I Will No Longer Apologize for Falling Over Because of My Illness

My most recent illness has given me the most useless superpower known to man: I can fall over anywhere and at any time. Recently, I was standing in queue outside a posh store and fell spectacularly on my arse, taking down with me the railings that had been put up to contain the queue. A collective “oooh” rose from the crowd as a security guard scooped me up off the floor. I apologized repeatedly as the poor man had to hoist me to the nearest chair.

It wasn’t the first time I’d fallen over that day and it wasn’t going to be the last. I have an, as of yet undiagnosed, problem with the nerves leading to my legs which means I randomly lose control of them. I walk with the aid of crutches, but still manage to fall over multiple times a day. I barely have time to recover from the embarrassment of one fall before I do it all over again.


Apologizing has become an automatic reaction to falling. I’ve even found myself apologizing to my cat when I fall over alone in my flat!

But why am I apologizing for something I clearly cannot control? After some soul digging, I found that the reason was I felt ashamed.
I was ashamed I have so little control of my body. I was ashamed I have to rely on the help of good Samaritans to get me back on my feet. I was ashamed of the inconvenience and embarrassment I cause to the people around me. In short, I was ashamed of my disability.

And so, from now on, I challenge myself not to apologize for falling over. If I find myself getting embarrassed about the situation and reaching for the s-word, I will remind myself of this one simple fact: My worth and value as a human being is not determined by something as inconsequential as how well my legs work.

From now on, I will fall proudly.

Follow this journey on Maladaptive May.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via Eloi_Omella.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Undiagnosed

doctor's office with a diagram of the digestive system on the wall

Undiagnosed Patients Shouldn't Have to Fear Going to the Doctor

Today, while driving home from my bio lab, I got to thinking about my doctor appointments coming up – specifically my GI appointment. I’m going to first explain what is going on with my GI tract to give a little bit of background. For about a year and a half I have been struggling significantly [...]
silhouette of a person standing against a starry night sky

How I'm Finding Beauty in the Unknowns of My Illness

Why do I find the unknowns of the universe so beautiful, but the unknowns in myself so ugly? I can look into the sky and see stars and galaxies I can’t even imagine, but when I look at myself I just see tragedy. I see the needle mark left on the crook of my elbow, [...]
doctor checking a male patient's blood pressure

5 Steps to Ensuring You Get a (Correct) Diagnosis

Being diagnosed with a disease isn’t something most people are looking to do, but sometimes, you just know something isn’t right, so you go to the doctor. Many times, with the power of the internet and those amazing medication commercials on TV, we sometimes self-diagnose and then expect the doctor to agree. Unfortunately, it usually [...]
A woman in a plaid shirt, outdoors, with a serious expression.

When Doctors Question Our Physical Symptoms Because of Mental Illness

From my early teenage years, I have suffered from anxiety and it has never held me back. Through years of counseling and therapy, I learnt how to manage my anxiety and how to handle my triggers. However, that word is plastered all over my medical records and is something I am almost ashamed to admit in [...]