I tell everyone that life is always in spirals. You always live somewhere on the spiral. You are either in the growing part, where you go up the spiral, learning new things and making new friends and connections, or your are turned around and traveling down the spiral, drawing away from people, shutting down. You could call that the dying part of the spiral, but really it's the same spiral, and it is natural to travel up and down it in cycles. It's as natural as breathing. You just want to generally have more upward motion than down, and then you know you are really ALIVE, and that's true even if your actual physical body may be dying.
That's the difference between "dying" and "disability". When you are disabled you hoard. You hoard energy, you hoard time, you have to because it's in such short supply, and because of that you stop doing things. People pull away from you or you pull away from them. There are people who may be dying but who don't become disabled by it. It doesn't suck the light from their eyes and the joy from their hearts, their desires and wants and curiosity. Likewise, there are people who are disabled and go on to live for a very long time; you can travel a long, long way down the spiral, longer than a single lifespan.
The reason things don't seem to change, or we seem to repeat the same dumb patterns as before is because we learn and grow in spirals. It's not a circle, even though it looks just like you made the exact same mistake you promised yourself you wouldn't do like the last time. You didn't. You made one almost like it. And hopefully, you made it a slightly lesser mistake (up the spiral) rather than a slightly worse mistake (down the spiral). Sometimes, when you are up close to a thing, it's hard to tell. And if you are going down the spiral, if you continue to make the same mistake over and over and worse and worse than before, you'd better ask yourself why. Because, you see, the only thing you need to do fix it is just turn around and start walking up, and remember -- it's going to look like you're still making the same damn mistake for a long time to come, only this time, if you work at it diligently, it will be a little bit better each time instead of worse. Perfection is not required; slips and slides are what make it a spiral and not an arrow straight up.