Using A Wheelchair is Not The End of The World

7 April 2017

So I've used a wheelchair since I was about 15 which is 8 years, nearly 9. Jesus Christ when did I get so old? Anyway, I've been using a wheelchair a long time. I use it more now than when I first got one as my health has deteriorated and will continue to do so. So why is everyone so obsessed with getting me out of the chair and walking again? My wheelchair has not ruined my life. It has in fact made my life a million times better. I can get out of the house more, I have less pain when out and about and I get to experience life. My wheelchair has allowed me to have the life of an average 20ish girl instead of constantly being stuck in the house in too much pain.

Using A Wheelchair is Not The End of The World

I'm writing this post because I am fed up with people acting like a wheelchair is the end of the world and like we can't possibly be living a fulfilled life. Doctors are probably the worst for this. I have been with the same GPs for about 15 years and they still ask if I'm managing to reduce my time in the chair. Physios always say their aim is to make it so I can walk more and potentially cure my lifelong, chronic, genetic condition (good joke). My chair isn't making my health worse, and it means I can do more. Surely that's a win?

Yes, of course being able to walk pain free would make my life easier and I would love nothing more than to go for a long walk or even a run. The world is not set up for wheelchairs. Shout out to steps, non dropped curbs, narrow doors etc. However, I will never be ale to walk pain free and please don't start with the positive thinking crap. No amount of positive thinking is going to sort out my genes and produce decent collagen. My joints are always going to hurt and dislocate. It's a fact and one that I came to terms with ages ago.

I decided to write this post after watching several TV shows where a character is injured and told they might never walk again. Obviously this is completely different to my situation and I can't even begin to understand how scary that experience is (my brother can though). It will obviously have a massive impact on your mental health and affect everyone differently. However, I am fed up of these characters constantly being told that they will walk again, they just have to work hard and be positive. When they are freaking out about if they have to use a wheelchair forever, everyone tells them that that wont happen (and of course in these shows it never does). What about all the people watching that that has and is happening to? Do you know how awful it makes you feel when all you see on TV is characters who would rather die than use a wheelchair? Tv shows portray wheelchairs as the worst thing that can happen to you or how a disabled persons happily ever after is being cured. Thats not real life and we need to do better.
happy and in a wheelchair
I saw another show where an extreme sports person was depressed because he'd never ski again and the doctors kept telling him to have hope & be positive that they would find an experimental treatment that would cure him. I'm sorry but instead of filling someone with false hope why not take the time to tell them about all the sports disabled people can do. You can still ski as a disabled person. Sit skiing is a thing and I know loads of people who love it. Pretty much every sport has been adapted for disabled people. I am more active now than I ever was before I accepted I was ill. Why can't family members, friends and health professionals take the time to find things they can do now instead of things they will be able to do when they are cured which may never happen? If you love something, instead of pushing yourself to do it the conventional able bodied way, find a way to adapt it.

This post is for anyone who thinks their life is over because they need a wheelchair. I've been there. I've fought against having to use one but in the end the only person that lost out was me. Having to use a wheelchair isn't horrific punishment. If you have chronic pain like me then it will make your life easier. Yes a wheelchair can hold you back from some things and make life more complicated. Don't let it stop you living your life though and don't let anyone tell you that you need to make yourself more ill because walking in pain is better than using a chair. Wheelchairs can be great and aren't a prison. They offer freedom.


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