When I first became ill I never imagined that I’d ever have to use a wheelchair or that I’d ever get as poorly as I am now. I don’t think that anything could ever prepare you for the struggle of living with a chronic illness.
At first I really hated using it and I hated anyone knowing that I sometimes have to use a wheelchair to enable me to get out and go places. I tried so hard to find ways to avoid using it at first but in the end I came to accept that I need it to enable me to do things that without I wouldn’t be able to do.
When I get to exhausted and I struggle to walk very far, that’s when I use it for going places like the doctors and if I go into town which isn’t often but I do try to go places whenever I am well enough. If I go out just to go to see family then I don’t need it as I will just be indoors but I do use it for pretty much everything that is out of the house. I do have days when I feel able to walk a bit so I take that opportunity to do so which is good.
It’s difficult to accept that sometimes I need help with things. I have always been a very independent person, it was when my health started to go downhill when I had to start being dependant on those around me which I found really hard to do. When I need a bit of help because I can’t manage to do something on my own, for example I sometimes need help washing my hair and times when I can’t lift my cup to my mouth. It’s extremely frustrating for me, things that should be so easy to do I sometimes can’t. It makes me angry because of how frustrated I feel and sometimes I feel like a burden when I have to rely on people who help me when I need it.
I found it very difficult to tell my friends and my family that I sometimes have to use a wheelchair to enable me to go out places even if it’s just going for a doctors appointment and it’s not far to walk it can be a long and exhausting walk for me. What may seem easy for you can be like climbing Mt. Everest for me and others with chronic illnesses.
I am so lucky to have an amazing supportive family, especially my brother and sister who have been absolute angels and know when I don’t feel well or if something is too much for me to handle. I’m so blessed to have them both and to know that they understand if I can’t see them because sometimes I’m not well enough. I’m also very lucky to have my amazing friends who have stuck by me through it all and also my boyfriend and his family who look after me soo well!
I’ve learnt that using a wheelchair is nothing to be ashamed about and that its just something that some of us need to use in order to help us lead a more normal life and allowing us to get out more.
I’ve had people look and stare at me and tell me that I don’t need to use a wheelchair at all because I can still stand up or because I don’t look sick enough to have anything wrong with me and they just think I’m lazy. I live with an invisible illness which means that by looking at me you can’t see anything wrong which is why a lot of people don’t believe us. It’s different though if someone has a broken leg because they can see that they have something wrong. This is the case for many others who live with invisible illnesses and that people just assume that you have to look sick to be sick and to be able to use a wheelchair. Yes I can walk but that doesn’t mean I don’t need to sometimes use a wheelchair. Nearly all of us with chronic illnesses have our good days and our bad days which means that on days when we we are well enough it means that we may not need to use a wheelchair, whereas if we have a bad day the next day we may have to use a wheelchair. It’s difficult for those who don’t understand and don’t believe you because they just think that if you can do something one day it means you can do it everyday.
Not only do many of us with chronic illnesses have to rely on a wheelchair to get about, but I know a few of my friends who suffer with chronic illnesses who use crutches or a walking stick to get around. It can be daunting at first because you get worried about what people will say to you but if it helps you to go places that you wouldn’t normally be able to do then go for it! Decorate your crutches and walking sticks with stickers and washi tape to make you feel more confident when you use them. Hopefully then you will have less people saying that you don’t need to use them to people saying how cute and pretty they are!
I am not ashamed of my disability, but I am ashamed of the people who judge me without any knowledge of what I’m going through.
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Sending you all lots of love and hugs,