The Fifth Bodily Humour.

Recently, I’ve seen the term “mobility fluidity” tossed around the internet like an over-cooked pancake, and in all honesty, I’m still not sure what to make of it. Since me not having an opinion is a rare event, I’ve decided to record the occasion.

The term addresses conditions like CFS or fibromyalgia that fluctuate on a daily basis. One day, an inflicted individual might be able to walk, but the next day they’d use a wheelchair instead. It’s not unusual for someone to label such an individual as a faker or attention seeker (lesser known Tom Jones lyric), and the term is trying to explain this issue.

There is, however, one slight issue. Fluidity can be used to describe someone exploring their gender or sexuality, but I’m not exploring my mobility. My legs are more unreliable than in-flight WiFi, and the rest of my body isn’t much better. That’s all there is to it.

What’s more, the type of people who find gender or sexuality fluidity unacceptable are usually the same type to label someone as a faker for their mobility fluidity. That is a huge generalisation, but hear (or in this case, read) me out on this.

People hear the word fluidity, and they either start discussing Newton’s laws of forces and motion, or they think a liberal is about to start lecturing them. Some will cheer the liberal on, and others will roll their eyes and ignore them. That means they won’t want to hear it when someone uses a word like fluidity in connection with mobility. It addresses the issue, but does nothing to solve it. Admittedly, I don’t have many ideas about how to fix this myself, short of using my wheelchair as a weapon.

The sentiment behind the terms’ development is entirely well-meaning, and while I want to welcome this with open arms, it feels more like trying to swallow a large, powdery tablet. The medical kind, not the electronic kind. You know it will do you good, but right at that moment you are wrestling with the urge to vomit like John Cena against The Rock.

Perhaps the problem lies with those who can’t understand that chronic illness is more complicated than EU politics, but yet another mildly patronising term for them to learn won’t get the concept through to them. I think that, maybe, allowing these people an insight into living with a chronic illness, however embarrassing or uncomfortable that may be, will prove a point. Having written that down, now sounds like I’m blowing my own trumpet. I guess I’m just trying to do the write thing…

Author: diaryofadisabledperson

When I was 14, I suffered viral meningitis, and as a result I contracted a disease called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), which is sometimes called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E). 6 years on I use a powered wheelchair to get around, and I'm hoping that this blog will give people an insight into life as a disabled person.

2 thoughts on “The Fifth Bodily Humour.”

  1. Man, the only term I’ve really heard for those of us with fluctuating mobility problems (I have severe fibromyalgia, among other things) is “invisible illness”. Not sure how I feel about the word fluidity, for similar reasons as those you wrote about, but I may dislike the word invisible even more. I mean, it’s nothing compared to being accused of faking chronic pain, but I feel like when it’s bad enough to affect your life significantly, it’s not exactly invisible, right?

    I don’t have a better suggestion at this point, just tired of people acting shitty because our limbs aren’t visibly rotting off or something.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My mum suffers from fibromyalgia too; it’s a horrible disease, and you’re quite right in saying that the term “invisible” is as bad as “mobility fluidity”, if not worse.
      I don’t think I can come up with an alternative, other than to refer to diseases by their given names.

      Like

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