I am a semi-professional blogger who writes about the ups and downs of living with a debilitating chronic illness in Diary of a Disabled Person. I’ve discussed the seemingly minor inconveniences that actually cause disabled people, and in particular wheelchair users, a lot of difficulties such as misusing facilities or blocking accessible routes. I’ve also talked about some of the little perks that come with using a wheelchair, such as shoes never wearing out, and getting to watch movies targeted at children in the cinema without being judged.
I would like to think I give my disabled readers relate-able content and perhaps even a little inspiration to do as much as they can with their lives, but my main reason for starting Diary of a Disabled People was to educate able-bodied people who haven’t encountered disability. I want to show people what life actually looks like from my perspective, and to teach them how they can help support disabled people to live their best lives.
Most of all, I just want people to enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy writing it!
2: What is your biggest life lesson?
I contracted viral meningitis at age 14 which eventually developed into Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E, a.k.a. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/CFS) so severe that I ended up using a powered wheelchair every time I left the home. As a previously healthy kid with almost no experience of severe illness, it came as a real shock to the system and completely out of the blue. It made me re-prioritise parts of my life as suddenly I didn’t have the energy to do everything I wanted to. It made me work harder to prove that I was never a pity-case in terms of education and employment. It made me realise what friendship really is. It also made me realise that low-level ableism is a real-world problem that still exists today, and that up until I had to learn from experience, I was part of the problem.
3: What is your biggest achievement?
I’m pretty proud of my first class honours degree in BSc Nutrition, obtained from one of the top universities in the country and in the world. I lived independently of my parents for the majority of my time at university, and to get through my degree despite being ill, including one very serious occasion when I needed emergency surgery, was a pretty big deal.
I think though, that perhaps setting up my blog as a life-long aspiring writer, and maintaining it, is pretty special too. It took a lot of encouragement and support from others to give me the confidence needed to put pen to paper and let people see it.
4: How people can get in contact with you?
My blog can be found at www.diaryofadisabledperson.blog, or simply by searching for Diary of a Disabled Person in Google. You can leave comments at the end of each blog post, or there is a contact form on the website that sends me an email with your message.
There is also a Diary of a Disabled Person Facebook page and group where I share interesting bits of disability news and post photos of my day-to-day activities, and you can use the messenger on their to get in touch.
You can also find me on Twitter @WheelsofSteer. I respond to most direct messages pretty quickly, and I a lot of conversations on Twitter.
Don’t be shy about contacting me; I love receiving feedback and I always try to reply!