So why do people use and not use mobility aids?
The former is for support, and the latter is because of shame.
If you live with a disability you no doubt already know how chronic pain can make you feel. It’s exhausting and it’s depressing because it’s never ending. So if we can’t get rid of it how do we live with it? #lifegoeson
The benefit of using a mobility aid is to help reduce the pain your body feels when you walk, and reduce the fatigue caused by using up those extra calories. Do you know we use more calories than able-bodied people do when they walk? As an amputee I actually use double the calories. Although I’ve found that doesn’t translate into cake as well as I hoped it would.
It will also help reduce the risk of further injury to your body caused by imbalanced walking. Being wonky is damaging. We need to preserve what we’ve got. I know from personal experience things that were ok eventually begin to wear out when you walk unevenly. #backpain #knackeredshoulders
Never underestimate how stressful it is when you walk with a disability. Stress is exhausting. You are constantly worrying about tripping, falling and hurting yourself. You are always looking down to see the next obstacle on the ground. A tree root, a broken paving stone, a cable – they make walking feel like playing Russian roulette. Using a mobility aid relieves some of that stress and can help make walking feel a bit more enjoyable again. It can make a trip to the shops feel less daunting and you have more stability if people bang into you.
I want to give a big shout out to everyone out there who wonders if they need a mobility aid, tells themselves they don’t need one, feels guilty about using one or has been made to feel judged and ashamed for using one. Big shout out also to everyone who is being told by someone else that they don’t need a mobility. When did someone else know what your body and mind needs better than you do? Don’t give anyone that power. It’s your decision.
In my life I’ve used so many different mobility aids. This is how it has felt with some of them. #storyofmylife
Crutches make a disability look temporary, that’s why strangers feel they can ask you what you’ve done? What’s up with your leg? We are judged. Hands up if you’ve lied about your disability just to get rid of someone bothering you! #skiingaccident #felloffahorse #skydivingoops
Walking sticks make a disability look more long term, but then we make ourselves feel embarrassed because we look old and frumpy and hate using those wooden or ugly grey metal walking sticks. We self sabotage and refuse to use one even when we know we need one. #feelsoashamed #peoplearestaring
Climbing into a wheelchair feels like serious stuff, but then you tell yourself you’re a fake because you can still get up and walk, plus it feels like giving in. People look at you with more sympathy though, but they also assume the wheels make you dumb. #doessheknowherpinnumber #itssuchashame#patronisingheadtilt #doyoureallyneedthat
It’s a journey, and I wonder if mine sounds similar to yours? I want you all to know you’re not alone in this, and these rotten feelings that appear to be part of using mobility aids. What I can say is when you begin to feel the benefit of using one, those negative emotions of shame and guilt do ebb away. When you begin to feel more like your self because your pain levels reduce during and after walking you’ll begin to see why your choices are good and valid. Look to your closest support network and ignore those ignorant strangers who stare and judge. Think about the advice you would give to someone else in your position, and take that advice for yourself. That’s my advice!
Above all, be kind to yourself and your body. You deserve it.