Please do not say you will pray for me

Religion is fascinating; in school it was one of my favourite subjects.  I tried the going to church thing and having faith, but it never worked for me.  I respect other people’s right to religion and have no problem with them having faith, but they should in turn respect my right to not be religious.

I have come across a few religious people who seem to assume other people are also religious without even asking them.  As a disabled person I have had others say they will pray for me more than once.  They seem to think I should be grateful for this, while I Know they mean well please do not expect me to thank you for it.  I am not religious therefore have no belief in the power of prayer.  Even the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and his disabled daughters are not keen on Christians who say they will pray for you.  Kathrine Welby who has mental health issues said in a recent interview ‘I think with mental health, as with any disability, if your first response is, ‘Can I pray for your healing?’ then you’re not listening. Because actually: A, you don’t need to say to someone you’re praying for their healing for God to be able to work; God’s bigger than that; and B, it really shuts down the conversation,’ (www.christiantoday.com).  I agree that it does shut down a conversation; it can be like saying I will pray for you as I actually do not want to have to listen to what really wrong with you and help you in a practical way, even if that is not what they mean by it, that is how it can come across sometimes.  If they say they will pray for you and offer practical support then that is far better.

Some religious people believe the power of prayer will heal the disabled and sick.  Telling a disabled person God will cure them if they have enough faith and pray hard enough is wrong.  It is cruel to those who do have faith; it could make them feel as if God no longer loves them and has abandoned them when they are not cured.  It could also lead to them doubting their faith, which may not help their mental health.

Then there are places like Lourdes which claim to cure people by taking the waters, by either bathing in it or drinking it.  While I think they are in themselves not that bad, a lot of people visit just as curious tourists and not for any kind of cure, it is a fine line between that and exploiting the vulnerable.  I am sure some genuinely believe the water can cure, but we have to be careful what we tell vulnerable people.

Another thing I dislike is when being disabled makes me seen as an easy target for religious people to indoctrinate me into their faith.  It does not happen often to me, but when it does I hate it.  No I will not unquestioningly follow what you tell me.  In fact I think one of the reasons when I went to church and tried having faith it did not work for me was being autistic I over think things and think too logically.  I thought about what was being said in church and probably took what they said far too literally.  For me religion made no logical sense.   I think rather than making me easier to convert my condition made it harder.

I run a Facebook page connected with my hip issue.  I once had someone on the page talking about how God cured them as a child when someone brought in a sacred object to the hospital and passed it around for all the children on the ward to touch.  It was a piece of cloth, supposedly worn by a saint.  Whether or not it was a genuine relic, I had to explain that the hip does often grow back to normal and correct itself for some people who have the disease very young.  It did not matter the medical facts, she swore blind it passed the healing power of God onto her.  What worried me was how someone was allowed onto a children’s hospital ward, claiming to cure vulnerable people in that way.  I looked up the famous cloth online, if anything it was likely to do more harm than good, it was a filthy rag.

In some cases I think religion may help someone with an illness or disability in so much as attitude and ‘mind over matter’ giving them faith in themselves.  Praying may aid some people’s recovery giving them the boast they need.  It is the claim it cures anything that is wrong, it should be seen as more of an aid alongside other treatments.

I sometimes wish I did have a religious faith as it could make the really low points less awful and help, but I tried and it just did not work for me.  I will always stand up for others right to religion and for religious tolerance, but I will not stand up for people who take advantage of vulnerable people or insist that I must be religious also.

Recently online someone who is religious told me there is a difference between believing in a god and blindly following a religion to the point you do more harm than good.  This is exactly my point.

 

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/why-the-archbishop-of-canterbury-doesnt-pray-for-his-daughters-disability-to-be-healed

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Medication

I have been on Paroxetine (often known as the brand name Seroxat) since I was thirteen, that is over nineteen years! I was put on it by my childhood psychologist for OCD. At the time I was pretty desperate for help so more than willing to try it. Slowly the dose was increased and I felt it was helping a little. However the pills only seemed to help short term. By the time I realised they were no longer helping the OCD it was too late, I was dependent on them.

Aged sixteen I was dropped from the children’s mental health services with no referral to adult services. This resulted in my medication not being properly reviewed ever since. I am supposed to have an annual review of my medication, but this seems to result in little more than asking me if am suicidal, if I still take them daily without forgetting and that is about it. When I was having a better period with my OCD my GP reduced the dose, then when my OCD was having a worse period they upped the dose again. This seemed to make no difference to my OCD at all.

I once ran out of pills for several days when at university (first time I was totally responsible by myself for my medication) and I felt very ill. I had a headache, felt sick, dizzy, saw coloured spots on and off in front of my eyes and functioning was tricky. I got more pills and within less than twenty-four hours felt a lot better. This proved that I clearly was dependent on the medication.

I have talked to more than one doctor about coming off the pills, but have been told they are one of the hardest of their type to ever come off, especially after so long. They are part of the Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) group, most often known for being anti-depressants. I am on the lowest dose possible now that I can be without any withdrawal symptoms which means that they should be having a less negative impact on me than they once were. However I still wonder if they are having any negative side-effects on me or if they did when I was on a higher dose. Having been on them so long though I am not sure what is down to the medication and what is not. One of the side effects listed for Paroxetine is insomnia. Ever since I was a teenager I have had issues with my sleep. Drowsiness another possible side effect is also an issue for me quite often. I used to put this down to the strong pain medication I was on for my hip pain, but since I came off them after my hip replacement I am still pretty drowsy a lot of the time.

In the UK SSRIs are no longer given to people under eighteen except in very rare cases. The NHS say this is due to concerns that the use of SSRIs could affect brain development in children. Also there is an increased risk in self-harm in the under eighteens taking it, although mostly in people taking it for depression. They also say pregnant women should not take it. Although I have no plans to have a child right now, what if I ever do? Coming off the medication would be extremely hard.

I have resigned myself to the fact I may well be on a low dose of Paroxetine for the rest of my life. I have no idea what effect that will have on me long term, if any.

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Plastic Free, A Trend?

Within the space of the last couple of years or so we seem to have gone from not caring about how much plastic we use, to having a nationwide campaign to reduce plastic use. The plastic campaign really seemed to get going after an episode of David Attenborough’s Blue Planet aired. It showed what happens when plastic washes out to sea. Footage of vast swaths of plastic rubbish floating around our oceans and sea creatures dying from it shocked and appalled people. Then the BBC One Show picked up on this and ran with it, starting a campaign to educate the British public on plastic and the environment. With tips on reducing plastic use, starting campaigns to get businesses to use less plastic and basically everything they could think of on the subject.

I have always been a keen recycler. I have been sorting my rubbish and recycling for my council curb side collection for years. I reuse things were possible, it saves money as well as the environment. So I was pleased when the issue started to be talked about far more by the media and public alike. However I soon started to notice that a lot of the anti-plastic talk came from a rather middle class, wealthier part of society. Not everyone trying to reduce plastic is middle class, far from it, but a lot of the ideas to reduce it seem only wealthier people’s options, such as the idea to bring back milkmen. The idea of reusable glass bottles is great, but a milkman is expensive compared to milk from the shops. Until enough people in the same area order milk from a milkman to bring delivery costs down some people will not have the budget for it. I can’t see in social-housing that many people will be having a milkman anytime soon on my estate.

What would help would be if the council could enforce curb side recycling. I noticed that a lot of my neighbours do not sort their rubbish at all. In a block of eight flats only two of us regularly seem to put recycling out, and the rest of the street does not appear to be much better. Not only is this bad for the environment, it means we often end up with overflowing black bins and litter outside the flats. I have asked my local council about this and they said they can send letters and leaflets about recycling, but they can only suggest people do it and not enforce it.

The big trend for businesses is to go plastic straw free. I get why this is a good idea, straws can be easily missed by sewage plant filters and litter the ocean killing some animals who swallow a lot of them. However being the skeptic that I am I wonder how many business are doing this for the environment and how many are doing it as a marketing opportunity. I have seen quite a few Facebook adverts and articles that smack of ‘look at us, we stopped using plastic straws aren’t we wonderful, we are a lovely caring company, now come and spend your money with us’. I am sure some companies are genuine, but how many hide behind the no plastic straws thing and are still using far too much plastic in other ways?

Something we could all do is stop drinking bottled water, especially when at home. I live in Devon, one of the softest water areas in the country, known for our nice water by people who live elsewhere, but even here I know people who drink bottled water. I do occasionally buy bottled water when out if I forget to take a drink with me or do not realise I will need one, but I try to reuse the bottle again filling it with water when I am going on a longer outing to take with me. A lot of cafes are more than happy to refill your bottle for you with tap water for free. Reusing plastic is a great way to reduce waste, and it can save you money.

What we have to be careful of is judging others on their plastic use when they have no choice but to use it. I live in a small town and sometimes you simply have to buy plastic as it is the only option in town. Also on a budget I can not always afford to pay a lot more for something simply to get a plastic fee version. I am happy to pay a few pence more, but not a significant amount. We need more plastic free options at affordable prices.

Whilst using less plastic people need to remember to do other things for the environment. For example people could use public transport when possible instead of driving everywhere or car share. Try not to waste so much food, I see a lot of wasted food in my block of flats bin area, food that is not even put in the compost waste caddy for collection. Is plastic just the latest environmentalism trend? Is this a middle class fad that will soon peter out when the next environmental issue takes hold? I really hope not, I hope this leads to long term cultural changes, but we will see.

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Faux pas and other social issues

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I often seem to say the wrong thing or too much.  Put my foot in it you might say.  Sometimes everyone does this, but I find myself doing this rather a lot.  Part of the reason could be my autism, but I am not always able to tell what is due to my autism and what is a mistake most people could make.

I am told I can be very blunt, meaning I simply say what I think without social niceties.  I do not see why I should not say things as they are; it seems pointless to pretend otherwise to me.  Although obviously even I can tell certain situations require subtlety.  I can often tell when others are using social niceties and most of the time I do not mind, but sometimes I would prefer a straight answer.  I think people can mistake my bluntness for deliberate rudeness which can be annoying.  I tend to get this from people who know me less well.

I am also told I talk way too much at times.  There are times I could of stopped talking about an issue a few sentences back and may have gotten away with not saying the wrong thing if I had stopped talking about it sooner.  However I can struggle to tell if I am over discussing a topic sometimes.  I may also bore people with my long rambles on an issue they are not so interested in.  I have this urge to get all my thoughts out on a topic to someone at times.  I feel like I may burst if I do not say it.  Part of it could be I over think a lot of things to the point my mind feels full and I simply have to unload.  A bit like some of my blog posts I suppose.  I do find writing about a topic helpful.

I find certain social situations harder than others to know what or how much I should say.  I find situations I have experienced less often harder.  Practise has helped me get better in a lot of situations.  I think I am getting better at chatting in pubs, cafes and at family dinners, although not always exactly getting it right.  I find certain people easier to chat with as I know what I can get away with saying with them.  Family members and friends I see more regularly are easier on the whole, but people I see less often and new folk can be harder.  I often end up being way too blunt for them or talking so much they get annoyed or walk away.

Social media is often easier for me.  I enjoy chatting online, but sarcastic comments can be lost on me, although I get the very obvious ones.  Without facial expression or voice tone sarcasm can be tricky for anyone.  I also find some people who do not know me can be offended by my comments.  Bluntness strikes again!  I try to make my comments not appear rude, but now and then some people just take them the wrong way.  In these situations I often stop responding to them as it is not worth an argument.  Although I have occasionally purposefully been rude back to show them that their comments are wrong or unhelpful or just me getting annoyed, then I step away from it.  I have found that turning off comment notifications can be helpful.

I try to remember to think before I speak in certain situations.  However I find this tricky when I get onto certain topics I am very passionate about or in a heated debate.  I guess that this could be common for a lot of people though when things get heated people say things in the moment.

Another thing that has been pointed out to me is that my voice can get monotonous, although I like to think my background in drama has helped make it less so over the years.  I certainly think my speech was less varied as a child, which must have become tedious to listen to after a while for some people.  I can become monotonous again now when rambling, but having been made aware I do this I often try to not allow it to happen too much.  In drama classes we learnt about inflection and emphasizing certain words which was useful for me.  I feel drama has a lot skills high functioning autistics could find helpful and taking a few classes would be beneficial for a lot of autistic people.

What I find annoying is when people stereotype how they think I will be in social situations.  Firstly I actually enjoy socialising which surprises some people who think autistics all enjoy being left alone on their own all the time.  Sure I need alone time, everyone does, but too much alone time makes me feel lonely.  Plus my OCD and other anxieties can get worse if I spend too long alone with my own thoughts.  Secondly I do go to pubs and drink alcohol.  (OK I spent nine months last year t-total, but that was not me avoiding alcohol for autistic reasons, that was a whole other thing you can read about in a previous post should you wish.)  I am not a heavy drinker and can go for weeks at a time not drinking, but I have been drunk before more than once and may well be drunk again.  There is often an assumption that autistics cannot stand booze and find pubs too noisy, which although often true, is not always the case.  I have heard that autistic people have no sense of humour.  Wrong!  I do take a lot of things more seriously than some people, maybe too seriously at times, but I certainly enjoy a laugh.  Not only do I like many sit-coms, comedy films and stand –up comedians, I can enjoy laughing in a social setting with friends.  I can see the funny side of drunken mishaps and can laugh when friends recount amusing stories.  As for the autistic people are introvert and quite thing and do not talk unless directly spoken to or even are totally mute, well this could not be further from the truth in my case.  As I wrote earlier I am more likely to over talk and say too much.  Also I will talk to people who have not directly spoken specifically to me, but more generally to everyone in a room.

Autism is not an excuse to be deliberately rude to someone and it is not an excuse to take over a conversation and have the most say about an issue, but it can mean someone may not know they are doing this.  Sometimes it helps if other people around them give them some understanding and do not just assume they are being rude.  It can help if people point out what they are doing, although with tact and quietly not in front of everyone, if an appropriate moment comes up to do so

 

Why did I even bother to be diagnosed at all?

I was diagnosed as Aspergers Autistic aged thirty-one. A few people asked my why I needed or wanted to be diagnosed at that age, what difference could it make to my life now I had already got that far into adulthood? Well…

It was a relief to have the diagnosis. I had suspected I was autistic for some years and my mum had been reading up on it when I was a teenager. She knew there was something different with my brain, I was just so unlike others. Having suspected it for years it confirmed things for me and my family. It proves what I thought about myself which was I can not help being the way that I am sometimes. Also confirming the type of autism gave me a clearer idea of things.

Having an explanation for being slightly different or awkward really helps at times. I have been called selfish, attention seeking and rude by numerous people over the years when I am actually trying my hardest to fit in and do not mean to appear that way at all. Even worse is when people accuse me of these things when I am really struggling and having a melt down. Saying such things will often just prolong the melt down or makes me more likely to have another one. At least now I can say I am autistic and am trying my best, please try to be understanding. Being autistic is not an excuse to get your own way or to knowingly be rude to someone, but when I do not mean to be it helps to explain things to people. If someone then says I can not possibly be autistic, as has happened in the past, I can now say I have been officially diagnosed by professionals.

Being diagnosed officially helps when claiming benefits. Getting Employment Support Allowance and other benefits is often hard and saying you suspect you have a condition does not count, you need a professional diagnosis in your notes. Last time I was assessed it was tricky to prove my need for ESA when I was yet to be tested for autism. I had a support worker who stood up for me which helped a great deal, but I no longer have a support worker so if my claim comes up for assessment again I will need this diagnosis more than ever.

I now feel more justified spending time researching Aspergers and autism. I can find other people with autism who I can identify with at least in part and say me too, helping me feel less of an outsider.

If you spent your entire childhood and youth feeling different and like you did not fit in would you not want to confirm why this was? For my own peace of mind I needed to know for sure.

The person behind the blog

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I thought it would be good to share more about me and my personality so you can get to know the person behind the blog. These are words and phrases I associate with myself.

  • Total Hip Replacement/ Perthes Disease– As of August 2011 I have had a false left hip, done aged 25, made of plastic and ceramic with a metal stem. I had it done due to osteoarthritis in the hip brought on early by childhood hip issue Perrthes Disease.

  • OCD– Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, diagnosed aged twelve.

  • Autism/ Aspergers– I was diagnosed aged thirty-one, but have suspected I have it for years.

  • Disabled- I am less physically disabled now than I used to be thanks to my hip replacement, but know that it will not last for ever. Also my mental health can make me feel somewhat disabled at times. Autism is not a disability as such if you see it as just a different way of thinking, but it is often classed as one such as when applying for benefits or educational support.

  • Social Housing– I live in social housing,which is what used to be known as council housing in the UK, but now run by different housing associations. I have been living in my one bed flat since Easter 2016 and I really like it.

  • Benefits– I receive government benefits. Currently I get Employment Support Allowance as for various mental health reasons I can not work full time right now. I also get housing benefit to help with my rent. I have in the past had Disability Living Allowance, now changed to Personal Independents Payments, but I am not eligible for it at this current time.

  • Volunteer– I have been volunteering for various local charities and good causes since I was seventeen. It helps me to get out more, make friends, learn work related skills and add to my CV. I currently help a community craft shop, do administration work for my local community centre and help another charity run their Facebook page.

  • Drama Degree– I graduated the University of Lincoln with a BA (Hons) Drama degree in 2011. I really enjoyed my three years there.

  • Sister/ Aunt– I have one older brother and am an aunt to his two children, a nephew and a niece. I love being an aunt.

  • Devon– My home county where I lived all of my life, apart from time away for university.

  • Crafting– I have been making cards to send people for years. I now also make small things to sell under the name The Gothic Butterfly. I have a small shelf in a local craft shop and a Facebook page. I decorate gift boxes and bags, make gift tags, book marks and other small objects.

  • Colouring- Now it is very popular to do adult colouring, but I was doing it before it was so easy to even get adult colouring books. I find it helps me to relax and distracts me from my anxiety.

  • Theatre– A life long love of mine is going to the theatre to see many kinds of performances. I love musicals, plays, ballet and modern dance. I also enjoy some opera and stand up comedy, although I am a bit more fussy about which of these I would go to see.

  • Pub Quizzes– I enjoy going to various pub quizzes regularly with a group of my friends. Not only is it fun to take part and test out how much general knowledge I have, it is a good way to socialise.

  • Writer– I have always enjoyed writing and have had good feedback for my writing more so than anything else in my life. As well as this blog, I write a daily diary which I helpful to explore my thoughts and feelings. Writing for me can be kind of therapy. I also have pen pals around he world I write letters to.

  • Internet– I love the internet, it is somewhat of an addiction for me I admit, but it has been such a help to me during low periods of my life I do not care. Social media is for me a tool that I can use to express myself and keep in touch with friends which as an autistic person I always find quite tricky. I mainly use Facebook, but I also occasionally use Instergram for photo sharing. I obviously use the internet to share this blog and like most people use email. I also use the internet for a variety of other functions which I have written about before in a previous post.

  • Cafes/ Coffee Shops– I really like to drink coffee and hang out in coffee shops. Although I do go to pubs sometimes, I tend to spend more money and time in cafes. I often get quite tired from my mental and physical health issues, cafes are a good place to go and recharge my batteries when out. I like the relaxed, often friendly atmosphere of a cafe. I also really like coffee and cake.

  • Television– I watch a lot of TV. I find it helps with my mental health to distract me from my own anxious thoughts and not over think negativity about things in my life. I also really enjoy certain programs. I really like Call the Midwife and Doctor Who. I like some documentaries and have learnt a lot from watching many on the BBC. I also like some sitcoms and animated comedy such as American Dad.

  • Music– I enjoy listening to music a great deal. My favourite bands are The Rasmus, a Finnish rock band and Train, American soft rock. I enjoy the music of old bands such as Pink Floyd, the Kinks and the Mamas and the Papas. I like a lot of funk music from the 1970s and 80s. I like a lot of musicals show tunes. Also when in certain moods I enjoy classical music.

  • Cheese– A life long love of mine is cheese, I even ate strong blue cheese as a small child. I am yet to find a cheese I do not like (apart from goats cheese, which has an after taste I dislike).

  • Dark Purple– This has been a colour I have been drawn to all of my life. I like it in nature, in things that I wear and around my flat. I am not sure why this is, but I remember liking purple things from a very young age.

Writing this you would think would of been easy, but it was harder than I thought it would be.  I had to work out how much I wanted to reveal about myself and what things I even do associate with myself.  Other people may associate different things with me, but this is how I see myself.

Common Sense and Respect for the Disabled Please

This is a rant, a rant about things disabled people hate, at least some disabled people. Not everything on the list will affect all disabled people and these are just what I have experienced and observed.

People who judge others for using disabled facilities such as toilets and parking spaces without knowing them. I used to have a disabled parking badge due to not being able to walk very far without getting tired or in pain, but I did not always use a walking aid. Sometimes people would stare at me as if to say, why have you got a badge when you can walk. I got the same look sometimes when I would come out of a disabled toilet. They did not know me or my situation and it was none of their business why I needed to use disabled facilities, but even a look can make you feel judged. I have heard stories of people getting notes left on their cars for parking in disabled spots being accused of using someone else’s badge when it was their own!

Bus drivers who refuse to let a disabled person on as it would mean them having to get up to get the ramp out or having to ask someone with a push chair to fold it and move seats. The space at the front of a bus is not for a pushchair, the signs clearly state it is a disabled space, yet some drivers do not seem to enforce this. Bus drivers who refuse a disabled person are discriminating against them. A recent court case that went all the way to the Supreme Court found in favor of the disabled claimant in that ‘the court said the company should consider further steps to persuade non-wheelchair users to move, without making it a legal duty to move them,’ (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38663322). So it is an ongoing battle with some drivers to get a space on a bus.

When a disabled toilet is used as a storage area or left out of order for a long time. Sometimes it feels like the disabled toilet is only there as a legal requirement and the company do not actually care if you can use it or not. For example a pub near me uses their disabled toilet to store things. You can still technically use the toilet, but the rails are blocked by things, and a lot of disabled people need the rails. My local supermarket has had an out of order disabled toilet for about a month now. Businesses are being short sighted when it comes to disabled toilets sometimes as it could lose them business. For example when I am on a night out with some of my friends, some of them are very disabled and we would choose to not go to a bar that we knew had bad disabled facilities. This would mean them losing out on not only the disabled persons custom but all their friends custom as well.

Shops that give little or no thought to disabled customers. Really heavy doors can be a  problem. When I was on crutches I used to use my body to push the door open, but with heavier doors this was tricky. For those with arthritic hands and wrists heavy doors can be impossible. Automatic doors are better for disabled customers, or at least a lighter door. Then once inside the shop the lack of space between rails or shelving can be an issue. Some clothing shops have over full rails that are too closely packed for a wheelchair user to get past. I used to knock things off sometimes in crutches if I was not careful. I have noticed that some shops have too much stock piled up on the floor between shelving units which can mean no space for a wheelchair or walking frame to turn around. Without the space to move disabled customers will shop elsewhere.

Poorly maintained pavements and walkways. Loose paving slabs and crumbling tarmac can be a trip hazard for anyone, but even more so for those with walking aids. I used to trip up on loose slabs when I was on crutches and this could hurt my hip quite a lot. People in wheelchairs can fall out of their chair if the wheels get caught up on loose slabs or in pot holes.

Dog waste and rubbish left on pavements and paths. It is unpleasant for anyone to have to smell and see, but for the disabled it can be very annoying. Dog waste can get on the wheels of someone’s chair and it can mean dragging it around. It is not always easy to see the ground right in front of your wheels to know to avoid it. Blind people also have obvious problems with dog waste since they cannot see it to walk around it. Rubbish can also be a problem since it can get caught up the wheels of a chair and then cause the chair to not move smoothly. I have noticed a significant increase in both dog waste and litter in the last few years and this shows a lack of respect for both other people and the environment.

People who park in front of drop down curbs on pavements or park on the pavement. A disabled person may not be able to cross the road without a drop down curb and may have to go an awful long way to find the next one, which could take them a long way out of where they want to be. There is a convince store in my town that people often park outside to pop in quickly, but they often park in front of the drop down curb. They often say they will not be very long, but what If the queue is long or they get distracted by something else? Parking on the pavement is just as bad as it means a disabled person may not be able to get passed. Often this means a disabled person will have to go back on themselves for ages and divert a long way round or simply not be able to get where they want to go. I have often had to walk into the road to get around a car and some disabled people simply cannot do that.

People who talk for you or to your companion about you when you are right next to them. This seems to happen especially to those in a wheelchair, it is as if because your legs do not work nor can your mind to talk properly. This is patronising and rude. When I was younger if this happened when I was with my parents I would just start talking anyway and join in showing them I was more than capable of talking for myself, in fact they might have more trouble getting me to be quite! Sure some people do have learning difficulties that come with a physical disability, but even then it still does not mean they cannot talk for themselves in most cases.

Poorly designed disabled toilets. Not all disabled people are in wheelchairs and want the sink low, in fact after my hip surgery I needed the sink not to be low as I could not bend far, but needed the rails and raised seat of a disabled toilet. Some disabled toilets are far too small for the needs of some disabled people who may need a carer to come in with them as well as space for a wheelchair or walker. A lot of disabled toilets also seem to lack a mirror which assumes disabled people do not care what they look like, which is wrong, disabled people are just as likely to want to check their make up or hair as everyone else.

People who say ‘you’re doing so well considering’ or call disabled people brave. They are very patronising things to say.  How do you know I am doing well? For all you know I am having a really bad day and on a good day you would not even notice I was disabled. How is it brave that I left the house and got on with my life? What am I supposed to do sit at home and rot? I cannot live my life not disabled so I just get on with it the best that I can.

Being accused of being a benefit scrounger. This is the big one that all disabled people hate. The media often make it seem like an awful lot more people are scamming the benefits system than actually are. The vast majority on benefits are on them legally with a good reason. Most people would not choose to be on benefits if they could help it. Having to prove yourself as ill and jump through the hoops they require to get them would put most cheats off. Being on benefits does not make me lazy or pathetic. You should never judge someone for being on benefits or any kind of welfare without knowing the full facts.

Disabled people are on the whole sensible and understand that sometimes some of these things cannot be helped under certain circumstances. What we ask for is to not let these things be issues when they do not have to be. A bit of common sense and respect is all disabled people want. Disabled people can be an active part of society, if society lets them.