top of page
  • Writer's pictureKyrby Brown

Slow Body, Fast Brain - The Importance of Free Movement

I have written before about how much my wheelchair improves my life. For ambulatory wheelchair users, the use of their chair is often seen as inferior to walking, particularly for those close to them. The perception of using a mobility device as 'giving up' must be challenged. This blog is designed to explain why this is a false and damaging perception.


Without my chair I am limited, by distance, by pain threshold, by speed and by the unpredictability of life. By choosing to walk I am submitting myself to days of stiffness, discomfort and fatigue. This quickly builds up and has a negative impact on my work and my mood. In short, I enjoy my life a whole lot less!


Within my home I am ambulatory, but movement is never easy, it requires careful planning and a slowness that my active brain struggles to cope with. In some case I have to stretch my tight Achilles just to take a few steps. All of this is significantly worse after prolonged walking. My mind is often working at 100 miles per hour whilst my body barely breaches 20!


This is the part that abled-bodied people struggle to understand. As they age perhaps they might catch a glimpse of this phenomena, but when your mind and your body are running at two different speeds frustration sets in and, after a little while, you start to lose your inner fire.


You may think I’m being dramatic, but I can hardly imagine a world where my freedom of movement is limited to the capabilities of my joints and muscles. Life would be far too cumbersome.


So we find an alternative, we solve the problem. For me my power-chair provides this solution, I have very limited use of my upper body so cannot self-propel and my 100mph brain would certainly commit an atrocious crime if it was submitted to having my bodily movement controlled by another person every day. Seriously I cannot be pushed, it’s the closest thing to claustrophobia I have ever experienced, I fear I may bite someone from pure anxiety!

A powered wheelchair facing the camera on a wooden bridge with water vapour rising between the slats

My chair on the other hand is truly epic! I can zip around, see and do all the things I want without a single thought for the limitations of my body. I can enjoy a full day out and explore with the freedom to be curious and timely. Even better, I can get up the next day and do it all again. I cannot imagine my life without this equipment and I want to more people to understand how significant and important the right mobility is. Our system and our mindset must change to empower more people to understand that, just because you’re not in your feet, you’re not any less human. Not something to be pitied!


Wheelchair from behind on a boardwalk surrounded by flowers and trees

We should celebrate freedom of movement in all forms and embrace how this might change throughout our lives. The right equipment can keep you sane and keep your fire burning. It may even take you places you never thought you’d go.

149 views4 comments

4 Comments


KarlaC
KarlaC
Sep 13, 2023

Thank you for writing this Kyrby! I have experienced this very thought growing up with a disability. My body can only take me so far but mind has me going all over the place. I resonate with every thing you wrote in your article.

Like
Kyrby Brown
Kyrby Brown
Sep 13, 2023
Replying to

I’m so pleased that the blog has helped you. Often the key to overcoming barriers is thinking above and beyond them, it’s important to also appreciate the power of an active mind!

Like

Slavin333
Sep 12, 2023

Great article. I use my crutches but am thinking of using my w/c more. Unfortunately my house is not very accessible.

Like
Kyrby Brown
Kyrby Brown
Sep 13, 2023
Replying to

I’m in the same situation, I am ambulant in my house but my chair gives me freedom when I’m out and about.

Like
bottom of page