Duchenne MD Helps Me Develop Close Relationships

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by Hawken Miller |

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Living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy has plenty of downsides, such as having to use a wheelchair and a BiPAP machine, dealing with fatigue, and wearing night splints, among other things. But if you’ve read my column for a while, you’ll know I like to look on the positive side of things.

Duchenne also has plenty of upsides, such as helping me to see the world differently, allowing me to meet incredible people, including celebrities, and prompting me to be a mentor to younger men with the same disease. More than anything, this disease forces me to quickly establish strong relationships with people I’ve recently met.

Forging new relationships

I recently hired two caregivers to help me live independently, and after the first couple weeks of working with them, I think the bond between us has already grown stronger. This made me think about some of the deep conversations I’ve had with friends, and about how we know each other’s personalities so well. I think these types of relationships are made stronger because I must ask them for help and be vulnerable around them.

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I have to ask for assistance quite a lot compared to your average human. It ranges from asking someone to pick up a book I dropped to helping me up from the couch or carrying me up the stairs.

In every case, I usually need to be up close and personal. When lifting me up from a seated position when I’m not in my wheelchair, the person will face me and lift me up from under my armpits. In a new environment with new people, being so close to a person forces me to quickly skip many social steps. I usually ask for assistance from the same people, too, so I start to feel more comfortable about discussing my needs.

These encounters usually start awkwardly, but after a few times of getting help things begin to flow better. Asking for help serves as a social icebreaker in many cases. Once that’s out of the way, we can be more open with each other and have deeper conversations.

Revealing who I am

I view Duchenne as a part of my personality. In most cases, you don’t know what a person is really about until you see them a few times and have conversations with them. For me, this disease has put a lot of who I am out in the open, front and center. You may not get the full picture, but it’s not hard to guess what I’m dealing with when I roll into a room.

In a way, Duchenne forces me to be transparent with people. I believe people are drawn to those who are open and honest about who they are and aren’t focused on trying to be someone else. I am what you see, more or less, and I think that helps me develop closer relationships with people more quickly.

Counting my blessings has become a great way for me to overcome the mental health struggles of being in a body that is different from everyone else. Developing easier bonds with people is just one of many things I can be thankful for.

Note: Muscular Dystrophy News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Muscular Dystrophy News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to muscular dystrophy.


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