Tag Archives: GuestPost

Is Your Tiredness A Sign Of Something Serious?

Being tired is perfectly normal in some situations. For example, if you’ve been burning the midnight oil to meet a deadline at work and stay up way past your bedtime, it is a given that you will wake up feeling very sleepy the next morning. And you might have to deal with that tiredness throughout the whole day! Similarly, if you are particularly busy or take part in some very strenuous exercise in the morning, then your energy levels will probably drop, and you will feel quite lethargic in the afternoon.

However, if you are constantly tired without any real reason for feeling that way, it could be a sign or symptom of a much more serious condition. Worried that your lethargy and sleepiness could mean you are ill? Read on to find out more!

Young lady lying in bed with white sheets and bedding

Picture Credit

Depression

Tiredness is a symptom of regular depression, and bipolar depression. But what is bipolar depression exactly? It is similar to regular depression and most patients feel the same feelings of sadness and uninterest in the world. However, there are some other symptoms that can help differentiate between these two depressions. For instance, those who are bipolar suffer from mood swings and sometimes even psychosis. If this sounds like you, it is important you see a medical professional very soon.




Anemia

If you feel run down and generally under the weather alongside your tiredness, then the most probable explanation is that you are suffering from anemia. This is when you haven’t been getting enough iron in your diet and end up with a deficiency. It is most common in women, especially those who have been through the menopause. It is easily treated with iron tablets.

Diabetes

There are various symptoms of diabetes, and constant tiredness is one of them. Diabetes occurs when there is too much sugar in the blood or when there is not enough insulin being produced to control blood sugar levels. Other symptoms include a constant feeling of thirst and sudden weight loss.

Glandular Fever

Glandular fever is a viral infection and most commonly seen in young, teenage girls. The main symptoms include a sore throat, swollen glands, and high fever, but most patients also complain about tiredness as well. Even though most of the symptoms will go after four weeks, the tiredness can often affect the sufferer for at least a couple of months.

Coeliac Disease

Some people are unable to eat any form of gluten as they have coeliac disease. When coeliacs accidentally eat some gluten – found in foods such as bread, cereals, and pasta – then their body reacts badly, much like an allergic reaction. Tiredness is one of the most noticeable symptoms, alongside diarrhea and weight loss. There is also often a feeling of discomfort after eating any ingredients that contain traces of gluten.

As you can see, your body might be trying to tell you that your tiredness is a sign of an underlying condition. Think you are suffering from a serious condition? Then it’s a good idea to see your doctor as soon as possible!




Understanding M.e. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis)

Hi, I’m Ellen! Sassy has kindly given me the opportunity to write a bit about ME, (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), and my mum’s experience of suffering from it. I think it is so important to raise awareness and I have included some tips for anyone who wants to help somebody suffering from the illness.

In 2011 my mum was diagnosed with ME after many months of feeling very ill and numerous doctor and hospital appointments.




What is ME?

It’s not easy to define what ME is due to many different symptoms and theories as to what causes it. Some say it is a neurological disorder, others an immune dysfunction, but much research is still needed.

How ME effects my Mum:
ME effects people differently and can vary in its severity. For my mum, in addition to an overwhelming tiredness she gets body aches, pains, dizziness and nausea. And I’m talking 24/7. It’s like having bad flu every single day to the point where you can’t get out of bed.
One of the hardest things for suffers is the lack of understanding. You can look well on the surface or perhaps be having a good day but that doesn’t mean you’re cured. The next day might be a very different story. It’s much more than just feeling ‘a bit tired’ and can’t be made better by a good night’s sleep!
The stigma around ME:
Many doctors, (though not all!), don’t understand ME, probably due to not knowing the cause of it. Some can be unsympathetic and dismissive. It’s important to find a doctor who understands and supports you as this is the first step in being diagnosed and feeling better.
How to support someone who is suffering with ME:
Depending on the severity, developing ME can completely change your life, in some cases leaving you bed ridden. If you know someone suffering here are some ways you can help:
• Don’t tell them that they just need ‘a good night sleep’ or to take ‘a refreshing walk in the countryside’ to feel better. The only way to manage ME is to allow your body to rest and pace your activities every day.
• My mum can’t easily plan ahead as she never knows whether she will be having a good or bad day so be flexible and understanding. Plans may need to be adapted to include less walking for example.
• Encourage them to take time out each day to rest. This is the main way my mum can manage her illness. If it means having a Spanish style siesta each day, go for it! And don’t let them feel guilty for missing out on things!
• Offer to help with the more mundane life chores e.g cleaning/walking the dog. It means they can save more energy for the fun things!
But it’s not all bad news! When first diagnosed my mum couldn’t even walk from her bedroom to the kitchen and had to spend months in bed. But now she leads a normal yet slower paced life by building in time each day to rest! Most people improve over time and are even cured after 5-10 years. It’s all about balance and staying positive!
In a funny way I think my mums ME has actually bought some positives to her life. She takes a lot more time for herself and has rediscovered hobbies and interests that she’d given up during the usual frenetic pace of life. Now I’m older I look back and realise how hard it must have been, even at her worst she was always there to pick me up from school and cook me dinner and never complained about how ill she was. She’s an amazing mum!
If you have any questions or would like to find out more, come and say hi at www.ohhelloellen.com or on Twitter




Spring Staycation For Those With Disabilities

With recent unrest and Brexit on the horizon, a holiday in the UK is looking like an attractive option this year. There has been a recent rise in the ‘staycation’ due to economic reasons, but though you may not have to change your sterling into another currency, a staycation still requires a little organisation, especially if your holiday needs to include accessible elements.
Though many would assume sharing a language would make everything infinitely easier (which it does) there are other elements of a mainly meteorological nature, to overcome. The UK has many fantastic locations for every sort of holiday you can imagine, from the picturesque West Country to the action packed Lake District. Though as with most things in life, planning is key.
While the UK is making great efforts towards being more inclusive, accessible for one hotel means wider door frames and a lack of steps, while what you really need is specially adapted facilities and a hoist. Ensuring that you are getting what you expect is mainly down to clear and open communication from the start and at every element of your trip.
Not only is accommodation vital to your trip, but so are many other elements, but often overlooked is dining. While on holiday, you wish to treat yourself, but if all the best eateries are up several stairs and do not cater to those with limited mobility, it will not be the vacation you are hoping for.
We spoke to those who know best when it comes to accessible holidays, for their top tips for a staycation to create a little guide that everyone should peruse before they indulge in a British break. Including everything from accommodation to activities, dining to domestics, it allows you to do nothing but relax by the time your holiday comes round. Click here for the in-depth guide :

http://www.companionstairlifts.co.uk/news/planning-your-spring-staycation/
Keep up-to-date by following their social networks:
Facebook
Twitter


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Are Mobile Phones A Luxury Or A Necessity??

A little while ago I was given the opportunity to guest post on the fabulous Lolly’s blog.
I hope you enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed writing it 🙂

Are mobile phones materialistic, or an necessity?

With the boom of technology in the last 10 years alone, and smart phones becoming the number one product to get, if you haven’t already that is.
Smart phones although still seen as a luxury by some, have now become a necessity, especially for people such as myself.

For those who don’t know, i’m totally blind. I use an iPhone, MacBook, iPad and iPod. I’m not trying to show off or seem flash, I can assure you, it took a long time to save for such items!
But the reason I am mentioning my clear love for Apple products, is not because it’s seen as the coolest gadget, or more expensive luxury, it’s because it enables me to live my life with as much ease and normality as a blind person can manage.

All of the Apple products listed above have specific built in software called Voice-Over. An Apple built-in screen reader that allows me to use technology the way you do.

A screen reader is a text to speech output which speaks the content of a computer display. In Apple’s case it is in-built within every Apple product they sell.. This enables me to navigate my way around my MacBook (what I am using to write this post). I use shortcut keys to navigate, as it would be pretty tricky for a blind person to use a mouse, when they cannot see where it is upon the screen.

My iPad is essentially a larger version of my iPhone, so when I talk about my iPhone, it has all the same functions without being able to call like a phone.
My iPhone; being touch screen will read out wherever my finger lands/ touches on the screen. In order for me to interact with my iPhone, and give it commands, I have to use specific gestures.
For example, if I wanted to call my Mum, I would touch the top right-hand corner of my iPhone, and Voice-Over will say contacts (I have my phone set out in a specific way, so this would not be the case for everyone using an iPhone, even if they too are blind).
I would then double tap with 1 finger,or thumb, to be able to open the Contacts app.
I would then touch the very right hand side of the iPhone screen again, where it will announce “Table Index” the A-Z of the phone book.
I have to hold my thumb down for a second or so before the phone announces “Swipe up or down with one finger to adjust the value” And from there I would continuously flick my thumb up towards the top of the iPhone for it to scroll down.

When I reach the correct letter I would then flick right with my thumb to find the contact i’m looking for. I would have to double tap again with one finger, or thumb, to open it.
I would also have to double tap on the number itself to activate the call button.

So why the double tap gesture?
Imagine running your thumb or finger around a touch screen and having your eyes closed whilst doing so, you would potentially open a dozen apps, send a gobbledegook email to your boss. and a smily face to your brother who is sitting right next to you!
Double tapping is so the blind user can navigate around the screen/ phone itself without any worry of doing these things constantly.

So how do I use social media?

If I am on my iPhone, and using the FaceBook App, I use much the same gestures as I mentioned above with a few added extras.

The FaceBook App in my personal opinion is far better, than using the website,
What I mean by this is: screen readers are programmed to read all text aloud to the person navigating. Imagine how long and arduous a process it is to flick constantly for everything a FaceBook status has:
The persons name
Who their audience is
the location it was published
the time it was published
The status itself
If there are any images
reactions to the status; Like, Comment, Share, Announcing one at at a time.

However there are shortcuts to speed this interaction up a little quicker

Thankfully the app cuts out a lot of the waffle and will only read out:
The persons name
The status
If there is an image
Reactions to the status; Like. Comment, Share. And
This will be read all at once, and in order.

In order to interact with the status you can do one of 2 options:
Flicking your thumb down to choose an option; Like, React, Comment, Share, More.
Or
By double tapping the screen with 2 fingers and it brings up a list with the same options i’ve listed above.
You can choose to flick right to get to the specific action or drag your finger down the list and use the 1 finger double tap gesture to active it.

What about other social media platforms?

With each social media platforms there are slightly different ways to navigate each app, and each website. The single and double tap features are sill optimised but it depends on each app developer if they include extra functions for screen readers. An example of this is Twitter. If you go to the Twitter settings you can customise a two finger double tap to do one of 4 actions. I chose my action to create a new tweet. It means I don’t have to find the top right hand corner of the screen, and double tap with one finger to create a tweet. It’s things like that, that help me navigate quicker as a screen reader user 🙂

There are so many things my iPhone can do that help keep my life running as smoothly as a blind person bumping into walls and getting lost can be 😉

And social media is just the tip of that gigantic iceberg…
Where would I be without it? Probably rocking in a corner somewhere 😉 but seriously, technology today has given me and other blind and disabled people a lifeline to keep in touch with the outside world, interact with friends and family who live in other parts of the country/ world, and helps make new connections and new friends 🙂

I hope this post was informative? If you have any questions or would like me to explain anything else from a blind persons perspective then feel free to contact me on the following:
Twitter
Facebook
Google+
Email:SassysWorld6@gmail.com




A big thanks to Lolly for allowing me to guest post on her fabulous blog, without my smartphone we wouldn’t have met! 🙂
Please follow her on:
Blog
Facebook
Twitter

Much love,
Sassy x

Join My Campaign: Think of The Carers

Think of the carers.
We all know that carers are the unsung heroes of today society! They look after their loved ones with no thought of themselves, no rest bite, and very little recognition for all their hard work and effort.
Most people would say it’s all in a days work, especially if it is their child that they care for. But I believe they deserve recognition for what they do.
If you are a parent/carer of an unwell/ chronically ill/ sensory impaired or disabled person I would love to hear from you.

I would like to hear your side of the story; how the diagnosis made you feel, what it means for you as a person, and tasks you have to do on a daily/ weekly/ monthly basis just to support a person you love
This guest series is about hearing disability from the carers perspective, and I hope to raise awareness and understanding of all that you do.

If you would like to participate, I would love to have you! Please contact me on the following:
Email:
SassysWorld6@gmail.com
Twitter:http://www.Twitter.com/@SassyPant6
FaceBook: https://m.facebook.com/Thinking-Out-Loud-Blog-525815087584791

Much love, Sassy X

Disability Q&A #9 Kate

Hello and welcome back to the newest instalment of my disability Q&A 🙂

Today’s interview is brought to you by a wonderful lady named Kate! We met on the Internet: she is so kind, caring and fascinating! I hope you learn something new 🙂

Tell me about yourself:

My name is Kate, I am, ahem, forty-four, a married mother of two, living in Australia. Once upon a time, before my nine and six year old came into the world, I was a graphic designer but now I like to call myself a writer. I dream of becoming a published memoirist as I currently write two memoirs, and have an idea or two for works of fiction and children’s books. I also write for blogs.

Now we know the basics, can we learn a bit more about you?
What is the medical reason you have a disability?
I have Usher syndrome, the most common genetic cause of combined deafness and blindness. More than 400,000 people are affected by this disorder worldwide. (Don’t quote me on this information. I totally did a cut and paste.)
Have you had your disability from birth?

I am adopted, so have no family medical history at all. When I was two, I was diagnosed with severe hearing loss. My mother hadn’t been concerned that I was not yet speaking because my older brother was slow to become a talker. (And then became an annoyingly slow talker.) It was only when a family friend who had experience with deaf children voiced his suspicion that I was finally taken to a specialist and diagnosed.
I was sixteen whenI was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a progressive vision disorder which causes the light-sensing cells in the retina to gradually deteriorate. That diagnosis was a shock. I was aware that, for as long as I could remember, I had trouble seeing in the dark. I never told anyone, as I thought it was just something I couldn’t do, just as some kids couldn’t run fast, or weren’t good at art. I just couldn’t see well in the dark. And sometimes, I would bump into things. But I never thought it would be something as serious as RP.
I have not received genetic testing for confirmation, but the two conditions together strongly suggest I have Usher syndrome Type 2. My diagnosis was that I would be totally blind by forty, which has not been the case. Winning!

Do you refer to yourself as a person with a disability? If not, why not?

I do refer to myself as a person with a disability or two, though rarely do I even consider the disability. I am not aware of what I cannot hear, I am not aware of what I cannot see. For me, the way I am is my normal. Yes. I have two disabilities but they are as much a part of who I am as my hair or eye colour. They are two of the many things that make me, well, me. I don’t wake up and feel like some of my hearing is missing. I don’t wake up and go, hang on, where did my eyesight go?!

Do you tell others about your disability? Or do you prefer to keep that to yourself until you are comfortable with the person knowing?

This has been a lifelong dilemma. Shall we start at the beginning? With my hearing impairment, I always kept it hidden. At school I never wore my hair back. I thought I could fool people. And it turned out I did. My art teacher, who I had worked closely with for two years, had no idea I was hearing impaired and wore hearing aides. With my vision impairment, I would never tell anyone until I was comfortable with the person knowing, and that was quite often when it was becoming uncomfortable with them not knowing. I remember one friend thought I was just hilariously drunk when I stumbled around in the dark.
With employment, I secured my first job through a disability employment scheme. No hiding then. But after that first job, I never told anyone before I had secured the job, and worked long enough to prove myself. Then, ever so nervously, I would wear my hair back and just let them figure it out for themselves. It was never a real issue, except once when it was extremely awkward as my idiot boss said to me, ‘I thought you sounded like a deaf person.’ Like I said. Idiot.
With my sight, I was forced to disclose my condition when I had to ask for time off to have cataract surgery. Cataract surgery at 29? I had some explaining to do, and that boss couldn’t have been nicer.
Since having children, and being in the school community, I have had to be open with the teachers. To save me from awkward situations and also to let them know my children are pretty damn special, well, they are, I let them know so they understand why my two are sensitive and empathic. But also, why they are mature beyond their years and need looking out for so they don’t get depressed too. It is a big deal to know your mother is going blind.
At the beginning of this recent school year, I dreaded going through the motions of telling each and every teacher I, or my children, would have contact with. One part of me hated the other part of me for it, but the sensible me decided to get the principal to just tell the whole school teaching community in one hit. Bam. My story was out. The silly me still hasn’t quite forgiven the sensible me. Especially when, the very next day, one teacher jokingly said to me, over the loud home-time music, ‘you don’t need to wear hearing aides to hear that!’
There is always one, isn’t there.

Do you use any mobility aids such as a wheelchair or walking stick?

Just prior to turning forty, the age I was told twenty five years earlier that I would be totally blind, I had a little bit of a breakdown and panic attack. Like, oh my goodness, I am turning forty this year and I am not even ready to be blind! I became depressed, even suicidal for a brief moment. Even though I didn’t yet need it, I undertook white cane training, just because. Just to be ready. With that, I had to overcome the psychological hurdle of openly being seen as someone with a visual impairment when up until then, no one knew.
I then did turn forty, I had my cane technique perfected. And in my bag the cane stayed. My remaining sight didn’t suddenly disappear on the eve of my fortieth birthday, and I woke on my birthday relieved that I had not spent the last twenty five years dreading that day, but had done the right thing just by getting on with life. I didn’t take life for granted, and I went off to see the world while I could, but getting on with life meant I didn’t wallow in sadness. The cane training was not a complete waste of time. I know I can use it if desperately needed. But four years on, I still don’t use it at all. Soon. One day soon, it will be desperately needed. But until then, I will hang onto my last sense of independence (and my sense of invisibility) for as long as possible.
If you could extinguish your disability, would you? – If not, please explain why.
It may sound crazy to someone who is not hearing impaired, or not vision impaired, or not, like unlucky me, both, but I would not. This is all I know. I don’t know what it is like to not be hearing impaired, to not be vision impaired. This comes to me often in my writing. I cannot imagine how to write a character who is without these disabilities, because I have no knowledge or experience, of what it is like, to refer to.
Simply put. Without my disabilities, I would not be me. And to be honest, without my disabilities, I don’t know that I would like me. I would not have my empathy, I would not have my compassion. I would not have my determination and perseverance. Without my struggles, I don’t think I would truly appreciate what I do have.
No. I am just fine the way I am, thank you.
Oh, hang on, I just noted that the question was ‘extinguish’.
Yes! Yes! Yes! A miracle cure, now, would be wonderful. I could be just the way I am, just newly improved! Yes. A miracle cure that could extinguish the disabilities. For me, and for all the others like me.

For those who do not know much about your disability how does it affect your mobility?

With my night blindness, in the dark, I am totally blind. That said, I am so good at moving around familiar spaces in the dark. Better than those with good night vision, sometimes. I know how to guide myself with touch. As long as nothing is moved without my knowledge. Or that the bathroom door is not left shut when it is normally left open. BANG! Sorry family! Sorry for waking you with that loud bang. Just my whole body walking into a door. Go back to sleep now.
With my tunnel-like vision, I think I can see just fine, if it is just me. Throw me in the middle of a crowd, it is like constantly getting a fright. When I do notice those around me, it is when they are right in close. It’s like, where the hell did you come from, over and over. Sometimes, I think I am walking along alone, and I catch a scent in the air, and turn to see I had just walked pass someone I had not even noticed.

Do you think your disability has made you who you are today?

It certainly has. Although I do not think it myself, remember, this is my normal, I don’t feel special, I am aware that I do seem special to others. I know I inspire, I know I amaze. I know I achieve far more than was expected of me. My mother was told not to expect me to finish school. Not to expect me to amount to anything much at all. Well, I finished school. I finished university. I have had a successful graphic design career, working both in Australia and in the United Kingdom. I have travel extensively. I have a beautiful family. If that is not amounting to anything at all, what is?
Along the way, I have had many, many battles. Battles against perceptions. Battles against expectations. Battles against mentality. And I know I will have many battles ahead.
But my disability has made me incredibly strong. And resilient. And I know I will get through those battles ahead. But that doesn’t mean I don’t dread them.
Meanwhile, I am very aware that so many like me are also facing battles. Battles against perceptions. Battles against expectations. Battles against mentality. And they may not be quite as strong. Or they may not be heard. So for them, I write. I write my thoughts, I write my experiences, I write my frustrations. And hopefully, my words can help them through too.
What piece of advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed? Or going through a deterioration in vision / or mobility?
I am at a stage of acceptance where I just think, it’s no big deal, that’s life. Shit happens. You win some, you lose some. Get over it. I am very aware that the newly diagnosed would absolutely not share these views so I know I have to be careful what I say.
But I have not always been in this place of acceptance. I have spent many years grieving. And for me, grieving meant avoiding. Once upon a time, my coping strategy was to work really hard, save, then quit my job (something I was able to do as a successful freelance graphic designer as I kept being rehired by the same firms) and I would pack my back pack, a tent and guidebook, and fly far, far away from anyone who knew me. I would then travel alone for months, loving that everyone I met didn’t know anything about me.
My advice would be, don’t do what I did. You can run … and, well, you know the rest. It caught up with me, in a dangerous way, just before I turned forty.
Talk, talk, talk. Whinge and cry. Be angry. Be honest. Then let go.
Truly. Having Usher syndrome seems like the end. But I am going to shatter that perception. It’s no big deal, that’s life. Shit happens. You win some, you lose some.
Talk, talk, talk. Whinge and cry. Be angry. Be honest. Get over it. Then let go.
Oh, hang on. I wasn’t going to say that, was I.

Any advice you’d like to give to a person with sight / no disabilities?

Simply, see me as me. See through the disability. In fact, I would send you straight over to my blog to read a little something I wrote. Go on.
http://www.fromkatietokate.com/see-me-as-me/
Did you read it? You didn’t read it, did you? Well, it goes something like this.
Something doesn’t work properly in my ears.
Something doesn’t work properly in my eyes.
That’s all.
That’s it.
Usher syndrome is such a minor part of who I am.
But Usher syndrome is not who I am.
I am ‘me’.

Did you seek out any specialist services / charities to help you and your family deal with your situation?
When I was diagnosed, honestly, I was told, ‘you are going blind, you will be blind by the time you are forty, come back in ten years, and we will see how that is going.’ Honestly? Yeah. Let’s get together and have a chat. In ten years! No wonder I was an emotional mess.
Fortunately these days, there is so much more support around.
Where can people find you out in the world?

You can find my words on my personal blog, From Katie to Kate (http://www.fromkatietokate.com) or on the Usher Coalition blog (http://www.usher-syndrome.org).
I am Kate Elizabeth on Twitter (@_kateeliz) so please come and say hello.
Anything you’d like to add my lovely?
Oh, enough about me! Thank you for having me, Sassy!




Wow Kate, thank you so much for sharing your story! You are truly fascinating and I love that embrace life with humour and honesty! I am so grateful you shared your story with us, not only have I learned something new, but I hope that your strength and charisma proves that life really is what you make it! 🙂

Please don’t forget to follow her links, and why not share the love? Leave her a comment, we would both appreciate it!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to take part in my Campaign, do not hesitate to contact me on the following:
Email:SassysWorld6@gmail.com
Twitter
Facebook

If you enjoyed this interview why not check out the others in the series so far?
Interview 1
Interview 2
Interview 3
Interview 4
Interview 5
Interview 6
Interview 7
Interview 8




Think of The Carers

Think of the carers.
We all know that carers are the unsung heroes of today society! They look after their loved ones with no thought of themselves, no rest bite, and very little recognition for all their hard work and effort.
Most people would say it’s all in a days work, especially if it is their child that they care for. But I believe they deserve recognition for what they do.
If you are a parent/carer of an unwell/ chronically ill/ sensory impaired or disabled person I would love to hear from you.

I would like to hear your side of the story; how the diagnosis made you feel, what it means for you as a person, and tasks you have to do on a daily/ weekly/ monthly basis just to support a person you love
This guest series is about hearing disability from the carers perspective, and I hope to raise awareness and understanding of all that you do.
If you would like to participate, I would love to have you! Please contact me on the following:
Email:
SassysWorld6@gmail.com
Twitter:http://www.Twitter.com/@SassyPant6
FaceBook: https://m.facebook.com/Thinking-Out-Loud-Blog-525815087584791

Much love, Sassy X

❤️

BritMums

Find A Way To Shine No Matter What

Find a Way to Shine, No Matter What

By Jennifer Hansford (@HansfordJen-twitter)

My life’s ambition has always been to inspire people and give them hope in some way. I want to do this, because I have always needed something or someone to give me hope too, and I know how important it is.
I was born with Cerebral Palsy. I can walk, and to do things pretty independently, but I do have a distorted way of walking, which I have always been self-conscious of, as people would often stare at me, or say mean things.
When I was around 9 years old, and in fourth grade, I had an operation on my hip, and tendons in my legs. In the process of my recovery I had to learn to walk again. It was pretty painful, but I have always been a determined person, and nothing in my life has been easy, so this was just another thing for me to get through.

I was made fun of a lot as a child, because of the way I walk, and sometimes even in my high school years. I remember one particular girl who was in one of the same classes as I was, who had started to say some things to me that I didn’t like. I don’t remember what they were, but I do remember losing my patience with the situation and saying to her, something like, ‘I don’t appreciate being made fun of for something I can’t control.’ She left me alone after that.
The one place I did feel like I belonged, was in college, where I studied journalism. School became like a second home to me, and I had the best professors in the world. My main professor, the one who taught us about reporting and newspaper layout, was one of the reasons I have always tried to remain in the journalism field. I remember him telling me, “If I give you a story that you can’t get to (possibly because of stairs, or something that might be difficult to navigate) just tell me, and I’ll put you on another one,” or perhaps he would find a way to get me to the one that was assigned to me. He told me there should be no reason why I shouldn’t have a great career in the field. Sometimes, though, the rest of society doesn’t share this type of attitude.
I have only freelanced for various publications, and I liked doing that, but I wanted to have a staff job at a newspaper, so I could feel like I had a ‘real career.’ A lot of staff jobs were unattainable for me, since I can’t drive on my own, which is why I liked freelancing. I could get around by bus, or someone driving me, and the editor was non-the-wiser, since I had never met my editors in person. I wasn’t judged by how I got my story finished, and they were unaware of my physical disability. They were just happy with the finished product. I had gone to an employment agency that is supposed to help people with disabilities get a job they want, and had asked them to call newspapers on my behalf, and assure them that I am perfectly qualified and able to do the actual job of researching, and writing an article, even though getting around has to be done in a different way than anyone else would. The worker I spoke to told me she wasn’t going to do that, and that if a career in journalism was going to happen for me, it would have happened by now.
This is the kind of attitude I wish I could help get rid of in society. Those who are ‘advocating’ for people with disabilities, especially should not have this attitude. I guess that’s part of the reason why I have an interest in journalism. Everyone has a story, and some people need others to make that story known. Everyone needs a voice, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect. I wanted to be the one to share those stories, and bring awareness to things that need attention and respect.

Two years, however, I developed health issues with my throat, which left me not being able to swallow food properly. I have lost a lot of weight, and also lost a lot of my hair, which I’m assuming is because of poor nutrition. I’m very weak most of the time and sleep a lot during the day, so I do my creating at night. I didn’t want to completely give up on all my writing goals, so I created my blog called Exuding Energy. This is a place for me to still do some form of article writing, as I find people willing to share their stories, ask them questions, then write about it. I decided to focus on what, and who, inspires people to keep trying to achieve their goals, while they are facing challenges or difficult times, because blogging became my way of staying positive during my own struggles.
This is my way of still sharing people’s stories and giving them a voice, while still giving myself a voice too. To all the people who also have disabilities, whatever they may be, I hope you’ll continue to do what it is that makes you happy, no matter how you have to do it. We may have to do things differently, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it well…Right?
If you have a story to share, I hope you’ll share it with me. I also have a YouTube channel, which will be based on my blog (I only have two videos posted right now, but I hope you’ll check them out), so if you have any video or photos to accompany your story and wouldn’t mind me making a video version of your story, please feel free to send them along as well.

The link to my blog-https://theexudeblog.wordpress.com/

The link to my YouTube page-https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQydLY3VDFXOxoz0gQ1qsyg

Thanks so much to Sassy for allowing me to share my story on your blog!

Happy Diaries #4

Hello Diary 🙂

I’ve had another productive and therefore happy week, i’m thankful to say!

A poster has been created for the Charity/ Social group I have been involved in curating 🙂

I had yet another fun Spanish lesson! My Teacher really is fab, and helps me out so much sending me WhatsApp recordings of the key points of the lessons as she knows I cannot see to read print, and as my Spanish is not advanced enough, I can’t read or understand Spanish with VoiceOver just yet… There will come a time though 🙂

What i am most pleased and excited about is I had my first Guest Post on my blog (for those who don’t know, it’s another person writing content for your blog, or allowing you to use their previously written content to host on your blog).
I am extremely grateful to Michael for being not only my first Guest Poster: but the topic he covered was deep and extremely personal to the both of us. It’s called Suicide if you would like to read it… Please do!
Together we aim to end the stigma around talking about mental illness, and more specifically suicide, as it really is still a very taboo subject in today’s day and age, which is extremely saddening!

i’m so happy to be part of such a great Tribe! I’m so proud of all the Tribesters and what they have been achieving with their own blogs! I also have to say a huge thanks to them all; giving me advice, support and resources to seek out to enhance my blogging.

So fingers crossed to the next few months, who knows what’s going to be on the horizon! 🙂




Gratitude List:

Tribesters – you Ladies rock!
* Soap and Glory products; I was kindly given a gift set at Christmas by Gary. I’ve only just started using them properly today!
* Technology – the new Facebook and Twitter features including accessibility to VI people like myself! I shall be writing a post about it next week so don’t want to bore you now!
* Music – it’s great just putting your iPod on shuffle and seeing what golden oldies I have stashed away 🙂
*My Neighbours’ – they are extremely friendly people, and very caring an considerate towards me, often asking me if I need anything, not to hesitate in asking!
*Date Nights – Gary and I were meant to be going to the cinema this weekend, but that fell through, but we still decided to spend quality time together and ordered a takeaway… I know it’s not about spending money but the Chinese was so yummy!
So that’s a look at my week 🙂

Until next week!

Adios amigo,
Sassy x








Suicide

Suicide: A Guest Post.

For this piece I am stepping out from behind the clown mask. I am hoping to do more here than share a laugh or deliver an opinion piece. I am putting humor aside to talk about something very important; about something that is affecting many people in this world of ours, and has been for many ticks of the clock. The young and old, the rich and poor, the black and white, none of it matters because this monster doesn’t discriminate, anyone can be a victim.

I would like to talk about suicide. I would like to share my personal battle with it and how at one time I thought it was the only way out. I thought it was the only way to silence the demons that were relentlessly attacking and poisoning my soul with never-ending self-doubt and vicious lies about my reality, every day trying to destroy the foundation that was my life.

My desire is to show others in a similar situation that when they feel they are at their lowest or at their breaking point that they are not alone and that there is help out there. There are ways to relieve the weight that burdens your shoulders, but it’s not in a drug/drink, nor is it with you lying on your back six feet under with a face full of dirt.

Suicide stalks its prey like a highly skilled assassin, ever so silently and with deadly precision, and if you’re not cautious, you or a loved one could be its next target.

“Just because someone is smiling on the outside, doesn’t mean they aren’t hurting on the inside.”

Close up of a young boys face looking through a hole in a box, sunlight ilumanating one eye

(Suicidal) When the wrong feels right…

“God, should I come home now?” is a question that I have asked myself many times before, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

We’ve all had times where we felt as if the world was against us. As if everyone was screaming our name, and not like an adoring fan would scream the name of their favorite rockstar, but rather like the way a bloodthirsty mob would scream for your head as you were about to be hung. All you want to do is run and hide, but no matter where you go the voices just won’t stop.

On the outside it is bright and sunny. No one could tell from looking at you that something was wrong. However, on the inside it is dark and gloomy, your mental state is not well and your life is on the edge of devastation. You don’t know what to do. You’re like that whimsical cookie jar that sits on the counter, on the surface you seem all together, complete and even at times upbeat. Although the truth of it is that on the inside you are emotionally disheveled, scattered and spiritually broken into little pieces.

You want so badly to shout out to the world how tortured you are, but at the same time you don’t want to be perceived as weak and/or any less of a person by doing so, and as a result you hold it all in. Because of this decision the pain stews inside of you, making a mess of things both emotionally and mentally, leaving you a total wreck, spiritually shattered and intoxicated by misery and despair.

You can’t believe that your loved ones don’t notice that something isn’t right with you. They aren’t aware that your life is in shambles and that you have no idea how to fix it. This makes you feel damaged, lonely and desperate for a way out.

Yet you put on an Oscar worthy performance to make sure people don’t find out what’s really going on. Doing all you can to put your best foot forward to keep your deadly secret hidden within the confines of your soul. You are torn, you feel as if all the clues are there to help them solve the unfortunate case that is your life, but in all reality you have orchestrated a crime so masterfully that even CSI couldn’t solve it. This is absolutely a no-win situation and cannot end well for anyone involved.

How can you stop the sadness? How can you find peace? Is there a way out or are you destined to go through life depressed and constantly fighting for the happiness and comfort that seems to come so easily to those around you?

You start contemplating suicide. You start thinking that with your dying breath the pain will finally cease and you will be comfortably at rest and in your own skin.

Your absence wouldn’t matter to anyone, because obviously they didn’t care when you were alive so why in death would things be any different? What would be the right time? How would you do it? Should you leave a note? These are just some of the things that cross your mind as you think about moving forward with your ill-fated plan, as you consider the best way to execute your personal mission for mental stability and closure on the agony that is your being.

“Admitting that you need help isn’t a sign of weakness, especially when holding it in could mean death.”

Two hands reaching for one another with text saying "Asking For Help Does Not Make You A Failure"

(Cautious) Living with untreated depression is like taking permanent residence on death row…

Unfortunately there are some people who actually follow thru and succeed in ending their lives, and then there are others, who by the grace of God manage to make it through these dark times and move forward in a positive direction. Gratefully I am the latter.

I was close to calling an end to my time here on this planet a few times, each time believing it was the only way to correct things and to truly put my mind at ease. I felt like it was the only way to get past the torment and heartache. Thankfully though, I had a great support system and was able to open up to people to let them know how I felt, which wasn’t easy by any means but absolutely necessary for healing.

Life is hard and unforgiving at times, if you let your guard down for too long it will swallow you up and drag you down to the depths of hell. I know it’s not all doom and gloom, but the truth of the matter is this, life is not all that kind and will tear you apart if you don’t prepare accordingly.

We can’t just assume that people know how we feel, especially when we go out of our way to disguise our true feelings (as stated above). We must be able to trust our loved ones with our innermost workings and allow them to help when they can. We can’t be afraid to ask and/or seek help when needed, professional help if applicable.

Your mind is extremely powerful, and at the same time very dangerous, especially if you have not trained it correctly. You could be your own best friend or your own worst enemy, completely depending on your overall mental health. When battling depression you become a hostage to your own psyche, which in turn, if not treated properly acts as the judge, the jury and unfortunately the executioner of your being. It is a menacing adversary who will do any and everything within its power to have you succumb to its will. This is not a war you want to fight alone because you won’t stand a chance, call in for backup!

You have to reinforce the barriers that protect your weak spots, train your mind to follow your lead, instead of it being the other way around. We must be strong and steadfast in the face of depression, so when these situations arise we can conquer them, and do so in a healthy and productive manner. If you’re not careful, your mind will bully you and beat you down, leaving you for dead…literally.

From the birth certificate to the obituaries, life can be a cruel mistress. Whether it is that tasty treat that you can’t have until you finish your icky dinner, or something more adult oriented like the loss of a job and/or bills piling up faster than you can knock them down. I’m sure you’ve heard this many times before; life is not fair and doesn’t play nice. The game is difficult, but totally worth playing, so put your game face on and play to win!

“Depression is the fire, and playing with it will get you burnt.”

Lady behind a rain coved window with one hand touching the glass.

 

(Due Process) Here comes the judge…

We all know the expression, “don’t judge a book by its cover”. The reason why we shouldn’t, is because until we read the pages of that said book we don’t really know what it’s about. Those pages may consist of unspeakable horrors, soul crushing pain and severe hardships. The cover may be all rainbows and unicorns, and the pages dark and depressing, and you’ll never know unless you move past what’s on the surface. Don’t discount someone due to superficial reasons; if you do it could lead to dire consequences.

For those of you who think that suicide is a sign of weakness, something that only a coward would do and/or something that only affects the most desolate of people, you’ve got a lot to learn. I am thankful that you’ve never had to endure the deadly sting that is depression and hopefully you never will. Don’t be foolish, because trust me this can happen to anyone, no matter who you are and/or where you are at in your life.

You may not personally be the one who is battling with depression and/or with the thoughts of suicide, but someone you know may just be, so keep a watchful eye out for the warning signs and don’t be afraid to act if necessary. As I said prior, due to an unfortunate stigma in this country when it comes to mental health most people are ashamed to speak up out of fear of ridicule and/or being considered weak. Bottom line, they are not going to come to you, you have to go to them.

Sometimes your perception of things is askew, things aren’t always how they appear. With that said, do your loved ones a favor and pay attention, don’t take anything for granted because by the time you finally realize there’s a problem it could already be too late.

We classify many different conditions and addictions as diseases in this country, which I can only assume is to make people feel better about overindulging, physically, mentally and of course financially. However, when it comes to depression we dare not speak of it in public out of fear of being labeled crazy, insane or mentally challenged in one way or another, hence the reason why we have such a problem with suicide in our country. This fact completely amazes and leaves me scratching my head in utter confusion. Needless to say, this has to change if we truly ever hope to rectify the issue at hand.

We ask each other, “How are you” but we don’t really want to know, we only do so to be perceived as caring individuals, of course not all but most for sure. God forbid they actually tell us their troubles, because then they are considered complainers and in our busy lives and hectic schedules we don’t have to for that.

We are programmed to act concerned and compassionate to our fellow humans because it’s the right thing to do, but the truth of it is that we don’t really want to be bothered. With the social stigma that already comes attached to depression, this way of being only makes it more complicated and risky for someone to feel comfortable enough to open up and honestly share what hinders them with us. We need to start being there for each other, and stop trying to hide from each other!

“Remember, sometimes a crowd is the loneliest place of all.”

Single Yellow flower in a field of grey ones

(Misconceptions) Walking a fine line, the razor’s edge…

Some say that suicide is selfish, which may very well be the case to those who’ve lost, but when someone feels lonely and abandoned who exactly are they being selfish to; at least that’s how they see it. Consider this, in their mind your loss is their gain, makes sense?

The old adage, “time heals all wounds” may be true for some, but it is definitely not true for everyone. We’re not all the same, and you’d be wise to remember that. To quote the Diff’rent Strokes theme song, “Now, the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum, what might be right for you, may not be right for some”. More accurate words have never been spoken, and if someone tells you otherwise, feel free to let them have a, “What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis”? No one has the right to tell you how long you should, or shouldn’t grieve, regardless of the circumstances.

Some personalities choose to stew over their plights; it’s just how they were made. They let them slowly cook like a meal in a crock-pot, and unfortunately by doing this; their internal temperature rises and things eventually boil over leaving nothing more than a hot mess.

Without help and/or a healthy way to release this pressure these individuals could possibly find themselves in dire straits. The aforementioned “time” that is supposed to heal all wounds becomes a catalyst for disaster and ultimately ends up doing more harm than good. Moral of the story, don’t assume that the way you handle stress is the only and proper way of doing so, because those assumptions could be very costly to you in the end.

“There’s always someone who has it worse”, is a statement I have heard thrown around many times as an attempt to “help” someone realize that their burden isn’t really all that bad in the grand scheme of things. Now this may very well be the case, and to some this may even be helpful advice, but unfortunately to those with depression this knowledge does little to ease the anguish that haunts their spirit, if anything it diminishes their pain and adds more fuel to the already raging fires. Be mindful with what you say and to whom you say it to, because your attempt to help may result in your outstretched hand becoming a clinched fist.

You know that you’re not to be negative, your glass is always supposed to be “half full”, because that’s the politically correct way to think. You’re not to fall down and stay down, you’re to pick yourself up and have a feel-good “Rocky” moment, where you kick ass and take names. Anything else makes you inferior to the masses, or at least that’s how you see it. Believe it or not, it’s perfectly acceptable to admit defeat and to ask for help when you need it. Doing so doesn’t make you any less of a person and/or weak, if anything it takes more courage and strength, so that is something you should take pride in.

“Don’t assume that others know how you feel about them, make it known.”

Girl with her head in her knees curled up, in a dark surrounding.

(Coping) The living dead…

This section is not about mindless zombies who crave brains like some of us crave chocolate, but instead the individual who is left behind after the person he/she cares about commits suicide. Their life becomes an out of control emotional rollercoaster filled with many “what ifs” and “whys”. Nothing makes sense anymore and they are as lost as a kid on the back of the milk carton.

There are cases where people realize there is something wrong, the warning signs have been heeded and the necessary actions taken. They try to help but their efforts are all in vain, their reached out hand is met with a stiff barrier reluctant to move. Their words fall on deaf ears; to the damaged psyche you come off sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher. This is not because these people don’t want help, but rather because they don’t feel they are worthy of it, in their minds they are already at the end of their rope. No matter what how hard you tried, nothing got through to them and ultimately still decided to extinguish their flame.

Then sometimes even with the subtle clues and whispered cries for help a person can be blind to the issues at hand and not pay them much mind, they just write it off as a bad day or trouble getting over a pothole in the rearview on the road of life. Does this mean they don’t care, of course not, they just can’t see the pain and suffering through the overly happy façade of their loved one. Now although this is not done intentionally and/or with hate in their hearts, this is a costly mistake that could come back to haunt them when all is said and done.

Is this torment deserving and/or warranted, especially in the shadow of a recent loss? It is not, but regrettably it comes with the territory and is an unrelenting burden that the survivor(s) must bear until they learn to cope with the tragedy in a healthy manner.

“They have taken their life and left you feeling dead inside.”

 

Close up of an eye welling with tears

(Hope) The light at the end of the dark road…

This may be hard to believe, and even somewhat cliché to say, but there is a way to overcome the barrage of devastating punches life has bestowed upon you without having to throw in the towel. Keep your chin up and do your best to not give up on yourself or your loved ones.

I hope and pray the best for everyone, and if you ever need to talk feel free to let me know. I may not be able to solve every problem, but at least I could be an ear willing to listen and/or a shoulder to lean on if need be.

I’m speaking from experience my friends, I know it’s not easy, but you’re worth fighting for and doing whatever is necessary to live a happy and healthy life. When it comes to suicide the quote, “that which does not kill us, makes us stronger” has never been more fitting. Don’t be a statistic, be a survivor!

Truly words to “live” by!

“No matter what side of the coin you’re on, there are no winners when it comes to suicide.”

The End, but hopefully not for you…

When it comes to mental health screw society and its standards! We must be able to talk about it freely and without the fear of condemnation to truly be able to help those in need. Spread the word! #ChangeYourMindChangeTheirLife

“Bring flowers to someone to show them how special they are to you, not to decorate their grave after they’ve passed on.”

MJM

Helpful Links/Numbers:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – Official Site
http://www.afsp.org/

Suicide Prevention: How to Help Someone who is Suicidal
http://www.helpguide.org/mental/suicide_prevention.htm

“Battlefield of the Mind”…a great book with lots of helpful practices and techniques to strengthen your mind, spiritual or not, this is a good read.
http://www.joycemeyer.org/battlefield/

Warning Signs – https://www.afsp.org/preventing-suicide/suicide-warning-signs

Cope – http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/end-of-life/in-depth/suicide/art-20044900

“Suicide” was Written by MJM
Original can be found at: http://the-insane-asylum.blogspot.com/2014/03/suicide.html
For more information check out: Mikejmele.wix.com/mjmwriter




 

I would like to take this moment to say a massive thank you to Michael for writing this raw, honest and heartfelt peace.
He and I became friends just recently, I have been following him on Twitter for a long while now, but as we got chatting, I plucked up the courage to ask if I could use his piece on my blog as a way to spread awareness of suicide and depression. He very kindly and humbly agreed.
I feel Michael has captured the way I have felt within my lifetime, and put it so eloquently. Unfortunately suicide is still very much a Taboo subject in today’s world, and that makes me very sad.
Suicide hits you when you are at your lowest point, and feel like you have nowhere else to turn. But there is hope, and there is so much help out their available to any person struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts.
Please reach out, people dO care and want to help.
here are a few UK support links:

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Suicide/Pages/Getting-help.aspx

Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year.

PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
***disclosure*** Michael gave me permission to post his piece on my blog. I included the images.
If you would like to contact him regarding this fantastic piece you can find him on: https://twitter.com/MikeJMele?lang=en-gb
He also runs and publishes 3 very interesting and successful blogs:

The-insane-asylum.blogspot.com
The-nerdy-side-of-life.blogspot.com
Extremechristian.blogspot.com

Please comment and share this post. Our aim is to spread awareness of suicide and depression, by sharing this we can reach more people, and together show them that they are not alone!

Thank You ❤️