My behind the wheel therapyApr 21 02:38
When I’m behind the wheel of my vehicle, no one can tell I use a wheelchair (no disabled plate, only a placard). And I gotta say that feeling is pretty hard to beat.
But the anonymity of being just another driver on the road is one of several reasons driving my has become the best form of therapy I‘ve ever run across.
When you’re disabled and depressed, doctors tell you to take pills, or to meditate, but no one ever mentions the therapeutic benefits of getting behind the wheel and being fully in control of a car (and for the life of me I can’t figure out why!). They'll mention you’ll be able to drive again and they’ll tell you the steps you need to make it happen, but no one ever tells you driving can be used as a secret weapon for people with disabilities against the blues.
Driving is therapeutic because driving a car is like being in control of your body again; at least for me it feels that way. I call it my semi-sexy Dodge Grand Caravan “body." Pulling on my hand-controls as I hit the gas and feeling my van rev up to 70mph truly can make almost all my frustrations melt away (driving that fast only where it‘s legal of course). Being in control of something again - that can move me from Point A to Point B (other than my wheelchair) - is huge.
So if you’re lucky enough to have a vehicle with hand-controls, consider looking at driving your vehicle in a whole new light; like me. While driving in rush hour probably won’t help, driving the open road will certainly help your mind in more ways than you’d ever expect.
I leave you with my favorite new driving song (and makes me feel cool everytime I drive; even in my mini-van): MIA’s latest song “Bad Girls”
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1. Justine | Apr 22 02:52
I wish I had a car. Had mine practically stolen from me. Glad you get a great feeling from driving. It is the best form of independence a pwd can have.
2. Tiffiny | Apr 22 05:56
What happened to your car, Justine?
3. Justine | Apr 26 08:46
In a nutshell a family member took it from me, since I'm unable to drive it. I'd planned on trading it in and trusted that I'd be able to, but since it's a " hot car", they don't want to let it go. It was a gift to me and I've had nothing but heartache :(. I'm back at square one, forever unable to afford an accessible car.
4. Tiffiny | Apr 27 01:07
I'm so sorry Justine :( That totally blows
5. Justine | Apr 27 01:30
Thank you, Tiffiny. I didn't mean to take away from your POV. driving is an amazing therapeutic escape, I totally agree.
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.