Being dependent on the use of a wheelchair is not easy. Whether it’s a physical or mental barrier, there is always something we must overcome. But for anyone who needs to hear this - I promise it’s not all that bad! So instead of focusing on the negatives, here are five positives to being a wheelchair user! They may be small in comparison to some of the big battles we have to overcome, but you can always find a tiny slice of positivity if you look hard enough! Plus, for anyone new to the world of wheelchairs, you might even pick up a few handy tips!
You would think that because we get around on wheels, life would move at a faster pace. Yet life is a lot slower due to our physical limitations making it harder to complete even the simplest of tasks. We rarely get to complete tasks in our preferred time frame or order, when relying on carers for assistance. We also spend a LOT of time waiting; whether it’s for an elevator, a hospital appointment, or an accessible toilet. Collectively these examples can cause a lot of frustration, whilst also allowing us to develop the art of being patient. So next time you are faced with one of these challenges, try to remember that you are consequently developing a valuable life skill!
If you are unable to visit a public place, attraction, or experience without assistance from your carer, you should be entitled to some sort of discount. Whether you pay for a standard priced ticket and your carer attends free of charge, or you both pay a third of the standard ticket price; the discount is up to the venue's discretion. Just don’t forget to ask, otherwise, you will more than likely pay full price for both tickets! Such exemptions can often make you feel guilty, especially when other customers have paid a considerably higher price. But try to remember that to qualify for such discounts, you must be unable to attend without support. For example; not only do I depend on my carer to accompany me to and from a venue, but to keep me safe, administer medications, and assist me on the toilet. So, considering those around us are unlikely to need help, why shouldn’t we benefit from a discount or 2 for 1 offer?
Another experience in the UK that is known for offering discounted tickets to people with disabilities, is the cinema. Guests that require someone to accompany them to any cinema in the UK are eligible to apply for a CEA Card; providing carers with free admission! The online application process is super quick and easy to follow, plus it only costs £6 for a whole year - a major bargain! As much as I love going to a concert or visiting a theme park, those experiences require a lot of spoons. So, this is an activity both my carer and I try to enjoy once a month!
Queue jumping can be a controversial topic within the disability community. Obviously, I greatly appreciated being able to skip the 2-hour queue for passport control at Boston Airport, bypass long lines at Disneyland, and receive priority access at popular tourist attractions such as the Shard in London, and the Empire State Building in New York. But if I could trade places with someone in the standard queue and no longer have a disability, then I absolutely would! But sadly, that is not possible. Plus, with very few spoons to spare, many wheelchair users would be unable to enjoy such activities if it meant using all their energy to queue.
Some wheelchair users may not see this as a hidden benefit, but I love nothing more than being able to treat myself to a nice pair of shoes that aren’t going to hurt my feet, fade over time, or get ruined by unpredictable weather elements!
Learning to find the positive in any situation has got me through some of my darkest moments, which in turn has taught me to appreciate the small things in life. I know this is easier said than done when you are physically and/or mentally suffering, but I hope this post has encouraged you to look at certain situations from a different perspective!