shock of seeing myself

joanlawson
joanlawson Member Posts: 8,681
edited 3. Apr 2009, 06:08 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hi everyone
Recently, I have had to start using a walking stick when I go out, and even then I limp a bit. Occasionally, I catch sight of myself in a shop window or mirror in a shop, and it gives me quite a shock.

I seem to have aged, and I think who is that old woman? I also realise how badly I am walking. I know I must not feel sorry for myself because at least I can still walk, unlike many other people on this site. However, it is a blow to the ego when you see yourself getting less mobile.

I bought a pretty stick with flower patterns on it, and I call it a new fashion accessory just to cheer myself up, but it doesn't make up for the fact that I am looking older.

Joan

Comments

  • redpoppy
    redpoppy Member Posts: 108
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    hi joan,yes i know how you feel,someone took a picture of me a while ago and i was shocked to see how deformed my hands looked,even though they have been like it for ages it still shocked me when i saw it.my mum also informed me today that i walk funny as we were discussing people parking in disabled places in the supermarket car park and i said sometimes people cant tell ive got arthritis so mum says yes you can you walk funny not normal.lol,i had to laugh,my mum is 74 and telling me that.but like you say at least we can still get about even though we go at a slower pace than most people.
  • colinone
    colinone Member Posts: 1,039
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Joan, It’s all hard to come to terms with and so much harder for you ladies, yes you can feel sorry for yourself from time to time and its only natural and part of the process we go through when we suffer this type of disease. I was full of self pity for ages and then the why me process. I don’t think you can draw a line of who’s worse off though many might disagree on the site, it’s a personal thing and how it effects you as an individual. I can walk although just a few yards and manage about the house with some difficulty but when I walk even with the aid of sticks I used to feel so stupid and wonder how I look to others. Now I don’t care
    The same with my dress I have been a shirt and tie man all my adult life now I can’t tie my tie, I don’t care what I wear now I tend to wear clothes I know I can get and off by myself, I call them my swets, and I don’t care if I need to go out I’ll go out in my swets, that’s where it becomes harder for you ladies. If going somewhere special then Kay helps dress me but I get there. The other thing is being accepting of your disability you have no choice but to come to terms with it. ( he says I spent the day very depressed but ok and back to myself now after a good days sleep its those little things that get to me lol ) As for looking older we are, have you noticed it just seems to creep on you. When you suffer long term it does have a sort of ageing thing with you but have you noticed some days you don’t look half bad. I thought of getting some fancy sticks but I don’t use them that often. Getting less mobile can be a worry and quite distressing especially when you think about the future but hey there’s nothing we can do but except our lot and get on with it. This entitles us to swear, curse, and feel sorry for ourselves but only for a short time. Now I have a mental picture of you tottering round the shops on your stick with your funny walk. Its good that you keep your sense of humour Joan and you have to make fun of yourself at times its good for you, Ill bet its its only you who thinks your looking older and to others you haven’t changed a bit. Do take care Joan
    Colin
  • ninakang
    ninakang Member Posts: 1,367
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Joan

    I do sympathise with you, feeling this way, but it's as the others have said, try to stay positive and I'm sure you don't look as bad as you think. You sound like you're doing a good job with this anyway. Just keep coming on here for inspiration.

    I don't believe in all this feeling guilty because there may be others worse off than you. You are still in pain and suffering and deserve to be able to talk about it to others and get advice and sympathy. I'm sure if there are people "worse off" than you reading this, they'd agree.

    Nina X
  • eckstardeluxe
    eckstardeluxe Member Posts: 1,192
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Joan

    I really sympathise with you, I feel the same way sometimes. I catch myself in the mirror or in the reflection of a car door etc and think what a mess. I too feel like an old woman yet I'm only 33. The worst thing for me is when I limp at work, having only returned from mat leave 6 weeks ago and having my diagnosis while off, I'm constantly asked by people "what have you done to yourself?". They think I've hurt my ankle or something. If it's someone I know well I'll say, I was just diagnosed with advanced OA and I get trouble with the sciatica. It's the reactions that worry me, they always say "but you're so young!" as if I don't know. I don't want to stand there and burden them with my problems but they don't realise when asking I'm being constantly reminded that it's obvious something is not right. Then the next day when I don't limp in the morning then do in the afternoon you can see people staring. I wish i could take my husband's advice and stop thinking about what other people think about me but it's hard. It is good to know I'm not alone in this and others feel the same. xxx
  • nearlybionic
    nearlybionic Member Posts: 1,899
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Joan
    I can understand exactly what you are saying. When I first needed to use a stick,, I too chose a pretty pink flowery one. Strange really, as it probably stands out more than an ordinary grey one! But I do understand that realisation of feeling and looking older. But I came to feel safer using my stick, as it showed people I was disabled and I felt that people wouldn`t barge into me in a busy place. Also I know I walked better using it, and so in turn probably reduced the pain I would have had from walking about without it. I am still using crutches at the moment, and won`t be too upset if I still need my stick after that.
    I think we are our own worst critics, and we notice things about our appearance more critically than others do. I have been shocked at seeing myself in shop windows too, that is because I avoid full length mirrors at home so it was a wake up call!! :shock: But I have realised it is something I have got to come to terms with, although as Colin said , I too have down days.
    I will send you a big (((((((hug))))))) and hope you are feeling ok
    NB
  • jackie1955
    jackie1955 Member Posts: 632
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi all,

    I have tried using a stick, but found it made the pain in my wrists unbearable.

    A couple of years ago we went to the USA, and whilst there my OH 'tried' using a mobility scooter inside one of the huge supermarkets. (He has had health/mobility problems for years).

    Now at home he'd always insisted he didn't "want one of those" even though I thought it woud be ideal for him. So, after trying it in the store he realised how it would help him to get around!

    Once back home we bought one of those that fits in the car boot. And its been brilliant for him! So, the other week, we bought another one for ME to use........

    I do understand the importance of 'staying mobile' but I'm not able to walk without grimacing with pain - so the little scooter is great for me :) but I've found it very strange that when I've told some folk about it they laugh and seem to find it rather funny. Well I don't think its a laughing matter at all :x I'd much rather be striding along like I used to!

    Aren't people insensitive :(

    Jackie x
  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 28,072
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi All
    Jackie - the scooter is a great idea. It's your independance isn't it?
    Anyway, if walking makes you grimace, that'll give you more WRINKLES which must be aging!!!
    Scooters might just be the new botox!!
    Take care
    Toni xx
  • colinb
    colinb Member Posts: 66
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    scooters are great yes, but as my wife will testify, can be horrendous on you if hands/wrists are sore...she often can't push/pull the control levers
  • joanlawson
    joanlawson Member Posts: 8,681
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi everyone
    Thank you for all your encouraging replies. I know that we all have to come to terms with getting older, but with arthritis it seems to come so suddenly.

    It brought it home to me even more yesterday when I managed to get round the supermarket, but I did more shopping than I intended. I had promised my husband that I would only do a bit, and then thought I was OK once I got there. By the time I got to the till,I knew that I had overdone it, and I was shattered by the time I got home.

    I have been a very active person in the past, working full-time for over 30 years while bringing up a family, and dashing around at break-neck speed. I am not a vain person, but hate to catch sight of myself sometimes.

    It is reassuring to be able to talk about such things with people on this site who understand so well. Thank you for your kindness.

    Joan :D
  • mistywillow
    mistywillow Member Posts: 711
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    joanlawson wrote:
    Hi everyone
    Thank you for all your encouraging replies. I know that we all have to come to terms with getting older, but with arthritis it seems to come so suddenly.

    It brought it home to me even more yesterday when I managed to get round the supermarket, but I did more shopping than I intended. I had promised my husband that I would only do a bit, and then thought I was OK once I got there. By the time I got to the till,I knew that I had overdone it, and I was shattered by the time I got home.

    I have been a very active person in the past, working full-time for over 30 years while bringing up a family, and dashing around at break-neck speed. I am not a vain person, but hate to catch sight of myself sometimes.

    It is reassuring to be able to talk about such things with people on this site who understand so well. Thank you for your kindness.

    Joan :D

    Hi Joan and all
    First of all girls, where did you get those sticks with pretty flowers on? am having to use one now sometimes although its pretty hard on the hands. Joan, have you tried the Alexander technique, it is helpful as it teaches you how to move in a way that least stresses your joints and as a result often reduces the funny walks that we adopt. There probably are some local classes where you live.
    As for aging, i always thought how nice it would be to be thin, but since having RA my weight has dropped significantly, my arms are scrawny and papery, and my wrinkles have wrinkles!! Can't wear nice shoes as can't walk in them, and hands too lumpy and bumpy to get rings on. The only thing is your eyesite usually deteriorates too with age so you can't see what you look like :lol::lol:

    Take care all Gillx
  • joanlawson
    joanlawson Member Posts: 8,681
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Gill
    I got my stick from the House of Bath www.houseofbath.co.uk.(floral walking stick £19.95.) It is fairly expensive but I like the William Morris print on it. It also folds up. There is a cheaper one in Coopers www.coopersofstortford.co.uk (folding walking stick £14.99) and also a stick with a fold-up seat (£14.99) which I'm thinking of getting.

    Thanks for the advice about the Alexander technique. I have been referred by my doctor to some exercise classes which are specially for people like me, so I will see how that goes, but I will bear your advice in mind.

    All the best
    Joan
  • vonski
    vonski Member Posts: 1,292
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Gill

    Most mobility shops have those walking sticks, some with a comfort handles. Might be worth a look in then you can try it :)
    Got your message thanks :):)

    Love
    Vonski x
  • josiec
    josiec Member Posts: 386
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Switch sticks do tons of designs in all colours - only prob is it's an internet company so you can't try before you buy, they take orders over the phone also.
    Regards,
    Josie
  • mistywillow
    mistywillow Member Posts: 711
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    josiec wrote:
    Switch sticks do tons of designs in all colours - only prob is it's an internet company so you can't try before you buy, they take orders over the phone also.
    Regards,
    Josie

    Thanks for the stick advice everyone, have been using an old one i found lying around. (amazing what you find lying around the house) but it is too long and not adjustable so i might as well get myself a pretty new one as i appear to be needing it more :P
    Gillx
  • eckstardeluxe
    eckstardeluxe Member Posts: 1,192
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    With regards the sticks, I did mines myself, I glittered that baby right up with some paint and stuff but still can't find the bottle to take her to work. Maybe once I deal with the endless questions I'll feel more confident.
  • mistywillow
    mistywillow Member Posts: 711
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    With regards the sticks, I did mines myself, I glittered that baby right up with some paint and stuff but still can't find the bottle to take her to work. Maybe once I deal with the endless questions I'll feel more confident.


    Hi eck
    Ah the creative sort! I'm not so hot on that side, cant imagine what it would look like if i let myself loose with some paint and glitter!!
    You know if you need your stick at work and it makes things easier for you, bite the bullet and take it with you. Once you've actually done it, it wont feel so weird.
    Good luck Gillx
  • hezmarie25
    hezmarie25 Member Posts: 63
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi
    I agree take the stick to work, first day you may get a few questions and looks but then after that people will probably not notice. Now if I designed my own stick it would be horrendous, 2 year old could do better :D
    I was sat at the comp before putting some stuff on ebay, only planned to be there for twenty min or so but ended up taking over an hour. I kept rubbing my back but when I came to get up I was stuck, I eventually got up and hobbled out of the room but my hubby said, god your like an old woman! He really didn't mean me no harm or mean to be nasty, he thinks he is a comedian but it really hurts deep down. I am only 40 and I can see that my face is aging fast and it seems my body is falling to bits!
    Must admit tho to feeling very down today and a wee bit depressed, just getting tearful for nothing. Anyway will probably wake up in the morning and feel tons better.
    Night night all, wishing you all a good night sleep
    Heather x
  • livinglegend
    livinglegend Member Posts: 1,425
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    jackie1955 wrote:
    But I've found it very strange that when I've told some folk about it they laugh and seem to find it rather funny. Well I don't think its a laughing matter at all.
    Many people cover their confusion and embarrassment c050.gif by laughing.

    Perhaps they think of you as fit and suddenly you are not; the scootern055.gif is such a surprise for them to grasp. So, try to be a bit forgiving of them as they really don't mean it.

    Joseph 8)
  • jackie1955
    jackie1955 Member Posts: 632
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Joseph,

    Yeah maybe your right!

    I am a very easy-going person and fortunately I don't take any remarks to heart - I think people think its ok to laugh about the scooter because I still look like me, no visible signs of illness/deformity etc whereas when they can see something obviously wrong they are more 'understanding'.

    BUT I do think that more sensitive people would be upset and then become so self-conscious they won't use a stick/scooter or whatever for fear of being laughed at :(

    Apparently there was a comedy programme on not so long ago, set in Spain, where one of the main characters used a little scooter and was called 'Madge'.......... you've guessed, suddenly I got a new nickname :shock:

    Jackie x

Who's Online

11
Baloo
Baloo
bosh
bosh
toady
toady
+8 Guests