Glass Half Full: 8 positives to using a wheelchair
I was struck the other day when I ran into an old family friend. When she realised that I could no longer walk at all, she was a little shocked and said “Oh I am so sorry” to which I replied, “It’s ok, I’m used to it now”.
It got me thinking though. It is not fun having a disability. There is little more frustrating than losing your independence. It is incredibly hard losing the ability to do things as basic as standing or walking again. When you look at it that way, it makes sense that people tend to offer condolences and feel a bit sorry for you.
But what about trying to look on the bright side? What about the perks? I took a long time to be able to see beyond the frustration and grief. I happen to know now, that once you grieve the loss of a healthy body and you come to terms with having a disability and in my case being in a wheelchair you start to be able to crack a few jokes here and there. Eventually, you might even find a few perks!
I have been in a wheelchair for a long time now, so I am fairly used to it. Sometimes I even forget that I used to walk. I used to get very upset when the topic of my changing level of ability came up with people. It really pulled on my heartstrings, so when my friend was upset for me, and I was surprisingly ok, I thought…Why do we have to see this as such a negative? Why can’t the glass be half full?
It got me thinking about some of the positives about where I am at now, wheelchair and all.
Here are some things that actually get easier when in a wheelchair…
#1. You NEVER wear out your shoes? You can keep your favourite shoes in pristine condition forever!
#2. You never have to wear-in uncomfortable shoes, and you never get blisters from them because you just sit still in them.
#3. Your legs never get tired if we have to walk (roll) a long distance. I can cover a long distance, which I was utterly unable to do as my condition worsened before I used the wheelchair to get around. In that sense, it freed me rather than confined me.
#4. You have the perfect excuse to get out of awkward dancing at parties (something I always dreaded!)
#5. Let’s not forget the critical and convenient use of your wheelchair as a trolley that can carry anything a girl could ever need without actually having to carry a thing! No handbag is too heavy when it just hangs on the chair!
So you see, it’s not all bad.
There are more too.
#6. You can buy & wear clothes that are too big for you because gravity ain’t getting at them while you’re sitting all day.
#7. You have a great excuse to make someone else remove the scary spider from the house.
#8. You know you have a comfortable chair wherever you go so you don’t have to sit on uncomfortable hipster chairs in trendy cafes or those fold up theatre chairs that feel as though they’re going to swallow you up.
OK, so they might be small advantages but none the less, there is always a bright side. You can’t always choose your circumstances in life, but there is always a choice to see the glass as half empty or half full.
I took a long time to come to some semblance of peace with my situation. If I had a magic wand, I would most definitely choose to have a healthy, functional, painless body and ditch the wheelchair. However, as they have not yet perfected the magic wand, I shall choose to see the little perks that make my glass half full.
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I’m Jo, an adult living with a severe connective tissue dysplasia. My condition means I permanently rely on a wheelchair to move about. I’m a qualified Social Worker and work for Fighting Chance running LifeX, a social and mentorship initiative. I’m passionate about writing, blogging and motivational speaking and I am a ‘Don’t DIS my ABILITY Ambassador’ You can read more of my writing on my blog.