetting about the chair and all that it brings with it and I feel much better when people can see the true happiness it brings me because for once they see the true happy me.
I suffered from depression for a long number of years, I haven’t had a cigarette for something like 16 years, no alcohol in almost 10 years and no antidepressants in 6/7 years. I’m not saying that I don’t suffer from time to time from depressions, pain, insecurities but naturism helps ground me and realise what the important things are in my world.
I highly recommend for anyone, especially a person with a disability or someone who feels that life is getting on top of them at times to give it a try, just go for it.
Try naturism alone, with a friend or someone trustworthy but don’t hide behind your clothes if it’s something you want to try.
Try not to spend as long as me thinking and wondering… just do it and you will never look back. As the saying goes, “we’ve got one shot at this Life, so Live It”. I’m uncomfortable being in the swimming pool, a lot of friends of mine hate being in a swimming pool too, it’s not just from a disability point of view, but hopefully it will be ok to go to Ballinasloe and places without going into the pool and instead just chat and make friends with the people there. The self-confidence and self-acceptance of my disability that I have gotten from the experience feels like a continuation, if not an actual result of life coaching classes I partook years ago.
To me, being a naturist takes the control away from my disability and instead it gives me the choice and lets me take my life back. One of the things I’m finding difficult through covid and lockdowns is being cut off from people, I love contact with people especially other nudists so if you see me around please feel free to say ‘hello’ and if it’s on the street or in a shop we bump into each other, mention the INA and it will help me know we are friends.
Being a naturist in the northwest of Ireland can be lonely as well as cold. Usually I am very private about myself but when sharing my experiences can help anyone I am always glad to do so. I hope that this blog can help even just one person to get the courage to live a life that you enjoy, it might not be a perfect life, if a perfect life even exists, but we have the power to hopefully add some joy to it, let free of the small meaningless things and smile with a smile that is being true to ourselves.
A course I assisted with years ago was called “Be Yourself”. There’s a world full of people out there, we are each individuals, try to live a live that makes you feel happy and be proud to be yourself.
Wishing you all a healthy, happy and safe passage through 2021, make it the best it can be, live and enjoy your life as fully as possible and feel free to get in touch.