Halloween doesn’t mean a free pass to discriminate!

This is not a regular post it’s just a quick note to say even though it is Halloween today and it’s about trick or treating. Just remember your Halloween costume, fun and antics doesn’t need to offend anyone or come at the expensive of a disabled person. Disabled people are just ordinary people just like anyone else! Enjoy Halloween and bonfire night but stay safe and remember to include everyone and experience the next few days with a loving and kind heart!

New post coming soon!

Brightsidebecs x


The Dreaded D word!

My title might be curious to some people, but the dreaded “D” word in this case is indeed Diet! I can sense readers thinking not another blog posts about diets, there is thousands, I agree. But for a disabled person keeping a healthy weight, particularly for people in a wheelchair can be extremely difficult. From my own experiences I can eat unhealthy for two days and feel like I’m already putting weight on. Nightmare! Being disabled can mean you are less active due to having to ‘sit on your arse all day’ as everyone knows the less active you are the slower it takes to burn calories. It’s not rocket science to see the common sense but never the less that sense leaves me when chocolate appears.

Disabled people can and do have physio but not every session is about fat burning. It is more about keeping the muscles as exersized as possible and in some cases the purpose is to teach you how to walk for the first time or to walk again. Some disabled people are very active but you need the resources and sometimes financial support in order to take part in physical therapy or activities, and not every disabled person has this. Being disabled can be very expensive (I’ll go more in detail about this in future posts). Having a disability means that you automatically have to be more health conscious not just to do with weight but the health conditions that we face as individuals, as well as being disabled. For example, asthma, which I am sure added weight as well as little exercise can have a profound effect. I used to love swimming as it gave me full body workout and gave me the ability to “float” weightlessly which was amazing. However some leisure centres have made it hard for me as a disabled person to access the swimming pool because of thier not so disabled pool chairs! Although, don’t let this be a deterrent, there will be plenty of swimming pools across the country and  the world with fabulous resources, I would highly recommend, if possible to give it a go. It’s extremely beneficial. Hydrotherapy is a type of swimming which is very good for disabled people but once again, it does come at a cost. Dieting and keeping healthy can be extremely hard and feel sometimes impossible when you are disabled but keep in mind as long as you eat a good balanced diet you will be feel the benefits. Most importantly love yourself no matter your weight or appearance!

It’s ok to feel blue sometimes!

Being disabled can sometimes be a mixture of feelings and emotions that for some people can change everyday. Society has a big part to play in this in terms of what I have spoken about in previous blogs, stereotyping and disabled access not being as advertised.

I know from personal experience that most of the time my ‘blue’ days come more in the winter due to the snow not allowing me to get on with my everyday life.

Wheels and snow are not friends!

Sometimes people get anxious about leaving the house because they feel like they are going to be stared at or due to their wheelchair or limitations, this is not ok! Society needs to make people feel welcome and teach people that disabled people are no different to able bodied people.

This is one of my purposes for writing my blog in the first place to tell everyone what it really feels like to be disabled! Society is improving and it is a lot better than it used to be however a lot still needs to be done in order to make it more equal. Sometimes people feel blue because they feel like they are failing as they feel it is a constant battle to be seen as everyone else, even though they are in a wheelchair well let me tell you the issues are within themselves not you.

Also feeling down is not failing!!

Sometimes, I myself have felt this way over the years and I have learnt from bitter experiences that sometimes you have to feel these emotions in order to overcome discrimination etc and it makes you stronger as a person! The most important thing to do when you are down or anxious is talk to someone may be a family member or a friend you are not alone and you are certainly not going to get judged! Talking is one of the most powerful tools we have to make change happen! If you are a parent reading this and thinking I don’t want my child to go through this let me tell you it will be ok and that society has vastly improved and it is changing everyday.

My point is, that it is ok to have days where you think why am I disabled or why did that accident happen to me, you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t. Its about making sure that you don’t let limitations stop you in anything you want to do, as anything is possible you just have to rely on a blogger like me who myself lives with a disability to show you that the possibilities are endless even with a disability!

In a future post I will go into what it is like to have a mental illness and a disability and how with strength and perseverance like everything else it can be over come! I know it’s not just disabled people that get down and anxious I know every person on earth has felt it at some point in their lives what ever the issue or reason just know that support is available and with the the right guidance and support there is nothing that can’t be helped or overcome !

Like I said at the beginning it’s ok to be blue sometimes it’s only human nature!

Let’s look at the Brightside!

I know my last few blogs have been a bit negative when I promised that I would show having a disability isn’t a restriction in life. I assure you, it is not. The main reason why I wanted to do a blog was to highlight issues that need to get people talking in order to create change. I think it’s important to raise awareness of the challenges but also the successes of living in modern society for people with disabilities. All the issue and barriers talked about in my previous blogs can be overcome, no doubt! I have overcome so many as will you, your family and friends.

Let me tell you a bit about myself and some of the challenges I have faced, not only faced but overcome with great satisfaction and pleasure.  I’m a wheelchair user and have been for most of my childhood and all through my adult years (so far). I attended mainstream schools and for people that don’t know, mainstream schools are predominantly able-bodied kids! But you know what, they adapted certain areas of the school for my needs and I had some of the best years and friends from them years. I have done most things that children do. Granted I didn’t run around playing football or sports as such, but my friends and school peers made sure I was included. I have a bachelor’s degree which I worked very hard for, but bloody succeeded!  I have been to music festivals, Leeds fest included, mud in wheels to prove it. I have seen most bands and artists. Ive traveled to some amazing parts of America, Florida and New York (twice). I had the great pleasure in participating in the fundraising colour run (a must do). During the run my wheel came off my manual wheelchair and my crazy friends and I continued with the run (paint in my pants to prove it) Don’t be surprised by my adventures and accomplishments because I know so many people with varied disabilities that have accomplished just as much! It’s about persistence and getting the job done, whatever the cost. The feeling of accomplishment is worth it’s weight in gold! If you think that is mad, it gets crazier guys! I’ve done an indoor skydive and one of my next goals is to do an actual skydive (it’s on the cards guys).

My point is to show you that even the impossible is possible all it takes is persistence and faith, no matter what life throws at you. Anything you desire is achievable, doesn’t matter how you get there or how long, it’s do-able. I myself have obstacles to overcome which I will share as they arise but I really mean this, anything can be overcome with the right information and direction. You will get out of the spaghetti junction of not knowing what and which way to turn, I promise.

Ramp is the word!

Does the building or event have disabled access? Or what does disabled access mean to you? These two questions may seem easy enough to answer, right? Well, you would be mistaken. Unless you are around people with a disability or work in this particular sector then people don’t fully understand the questions, here’s why! An able bodied person will walk up steps or a curb a good few times a day, without even realising it because it is a simple thing to do without much thought. You’ve probably just read that and thought Yeah, I don’t give it much thought. Well for a disabled person in a wheelchair or someone with limited mobility, a simple step means “no entry” or that we can’t participate in a social event just because of steps.

Some people think ramps make anywhere disabled friendly.  Disabled access means more than just ramps. “Are the doors wide enough? “ is there a disabled toilet? “Is there enough space? Due to the nature of how things are made,  wheelchairs and other aids such as walking frames are wider, bigger and harder to move in confined spaces. This might be a shocker to people but there are various forms of mobility aids! I know, who knew. You maybe feeling my tone is super patronising, and that this is basic stuff, but I promise you these are the struggles we face. Struggles we sure as hell get around, of course we do but it would extremely helpful if public places (the pub, always the pub) could take into consideration that after I drink my  (5) drink, I’d appreciate access to a toilet! Society just don’t realise as they have no reason to, And that’s not necessarily their fault. It’s through lack of information and education that make us this way. But this is where I come in! I’m here to share the amazing and sometimes not so amazing experiences with you beautiful people.

I have been to many places, some well known restaurant chains where there has been a step up to an advertised “disabled toilet” I’ve even had to sit on the tolilet while my wheelchair is taken out as there is no room for my career. How undignified is that? Now I understand if it is a listed building or a very old building,  access is just not phisically possible, however it is law that everywhere now has disabled access wherever possible especially new buildings.

I’ve been to a well known event premises that has been built in the last five years and there is only one lift to accommodate over 100 disabled people! How does that add up? It just seems that disabled people are sometimes last on the list when it comes to making provisions about access.

I will keep on and on about how disabled people are just like everyone else, we should be able to go about our business and participate in everything that we want to, we should definitely be able to access public toilets with ease.

Disabled access means more than just ramps, it does require more resources, however let’s make it fair for everyone! Let’s make this basic requirement something which isn’t even an issue anymore. We will make change, that’s a promise.

Say no to the stereotyper!

One of my personal bug bears as a disabled person is being automatically put in a “stereotype box”. What I mean is, as soon as somebody meets me for the first time (at least 80% of people) they unknowingly fall into their own stereotype. The bending down talking to you real slow is a good one.  “Aaarrre- youuu- oookkkk” I hear, with my completely functioning face. My personal favourite is the high volumed vocals as they assume you’re deaf! I just laugh to myself thinking, who are you taking to? It’s a toss up between a toddler and my 90 year old neighbour! There literally is no inbetween. Hey, I gotta get my kicks from somewhere, right?

My point is, when a person hears the word “disabled” they think of all the negative connnotations, which might seem trivial to some but it’s important to show the word “disability” in the correct light! Questions wondered tend to be “can they drink alcohol?” “Can they have relationships?” “Will they be able to participate like everybody else?” These are just a few; I could go on all day but then I’d loose readers through boredom because there are so many!

To reassure parents and other readers, I’ll answer the questions. Yes disabled people can drink alcohol (if they are of legal age whether it be 18 or 21) so long as they have full mental capacity to know what they are doing and not on any prescribed medications that don’t permit alcohol. I always say, even though I am disabled I have the same organs and most likely will eventually die just the same as everybody else! Shocker, I know.

Yes disabled people can have relationships and children just like able bodied people. We just require additional support. By this I mean I would need someone to get up and do night feeds (when I’m a parent) every night, that’s all. I’m just kidding- Possibly. We just need support in place so we can live the exact life as an able bodied person.

Another stereotype is if you have a disability, your full brain activity is not that of an able bodied person *cough cough* bachelors degree *cough cough*.  People have a tendency to talk to my careers instead of me because they think I can’t hold a conversation. Disabled people,  me included have the same level of intelligence as the next person! We are underestimated. I say that people with disabilities are intelligent not just by academia but by common sense and are very driven to prove every stereotype and society wrong!

Whatever time a disability enters your world,  whether it be as a child or through an event or situation later in life, just ignore the stereotypes and say, SOD you! For everyone that says you can’t, you tell them “yes I can and yes I will”. Do it bigger,  better! If you are a parent of a disabled child, my best suggestion would be do what my parents did and bring them up as able bodied as possible, meaning obviously make adaptations wherever is required but in their behaviour and personality. Bring them up as you originally planned when you thought they were going to be able bodied so that they will grow up as I have.  Let’s prove these stereotype wrong and achieve everything we want and more!

Here is the start of the light at the end of that never ending tunnel!

The concept and idea behind this blog might have curious parents or caregivers thinking, how the hell would a random blogger without children even begin to understand the constant and sometimes (I’m sure) lonely worries of being a parent, let alone a parent with a child who has additional needs? Well, I don’t blame you! As someone that questions everything, I would question me too! But I assure you, this is not my intention with this blog. Yes I’m not a parent (particularly a parent with a child/children with a disability), however I did used to be that child. A child that had additional needs and through the years myself and my family had to adapt to everything that comes with having a disability.

I’m here purposely to show that no matter how many meetings, obstacles or challenges there are, a disability does not mean that life is going to be unfulfilled and that a child will not carry out their dreams and hopes successfully for their future. I am living proof that goals and desires most certainly can be achieved. We are not doomed to a life sentence that some narrow minded people in society think. No! A disabled person can do everything and anything that an able bodied person can do, all that is needed is guidance and a push in the right direction. This is where I come in; I will share some of my personal experiences and give information that my family and I wish we would of had access to when I was growing up. Not just a couple of leaflets handed to you, or “try reading up some information” but real life experience, real life assurance! Does not matter your status or situation, whether you are a new parent or a parent that has just been given what seems like earth shattering news that a “disability” has entered your world. You might have recently become disabled through a life changing event or incident. You might just be bored and accidentally come across my blog and decide to have a nosey at yet another “how to be a successful person in life” blog. Whatever your reason for coming, just know that even though in this moment, it might not seem it but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel and excuse the pun but there is a always a “bright side to everything and I am here to help you see it!

Bye for now…