Monday, 19 October 2020

Finding Independence With Declining Mobility

For the past few years, I've found myself experiencing something that I hadn't ever expected to whilst reasonably young - declining mobility.

Over the past 20 years, I've been given a handful of different diagnoses and have found myself adapting to life with these conditions - some of which are similar in their symptoms and some of which vary in the worst possible ways.

In the last few years, one thing I have noticed above all else is a steady decline in my mobility - something that I have struggled to come to terms with on a mental health level, and struggled to know how to deal with on a physical level.

As a plus sized person, one of the worst parts of this experience for me has been the need to deal with the uneducated opinions of people who see my weight gain as the cause of my mobility issues - rather than as a result of it.

It makes perfect sense to me, and surely to anyone who truly thinks about it, that weight gain is likely to come with a decline in physical activity - but for some reason there are sections of society that seem to enjoy fat shaming and attempting to use my weight as a way to "Blame" me for my mobility issues.

I was a size 8 and I weighed under 9 stone when I received my first diagnosis, and a size 18 when I received my last one. Since my mobility has decreased to the point of needing to use a walking aid at times, I have gone up two dress sizes. Not the other way around. 

On top of this, there is the judgement that comes with being a young person with a hidden disability. It's not immediately obvious when you look at me on most days that I have any health issues at all. I like to wear trendy clothes, I don't ever leave the house without my hair and make up done, and I have three young and very energetic children with me at all times - it would be easy to look at me and assume that there's nothing wrong with me.

Although I don't currently have a blue disability badge, I know people in similar positions to me who do and who have had to deal with extreme displays of discrimination when using them because of their age and the hidden nature of their disabilities - this is what has actually put me off requesting one, as I don't want to have to deal with it.

Over the last few months however, I have come to realise that the thing holding me back the most in life is not my health issues - but my fear of other peoples reaction to them.

They are the reason that I have put off choosing things that will make life easier for me. They are the reason I don't admit when something is too much for me and try to force myself to do things that are uncomfortable for me, and result in my body suffering afterwards.

They are the reason I have refused to use mobility aids in the past, fearing the disapproving stares from strangers and prioritising that fear over my own comfort.

But it's high time that I stop this as it really isn't helping me and it's hindering my ability to enjoy experiences with my family that they deserve.

That's why I've made the decision to stop trying to fight and deny my mobility issues to the point of worsening them, and instead take steps to do what I can to improve my quality of life while living with them.

I've been looking at various mobility aid options over the last few months to try and decide what is best for me. Thankfully there are companies available who can help with everything from advice on choosing the right stairlift to choosing the best mobility scooter for your needs and budget.

I've decided that, as mid to long distance walking is where I struggle most, I'm going to start by trying out a rollator with a seat to enable me to allow me the freedom to continue to walk with my family but take breaks when I need to. This feels like a good natural progression from my current walking stick, which helps at times but often doesn't resolve my pain issues on my worst days.

Starting here gives me the chance to explore further options should I need them in the future, and feels like a good point to begin from for me.

If you also live with declining mobility, I'd love to hear about what you have found that has helped you to regain some independance.

If you enjoy my blog, please consider following me on Bloglovin'
Blogger Template by pipdig