Enjoying the Freedom My Mobility Aid Provides
Walking and standing are not easy for me. That is also not an easy thing to admit freely. For the past 10 years, my body has been through so much due to my several chronic conditions.
Psoriatic arthritis, in particular, causes unbearable pain in my feet. During a flare, I am unable to walk or stand for more than a few minutes at a time. The decision to use a mobility aid didn't come lightly. I was insecure, suffered from imposter syndrome, and worried about what people would think or say.
My first experience using a mobility aid and the feelings that came with it
The first time I used a mobility aid, I was in my 30's. Young, right? Don't I know it? I came to despise hearing others say that I was too young. My body needed to use a wheelchair or walker - plain and simple.
For years, I let the whispers of judgmental people get to me. Over time, I learned to ignore snide comments and sometimes offered to educate those who felt the need to belittle me. Yet, I still found myself feeling ashamed and embarrassed for needing to use a mobility aid.
A change of heart
My attitude shifted only less than two years ago. I decided to list all the places that I wouldn’t have been able to go to if it weren’t for my wheelchair.
Without my wheelchair, I wouldn’t be able to go to Disneyland, take in the sites of San Francisco, go for a stroll along Huntington Beach, and so much more. My wheelchair has made outings that I could never handle on foot possible.
As my list grew, my bitterness towards my mobility aids decreased. I no longer feel embarrassed or ashamed, instead, I cherished my wheelchair. I love knowing that as long as I have my wheelchair, I can go anywhere I want no matter how intense the pain I am experiencing in my feet is.
An attitude change
My attitude towards those who don’t understand has also changed. I feel sorry for them. Sorry that they lack compassion for people who live with chronic pain.
I'm sorry that they are so closed-minded that they only think that a mobility aid, such as a wheelchair, is only for the elderly or those who are paralyzed. I'm sorry that they would deny or shame someone for finding a way to improve their lives.
For the most part, I have learned to ignore ignorant comments. I have also developed a sense of humor in regard to my condition. I refer to my wheelchair as my "royal carriage." I tell people that I am a part-time roller and that I walk and roll. Most importantly I no longer permit what others think to get in the way of getting out of the house and exploring this beautiful planet!
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