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The First Time I Used My Cane At School {And how I realized that I had nothing to worry about} #FunctionalNeurologicalDisorder

It's been nearly a year since I started using my cane regularly at school. Although I'm now able to use it with out feeling too anxious, that wasn't always the case. I remember when I first got it, it was in the middle of 10th grade. I had finally worked up the courage to take it to school....and I left it in my bag. I didn't even take it out, I was so terrified of someone seeing it.

The summer break before my Junior year, I had MULTIPLE panic attacks just thinking about using it. It was the fact that people would notice me, and would be looking at me. That terrified me, I couldn't handle the thought of being noticed by others, even if for just a second. I already dealt with people looking at me due to my tics, I didn't think I could handle being looked at for another reason on top of that. Nethertheless, I knew I needed to bring it to school, I knew I that the benefits would GREATLY out way the anxieties I had. And so I did, I brought it.

I was so nervous the whole week before school, infact I had a pretty huge breakdown caused by my stress and anxiety. Still, the first day of Junior year I brought my cane. went suprisingly well. There were a few stares, but they weren't as common as I thought. The few questions I got, were all asked by my teachers. No one was rude, or made me feel embarrassed to use one. By the end of the day, I had realized I had nothing to worry about.

I go to a decent sized school. And there's a handful of students who also use mobility aids. I think that knowing that helped me a bit with my anxiety, and the feeling of feeling alone. Infact, towards the end of my first semester of Junior year, a student who also uses a cane transfered to my school. It turned out that they were my friend from middle school, who ended up moving. We became really good friends, even closer than we would be if we didn't both bond over using mobility aids.

I'm really glad I didn't give into my anxiety, and that I still brought it despite the intense panic I originally felt. It has helped me immensely with dealing with the symptoms I deal with from my FND. Though I still sometimes feel anxious using it, it's nowhere near as bad or constant as it was in the beginning.

I'm writing this to not only share my experience, but to hopefully help someone who wants, or needs to use their mobility aid in a more public setting for the first time, but is scared, to realize that although it can be scary at first. It will be ok. Even if people stare, and make rude comments it will be ok. Your saftey is hundreds of times more important than what others might think of you

#FND #FunctionalNeurologicalDisorder #FND #Disabled #Mobilityaid #BabeWithAMobilityAid #Confidence #Disabledandproud

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Using A Mobility Aid At A Young Age (and how I'm gaining confidence in using mine)

When I was diagnosed with FND last year. I hadn't experienced too many symptoms that impared my mobility. I had wanted to get a cane mainly for my chronic leg pain, fatigue and occasional leg weakness. After quite a few months I finally got a cane, that was previously my dad's. And as my mobility issues progressed to things, like tremors and a gait dysfunction it became more and more apparent just how often I'd need to use my cane.
And although I was grateful to have an aid I needed for a year, I couldn't help but feel the internalized ableism. "What if I don't actually need this" " I could probably go with out this, even if my symptoms will flare after" . Since I'm a teenager, I was afraid people would say I'm "too young " to use a cane.
All of these had prevented me from using my cane until month after I got it. And I had done a few things to ease my anxiety. So without further ado, here are my tips for gaining confidence in your aid

1. Follow #BabeWithAMobilityAid

This tag, which can be found on both Instagram and TikTok is full of beautiful and confident people showing of their mobility aids, and being proud of them.

2. Fake it till you make it

This tip, I got from @The.annegirl on Instagram. Her advice, is to fake your confidence in public while using your aid. Eventually you'll realize you aren't faking it anymore.

3. Decorate your aids

I personally have found that decorating my cane, has made it so that it feels much more personal and less medicalized, therefore destigmatizing it for me.

4. Name your aid

I know this sounds silly, but it personally really helped me. (My cane is named Sally btw)

5. Take a photoshoot with your aid.

Taking cute photos of myself always makes me feel more confident. So if I do the same thing while holding my cane I find that the cane makes me feel MORE confident.

I still deal with anxiety when using my cane, and I be lying if I said I never left it at home, when I needed it. But these tips, have helped me SO much. And I hope they help you too

#FND #FunctionalNeurologicalDisorder #ChronicIllness #hiddendisability #MobilityAids

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Neutral/Friendly Phrasing

Hello friends who use mobility aids! I know the phrase/hashtag#babewithamobility #BabeWithAMobilityAid has become popular and I LOVE it! But I'm wondering if there are any other phrases and/or hashtags out there specifically concerning the disability community or people who use mobility aids that you all love? How do guys feel about the word babe being used? I want to use this phrase as a refrain in a book and I want to be as inclusive as possible. Thanks! #MobilityAids #Positivity #Inclusive #Disability

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