This post has been sitting in my drafts for a lot longer than it should have been. Talking about my mobility aids has honestly been pretty terrifying, especially being a young person who was previously invisible when it came to disability and illness.
Young mobility aid users are subject to a lot of prejudice. The people who generally represent mobility aids in mainstream media are elderly folks, especially when it comes to aids like walking sticks and rollators. Mobility aids are for every person who needs one, no matter their age.
I am an ambulatory wheelchair user. This means that, while I do have the ability to walk, sometimes it isn’t safe enough for me to do so. While walking, I can only manage a very short distance for a very short time, very slowly. I get extremely dizzy when I’m standing up for too long and risk fainting or collapsing. My legs are also often too painful to be able to walk more than a few steps. When I’m able to, I walk with a walking stick. Having access to a wheelchair allows me to have a safe and enjoyable time outside of the house without being restricted or putting myself at risk.
Disabled and chronically ill folks are all as unique as our fingerprints; no two people are the same. We all have very different illnesses, injuries, and experiences, and reach different milestones at different times. We also become visible at different times.
Mobility aids are valuable tools, and are a normal part of life. We need to learn to normalise and understand this; I’m looking at you, person who rudely glared me down while I was enjoying a coffee the other day!
Having access to mobility aids has given me a good chunk of my life back, and I’m proud to be a mobility aid user.
Love and light,