Mental fitness

How to overcome feeling like a burden as a wheelchair user.

How to overcome feeling like a burden as a wheelchair user.
Ever felt like you were a burden? Ever wished you just blended in? Wished things we just easier?

Yesterday was one of the hottest days on record here in Christchurch, New Zealand.

My friends were heading to a secluded beach after work and invited me to go along.

I’d never been before because it was down a long steep path followed by steps.

My friends encouraged me and offered to help. And yet, I felt like I was a burden. Like it would be too hard. It would be embarrassing. You’ve been there right?

I told my son I wasn’t going to go. You could see he was sad and disappointed. He wanted to swim with his dad and hang out like all the other dads do.

I was at the top of the path about to go back home when some friends appeared and snapped me out of my funk.

I began the descent, and soon my hands were burning on the push rims. This was at the limit of my abilities and I could sense my friends were both concerned and also stoked to see me give it a go.

We navigated the stairs together, me going backwards while my friends controlled the decent.

Then some strong arms to lift me down the final steps to the sand and beach below.

There were about 50 onlookers who would never have expected to see a paraplegic appear at this secluded beach.

I took off my shirt, wheeled to the edge of the water and shuffled out into the warm yet refreshing water and instantly all my fears and anxiety was gone.

I swam with my son. Saw his eyes light up with joy and pride that his dad had overcome a mental block and pushed through! What a gift for us both.

No one thought I was a burden. I was happy to stand out and show people what I had to go through. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

When it feels too hard, it’s likely just you getting in the way. Try getting out of the way.

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