Am I Disabled?

Am I Disabled?

Being able-bodied and minded is something I think most of us take for granted until it impacts us in some way. I’ll admit it wasn’t something I thought much about myself until my accident. There’s a grey area though when your life changes in a physical or mental way that – at what point are you disabled? Who decides?

I (wrongly) thought that you had to be recieving some kind of disability assistance to be classed as disabled, however Citizens Advice states that:

“The definition is set out in section 6 of the Equality Act 2010. It says you’re disabled if:

  • you have a physical or mental impairment
  • that impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities

I have a long term condition that impacts most of my life. At my worst I struggle to move, to walk, have bad fatigue and am in so much pain I can’t concentrate on anything else. I’m not looking for sympathy that’s just the way it is sometimes. It meant I had to change a lot of things and reconsider how I was going to live the life I wanted to live with certain limitations.

Disabled is such a loaded word. We’ve been shown certain images of what disabled looks like – even if, slowly, we are becoming more educated about invisible illnesses but we’re not quite there yet. People still eye me when I sit in a seat for those who need it if I don’t have my walking stick. There have been times that I’ve taken my stick when I’m feeling ok just so I don’t get dirty look.

To me, I am disabled and I refuse to be ashamed of that. I still feel strange saying that out loud – I worry about not seeming ‘sick’ enough. I worry that I won’t be taken seriously but I’m working on it. Talking about invisible illness is a great start to making sure more people are heard and understood.

Changing the narrative is something we can all do together. Instead of seeing disabled people as those who are to be pitied or always seen as ‘brave’ for simply doing things anyone else would do. Does it often take more effort? Yes. Is it annoying? Definitely.

I’d love to hear your stories below!

IBS Diagnoses

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As most of you know, since December I’ve had some problems with my health that have kept coming back, it’s not the best time for it to happen especially as it kicked off just before the first lot of my assignments were due. For the past 4 months I’ve continued to have problems and so a load of tests, one IV drip and a lot of medication later, I finally have a diagnosis, IBS, which means irritable bowel syndrome. Basically your insides aren’t very happy and take it out on the way you go to the toilet, which can be incredibly painful and there isn’t really a cure.

So, you might be wondering why I’m sharing my toilet habits with the world, because we shouldn’t be embarrassed. I get it, talking about your bodily functions isn’t always pleasant, especially when it means not being able to leave the toilet for a few day, but it’s actually quite a common problem. I’ve always had these issues, I have been this sick with it since I was at school and there’s a common factor that makes me so poorly, stress. Being in my third year at university has meant I’ve been on high levels of stress since October last year, that much exposure to stress, and some problems in my personal life have made me sick. That  said, now I know what’s going on and I have the right medication to help with my symptoms I should be able to live a relatively active and normal life, as well as knowing when to look after myself.

Like the mental health, IBS is an invisible illness that is very real for the sufferer. So, I’m being honest about it, just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it can’t be crippling. It doesn’t mean that I can’t have a full life, I’ve proven that I already can and now that I have the diagnoses, some medication and the right guidance on how to manage it, I think I’m going to do just fine.