When my wheelchair broke and my anxiety kicked in


I have a really bad habit of taking writing breaks and then coming back to it at the most random of times, mostly for no reason at all.

But at the risk of sounding like a negative downer, the past few months have not been my friend. Other than getting used to a 40-hour working week, everything around me seemed to domino down around me – one after another after another. Only now are things starting to make sense again.

The catalyst was my wheelchair breaking. Three bloody times within two months.

This might sound minor, but it’s not. My wheels are my legs, and when it doesn’t work, my life literally stops. I couldn’t go to work, I had to rely on someone to push me in my manual chair everywhere, and I was taking my frustration out on everyone around me.

The first time it broke, I told the repair guys it was an engine issue. They assured me it was an electrical problem in the controller. They fixed it – after a week of me nagging them – and sent me on my way.

The second time it broke, I told them again it was an engine issue. They said one of the cables needed replacing. They replaced it after a week.

The third time it broke, I told them, again, it was an engine issue. Their most senior technician came to look. He confirmed that it was, in fact, an engine issue.

You know when you go to the doctor and say something is wrong with your stomach and they tell you to put a plaster on your little toe? It’s like that. My wheels are my legs – they are an extension of my body. I know nothing about mechanics and electrics, but I know what needs to be looked at, just like we all have an idea of what specifically we want our doctors to check. It’s simple intuition.

I never thought something like that make me so anxious. The saga finished mid-September, but I still have rescue remedy in my draw at work. I still get nervous every time I go anywhere by myself, and I skip a little beat with every little noise this chair makes.

I don’t doubt that they were just doing their job and following protocol, but for two months my life was unnecessarily bought to a halt.

Of course, I’m getting better, but on reflection, I think this is an example of a wider issue. This is what happens to people when we refuse to listen and understand them; when we make them second-guess their instincts.

They get stuck while crossing a busy road.


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