Using a Wheelchair with CFS

A friend with severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome asked me about using a wheelchair with CFS.

He has since gone ahead and got one - an electric wheelchair - and it has changed his life. For the first time in years he can go to the local shop.

I decided to write an article in case there is anyone else there trying to decide whether to go ahead and use a wheelchair with CFS.

At the end of this article you will find some healing affirmations to help you adapt if you decide to use a wheelchair with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Physical support – equipment

It is easy to resist using disability equipment until it is absolutely necessary. There is a time for such resistance. If you feel that being in or being seen in a wheelchair would be deeply upsetting for you, and would make you give up on further improvements in health, then it makes sense to be slow to take such a move.

On the other hand, using a wheelchair may enable you to go out when you could not do so otherwise.

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Learning to use physical aids can be a wonderful way to maintain your independence and increase your ability to engage with the world.

I recommend that you consider using physical aids, for example a wheelchair if you have mobility issues. As always, make the choice which is right for you.

Ask yourself:

Is there equipment I can use to maximise my mobility and functioning so as to have more fun or live life at an increased level of independence?

What do I do?
Who do I contact?
When will I take the first step?

My personal experience of using a wheelchair with CFS

I had been virtually housebound for a couple of months when it occurred to me that if I used a wheelchair I could start going out once again.

Getting a wheelchair was a difficult decision, but a good one.

A friend who had shared the distress of my becoming housebound shared my joy in my new mobility and took me on outings.

One of my relatives however suggested, ‘If you get in a wheelchair you will never walk again.’ It wasn’t a helpful comment!

If the people in your life are in denial about your level of health, they may struggle with seeing you use mobility aids.

By the way, after 14 years of living bedbound I did walk again :-)

Because I can't walk far, I still use a mobility scooter for distance.

Below is a photograph of me on a trip to the House of Lords to collect a poetry prize :-)

A friend manipulated the photograph to give me rocket fumes. I love it! It captures the sense of freedom I feel at being able to travel a distance, and to do so without being pushed in a manual wheelchair.

Me (Katherine Owen) on my mobility scooter, off to the House of Lords! UK

Problems with using a wheelchair with CFS

There are problems for many people using a wheelchair with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at a severe level.

For many years, the symptoms of CFS severely restricted my use of a wheelchair.

  • I felt dizzy when stationary and even more so when I was moving.
  • I couldn't cope with my legs hanging down for long before the pain became too difficult
  • I could not sit up for long enough to safely go on an outing.
  • I didn't have the support - the level of care - I would have needed to assign energy and movement to going out

But throughout the worst 4 years, an indoor wheelchair allowed me to know I could reach the front door in an emergency.

After these years, for many years, I was well enough to have a trip in the wheelchair most days to sit outside in the garden (or an old car) once a day.

When you can't do much, what you can do changes your life. A wheelchair can help.

Healing affirmations around using a wheelchair with CFS

Here are some healing affirmations to allow you to explore your feelings around using a wheelchair with CFS.

I am willing to use a disability aid to allow me to live a bigger life.

Other people in my life may resist my use of such equipment.

This is my life and my decision.

It is not my job to protect someone else from the reality of my level of health.

It is my job to celebrate the life I have.

I celebrate the increase in my independence or functioning that these tools bring into my life.

I celebrate the tools and equipment that allow me to do things I could not otherwise do.

I do not look down on someone else for needing equipment.

I do not look down on myself for needing equipment.

Illness is not a failure.

Chronic illness is not a failure.

Disability is not a failure.

Having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is not a failure.

I am proud of the way I make the most of the life I have.


Wishing you healing both within and beyond illness,

Katherine

Katherine T Owen

Katherine T Owen runs this website - www.HealingCFSME.com.

She is author of Be Loved, Beloved (lulu.com or kindle)


Other articles relevant to Using a Wheelchair with CFS

  • In order to make the decision to use a wheelchair with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you may have to feel a certain level of acceptance of the illness. Help yourself to move towards acceptance of illness by reading my free ebook on the <The 7 Stages of Grief of Chronic Illness>.
  • Whilst I was still in a wheelchair with severe CFS, I pursued an alternative healing therapy based on NLP which brought me significant healing from not walking to walking again.

› Using a Wheelchair with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


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Disclaimer: I am not a medical practitioner. The articles on this website are not to be taken as medical advice. Please consult a medical practitioner as necessary.