How to feel normal in public : Mobility Aids

Life is full of anxiety. We have anxiety about how people see us, how we see ourselves, the way we present ourselves to the world,, etc. Adding a mobility aid to our every day life pokes at all of those anxieties. We begin to worry about what people will think - will we now be automatically labeled as infirm, lazy, weak?

It took me a long time to get used to using my mobility tools in public for similar reasons.

For a long time I muscled through without mobility aids, long after I 'needed' one. I was afraid of the label it would earn me and the fuss others would begin to make when they saw me, so I avoided using my cane or walker unless absolutely necessary. I went about my life on my two feet, resting by leaning on trees or sitting on the ground when I couldn't go on.

I recall the first time I used my walker in public - One Sunday morning, I needed human interaction more than I needed to avoid being 'the cripple' so I decided to attend church. I had attended this particular church before. I'd taken my son to play dates in the nursery throughout the week and got to know a few other moms. We always sat on the floor of the nursery to play with the young ones so no one had seen me with my cane or walker.

But this Sunday my pain was so great that I couldn't walk two steps on my own - usually I would have stayed in bed, but something made my desire to attend stronger than my anxiety at being seen in anguish.

I parked my car far enough away from the front door as not to draw any extra attention (definitely not using the 'disabled' parking spots marked with a blue wheel chair sign) then slowly and quietly pulled my walker out of the trunk. I waited until I knew the majority of attendees would be inside, preparing to sing along with the band, the would would drown out any sounds that might draw attention to me.