Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Growing up in an increasingly politically correct country we are taught not to judge. Do not assume you know all there is to know about a person, or group, based on one fact; white, black, male, female, blonde, redhead...the list goes on. We all know that our hair colour or skin colour is only one factor in our make-up, that a narrow focus on one feature of a persons physical being will not tell us how kind they are, how smart or funny, the capacity for goodness or greatness within their soul. 

Unless, it seems, that person is disabled.

These days if you have a disability you become public property. Everybody is allowed to have an opinion on you, on every aspect of your life whether it is related to your condition or not. Everybody is allowed to judge you, and the jury are already back, the decision has been made, you are wrong. You are unfit for purpose. Fuelled by the bile-soaked ignorance headlining papers like the Sun* and the Daily Mail, we are learning that regardless of any other thing about us, we are condemned.

Disabled? You must be faking, or in some way deserving of your condition. Judgement; Scrounger.

Disabled? You must not have fun or in any way seek to improve your life. Judgement; Faker.
Disabled? You must tolerate hate language and abuse because, although we won't really come out and say it, you must in some way deserve your pain, your difference. Judgement; You are the problem.

 We don't want to believe it could be us in that situation and so we must distance ourselves from it by any means possible. We are the strong, the Normals, and so we mock you and your perceived weakness. We do nothing to disabuse ourselves of our ignorance, to see you as a person, because that would be like accepting our own fragility, the possibility that one day it might be us, or our loved ones. 
 Who would want to accept that we are, after all, only human? 

All of us, ALL of us, regardless of class, colour, religion or income, intelligence or humanity, can become disabled. It really could be you.
 So how would you feel if your life was pain**. Always pain. And you had the choice to waste away in bed forever, never seeing anybody or playing with your children, or fight it. Even if the fight cost you your strength, your sanity some days. So you fight. And, oh god it hurts, but you do it. You somehow force yourself to become stronger, a little at a time. You hide away on the worst days, the days where you pay for your efforts at normalcy with pain so deep and consuming it becomes a scream inside your body.
 You do all of this, you do your constant best, and you brave the outside world. 

And what do you get for it?

You get tabloids telling you and all the world around you that you are Not Allowed. If you are disabled, they say, you must not have fun. You must not have a family, or even leave the house. You may not try to improve your situation or feel joy or pleasure. If you do, then we have decided that this gives us the right to comment, to judge. We are allowed to call you a scrounger, to decide you are faking it, to challenge you. We can sneer, we can cross the road to avoid you, we can shout and mock and hurt you. We can attack, and we will not be challenged. We will not feel the weight of the law because you are not protected. You are not worthy of any attempt at an existence outside of the prison built for you, you must accept this as just another indignity, another part of your life.

And so think for a moment, how YOU might feel on the receiving end of that abuse. Imagine, just for a moment, that you are in the vulnerable position. Or maybe it isn't you, maybe it is your son or daughter, your brother or sister. Would you then believe they were in some way deserving of this treatment? 

All it would take is a fall. A blood clot. A wonky chromosome. The smallest of things can make the biggest of differences. How do you know that tomorrow it won't be you? And if it was, would you then be proud of yourself for targeting, for bullying, for helping to perpetuate the hate? 

Or would you be locked inside your house, lonely and afraid after being told you have become that which you hated most; disabled. Condemned.


*This morning the Sun has a front page dedicated to destroying the life of a disabled woman who dared have fun by going to a fair.
** I have chosen here to focus on my particular situation and what i have experienced. This is written from my perspective and is on no way a judgement on how other people experience and cope with their own disabilities. Every one is different and how much you fight can have nothing to do with it.

Monday, 20 February 2012


Hello all of you lovely people :D

Call off the search, we are all still alive! We did have a nasty flu type bug for the first week or so after moving in, but i think that was more to do with all the crap we had been breathing in at the old house, and it finally having a chance to work out of our systems.

The older three children are all at their new schools now, the eldest only started today (transfer in 10 working days my foot) and has been a little anxious, but has had a good day. The other two of school-attending age have been going for a couple of weeks now, and while getting the school runs covered is proving a bit of a headache, things seem to be going quite well.

I am ok, i have been a bit up and down but am getting on. I am finding it quite a challenge to keep the house in the shape i'd like, but the pain team have told me that i am not going to cause any further damage by pushing myself. Hard to believe quite a lot of the time.

It is all worth it though. Every day i wake up in a beautiful house which is clean and dry. A simple sentence and a thing which is easy to take for granted but has made an exceptional difference in our quality of life. Through pushing myself hard, juggling my pain relief carefully and not being constantly ill from breathing in mould, i can even get up the stairs, not nearly as often as i'd like, but more than never which is amazing.

I need to thank my friend K (and her children) who helped pack the old house, helped move everything across and then went back the following day and scrubbed the whole place from top to bottom (a kindness which cost her - exposure to the mould and her allergies left her ill for over a fortnight). I have to thank T and his dad who did the heavy work and who, without the use of their vans, we would still be ferrying items on the bus.
 Also i have to thank all of you guys. Anyone who rt'd my original mould post, who read, donated, tweeted, all of you have had a hand in this massive improvement to our lives.
 And not forgetting my twitter friends, you know who you are and i hope you know how loved and appreciated you are by me, without your support, understanding and crazy senses of humour i would never have managed to stay as sane as i am (that is meant to be a compliment).

I owe you all an apology too. As well as being crazy busy trying to settle in here, find a routine and get used to the area i have allowed myself to be chased away from posting by trolls. Anonymous trolls don't bother me, i can ignore them. But these trolls are people i once would have called my friends. People who turned their backs on me when i became disabled, who left me stranded in an abusive relationship, knowing i was housebound, and worse went on to believe the lies that were being perpetuated about me.
 At first i deleted the comments. Then i worried - did it look like i was trying to hide something? Any reply i wrote just seemed to sound like excuses. It got to the point where i couldn't check my blog email for fear of a disqus notification. I'm not exaggerating here either; thudding racing heart, sick feeling in my stomach, shaking. These people have hurt me deeply, i would have liked to believe they knew me well enough to see that i am an honest person. I would have liked to believe they had the intelligence to question the lies they were pedalled (though i have to admit the liar was, and is, very convincing).

 Well stuff them. I am sorry they cannot find it in their hearts to be happy when somebodies circumstances are given a lift to help them out of the mire. I am very sorry that they don't have the intelligence to question the source of their 'information' (and i use the term in the loosest possible sense). But i will not be chased away. I have done nothing to be ashamed of, told no lies. I was offered help and i took it, not for myself but for my children. Who can honestly say they wouldn't do the same?