Being middle-aged and losing my mobility due to a combination of a degenerative spine, lipedema and lymphedema has been jarring to my pride, to say the least. I wasn’t ready to be “so old” yet. I know 80-year-olds who are more fit than I am.
The very thought of asking for help fills me with anxiety and dread, guilt, embarrassment, and smacks my pride like a baseball bat. Getting a DMV handicap placard, using assistive devices, or asking for help from doctors, physical therapists, store clerks, and more has been quite an issue for me.
But this is damaging to my mental health and to my independence and quality of life. I’m working hard on staying consciously aware of when my pride, guilt, or embarrassment gets in the way of allowing myself to ask for help or special accommodations.
I am disabled. I need to own it and realize I don’t need to feel guilty about asking for help. I’m not milking any system or being lazy or expecting too much from others.
With the help of my friends and my therapist, I am learning that I really am awesome. Still. I am learning that I need to figure out how to embrace the new me and learn to love me again instead of fighting against what’s happened because I liked the old me. I’m learning it’s okay to ask for help from store clerks, to reach out to a therapist, to use a scooter and a cane, and to ask for some special accommodations at the health club so I can get more water therapy in.
I’m literally just realizing I NEED HELP and as a fellow human, I DESERVE HELP TOO.
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