Proprioception is the body’s ability to sense its position in space and internally track the location of its limbs and movement. I’ve always had a wavering sense of proprioception, it can happen with some developmental disability profiles and lead to issues with balance, coordination, gait and so on.
One facet of proprioception that I think often goes overlooked is the particular kind of fatigue it causes. Beyond the more obvious coordination issues at work, there is both a mental and physical lethargy that goes along with it as well.
Any body movement that is familiar enough (walking, gesturing etc.) has a way of fading into the back of your mind until it basically runs on auto-pilot. The motions become second nature once they no longer require your focused attention.
Impaired proprioception can turn what should be background behaviors into an ongoing priority that requires continuous and sustained attention. Otherwise, you risk the pain of tripping or falling or collision.
Having to carefully monitor how you are moving, where specifically your body is relative to the people and objects around you, while also navigating conversations and the bigger context of the situation: it can quickly turn exhausting. Situations others may navigate without even noticing can feel like a daunting obstacle course for anyone needing to plan each step and motion. The mental effort involved alone adds a grinding sort of fatigue that only grows heavier through the day.
The little things are always big things; the big things feel impossible; the grocery stores and waiting rooms and hallways and the full chaotic range of public spaces.
These low energy states only further impact mood and mobility. It turns into a cycle: exhaustion from constantly stage-managing your own movement; difficulty managing movement due to exhaustion; limbs becoming less responsive, collisions more likely. It’s basically like living without an autopilot and feeling overtaxed from the constant need to manage both micro and macro physical motions.
The tiredness of proprioception is a real thing and likely overlooked given how easily it can be obscured by misperceptions of “clumsiness” or “absent-mindedness” and so on. It is reliably distressing to note how many labels there are that exist to hide disabled people and ignore the impact that inaccessible spaces are having on them.