Confidence can be gained in many forms. Over the course of our lives we gain confidence through experiences and how we are viewed by others. When you lose the use of your legs and your ability of movement, such as I have, all the confidence you have gained is broken. Your understanding of how you are seen by others as well as your independence is drastically changed. You are still extremely competent, but many people view you differently. This in turn limits your ability to get tasks accomplished, as well as how seriously others see you in your day to day life.
Simple things like looking someone in the eye or the mere presence you exude in your dealings (business, meetings, shopping, even moving within a crowd of people) becomes a difficult task when before it was not. There are times I have been in a group setting while sitting in my chair when everyone else was standing and no one heard a word I was saying. However, with my Edge 3 electric wheelchair with iLevel, everything changed. I am able to look my co-workers in the eye, and people are more attentive now when I speak.
When I started to use my iLevel wheelchair, I began to gain some semblance of the confidence I had before. I can move again! I have my freedom back, and I can do more things independently. People who have mobility challenges realize that most things are created for people who can stand up. Countertops, desks, microwaves, cabinets, and the cash register at any store are just a few examples of items that are commonly used at eye level when people are standing. The Edge 3 with iLevel wheelchair is an instant confidence booster. As a result, having face-to-face conversations are much easier. I no longer get the feeling of someone hovering over me as we are talking or glancing past me during our conversation. When I take my children to any event involving a crowd it no longer feels claustrophobic. My view of the world around me has literally changed! I’m at ease in so many more everyday situations which has given me the confidence again to venture out and be productive in everything I do.
As I become more experienced in what my iLevel can help me accomplish, I am gaining my confidence back one day at a time.
About Merlisha Henderson: Merlisha lives in Arizona with her family. As a wife, mother and disability advocate in her community, she stays active and independent, working toward bringing equality and access to all. Click here to learn more about Merlisha.