Tag Archives: Support

Friendship, Relationship, Love

Gary and Sassy cuddling together on a bench. photo taken from behind with a lighthouse off to the left.

I never thought i’d end up with Gary, in fact, neither of us ever thought it would happen…

We met at University when he joined in 2012, both my Uni housemates met him on nights out during Freshers week, at separate times, and before long he joined our friendship group.

He and I clicked straight away, and it was nice to have another male within the group. Gary wasn’t like a lot of the other Freshers, he wasn’t the biggest party goer and was mature for his age, which I think is why our friendship blossomed and the group felt so relaxed around him.

We hung out, texted, stayed at each others houses and gave each other relationship/ dating advice, it was plutonic. Our friends all joked and said if we ever lived together, we would get together, but we laughed it off and ignored their comments; we didn’t see each other like that.

And this is where the story gets interesting…

It was my housemates’ last year at Uni (it would have been mine too, but that is for another story), our lease was due to run out and I was frantically searching for a place to live as a singular student that I could afford, with no luck whatsoever, Gary and 3 of my other Uni friends had all agreed I could stay at theirs until I found a place, it’ll only be about a week I said, so i’ll be out of your hair in no time!

Gary and Sassy both laughing. Sassy with her hands covering her face and Gary stood behind her grinning

3 months went by before I finally found somewhere ! Needless to say Gary and I grew closer, spending more time together: hanging out, eating together, and because of my sight loss he even helped me go shopping. Being blind and moving to a new area takes a lot of mobility and energy to get where you want to be. I was most grateful for his support, friendship and sense of humour at that time!

It literally came from nowhere, one night we were playing drinking games, and when the others had left the room he randomly just kissed me.
I was in total shock, but for the strangest reason it just felt right…

Gary and I moved in together as a couple after his student lease ran out, and we’ve been attached at the hip ever since.

He’s been my rock, confidant and my best friend for as long as i’ve known him, it’s just intensified since being together. He has been at my side through the toughest 5 years of my life, 3 of which has been as my partner.

We are a very happy family unit, spending the majority of our weekends rambling and chasing our gorgeous pup Ida!
Currently we are saving for our first house and plan to move where his family live, although, we have made a happy life four ourselves here.
I can’t wait to start the next chapter of our relationship and eventually be his Wife! ❤

sassy touching noes with Ida the guide dog

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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Sightloss stress and depression

Did you know that 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental illness?
Were you aware that there is a positive correlation between sight loss and depression?
I’ve been diagnosed as clinically depressed since 2015
Through the support of my partner Gary and my GP, I sat and talked candidly about my erratic mood swings, lack of energy, motivation and my constant exhaustion.
We talked at length about my symptoms and the options available to me.
I opted to go on antidepressants as I have previously had counseling.

Antidepressants aren’t for everyone, and that’s ok. However for me they have been invaluable; they have improved all the symptoms I mentioned above, and most importantly for me it’s helped me focus on the bigger picture.

My deterioration in vision since the age of 14 has been a source of vexation and frustration for me.
I hated relinquishing control, having to ask friends and family for help, needing things like worksheets adapted and continuous hospital appointments.

I just wanted to be normal.

But I wasn’t.

I walked into people and inanimate objects, I would knock things over, not be able to read anything without a magnifying glass and so many other things.

I’ve always been a perfectionist so asking for help or embarrassing myself publicly always sent me into a spiral of stress.

Over the years this stress manifested into rage and because of this I pushed people away, or, pushed them to their breaking point.

At the time I genuinely believed my outbursts were justified and acceptable. I believed I had to fight: fight for support, fight to be heard and fight to prove myself.

There was always a reason, an excuse, a situation. I couldn’t see that my behavior, thought processes and even actions were out of control.

It wasn’t until I was at University studying psychology and having a truly fantastic network of friends around me that i recognised all of my grievances and anger were due to me losing my sight.
I still had my moments but they were few and far between..I would get riled up by the little things; dropping something on the floor and spending 5 minutes looking for it, tripping up kerbs or spilling my drink. everywhere.

I learned to laugh it off. Reminding myself that in the grand scheme of things they really weren’t such a big deal.

Yet as my sight deteriorated further and these menial things seemed to happen more frequently I realised I needed some support.

And that’s when I rang the RNIB counseling support line, and registered myself on the waiting list.

I wanted to talk through my problems, how to acknowledge my frustrations but not let it control me.
I wanted to know how I would manage with my impending sight loss and what techniques I could use to make my life and mental state healthier.

The waiting list was so long that by the time my first counseling session happened, I had already lost my remaining vision.

My counselor was fantastic,although I had lost my sight, and the worst had happened to me, she listened, emmpathised and talked through my anxieties and frustrations with me.

The counseling was invaluable to me and it wasn’t until the beginning of 2015 Depression decided to rear it’s ugly head again.
It took me a long time to acknowledge that I was changing and becoming angry all over again. It was always the small things: walking into doorways, pouring the kettle and missing my cup, dirty dishes and not noticing I wasn’t holding my cup straight so hot tea spilled over me and my interiors.

All those little things added up to one big thing: dealing with my sight loss.
This is why I started antidepressants,I was chemically imbalanced, so why not try chemicals to restore my balance?

I still have my down days, and that’s ok. It’s about acknowledging my stress levels and doing something about it.

Here are some ways I cope with stress:

  • Try your best to realise when you are in the midst of an angry outburst or thoughts.
  • Allow emotions to be present. Cry, scream, shout, But not at anyone. Be present in acknowledging the feelings, but don’t let them take over.
  • Don’t use expletives or negativity when expressing these thoughts.
  • Breathe deeply, and think only of what your breathing is doing.
  • Read up on mindfulness, and try putting it into practice.
  • Listen to music. Blast out one of your happy songs,
  • Distract yourself by making yourself focus on something small.
  • Exercise, it releases endorphins.
  • Text/ call someone. you care about.
  • Find a task that needs a lot of focus and thoughtfulness. Maybe like writing a blog post? 🙂
  • Watch something funny.
  • Make some tea, and enjoy the 10 minutes to sit and drink it.
  • Think of something positive. What are you proud of?
  • What are your passions? Find them and emerge yourself within them.
  • Smile! Yes, forcing yourself to actively smile, actually lifts your mood.

Constant stress can lead to depression so make sure self care is at the top of your priority list.
Depression is an illness, a brutal thought process that truly can take over your body and mind. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Establish your stressors and find a way to combat them.Only you know your triggers and only you can save yourself from stress.

Think positive, stay positive! 🙂

Disability Q&A #12 Mandy Ree

Hello ladies and gents, thank you for returning to another interview in my #DisabilityQ&A series! 🙂

Today I am featuring an interesting lady by the name of Mandy, I’ve seen her on social media, and I thought her to be an interesting person. She got in touch with me asking to participate, and of course I said yes! She really does have a fascinating blog, so after this interview, you should really go check it out 🙂

Enough rambling from me, I shall hand the reigns over…
Tell me about yourself:
Hi I’m Mandy Ree, I’m 30
and I live in Orlando FL. I am a freelance writer and blogger for my own personal blog Legally Blind Bagged, looking for employment in the meantime.

What hobbies do you have? I’m an avid toy collector and comic con enthusiast, Disney and 80’s kids culture is my specialty. I am also working on writing my own book “Lessons From A Power Ranger” which chronicles my journey of finding my voice in self advocacy with the help of my boyfriend with cerebral palsy.

Now we know the basics, can we learn a bit more about you?

What is the medical reason you have a disability?
I was born with Austimal Recessive Ocular Albinism, a rare condition that mirrors the visual impairments of a person with Albisim but without the other physical characteristics. Hence I’m very sensitive to light and am considered legally blind, but I don’t have the white hair or the fair skin. In addition, I also suffer from PTSD and Anxiety as a result of severe bullying growing up.

Which terminology do you prefer ? Legally Blind

Do you have a cane, Guide Dog or neither? I have a cane I only bring with me when I’m unfamiliar or semi dangerous, non pedestrian friendly places.

If you could extinguish your disability, would you? – I have always wished from the time I was little up until now there was a cure for my disability. What I wouldn’t give to be able to drive. The buses in Florida are horrendous.

For those who do not know much about your VI what can you see? The best way I can explain my vision to others is as if you took a bunch of crappy pixelated camera phone pictures from 2005 and surrounded me with them. I can see people and things around me, but can’t make out details, resulting in face blindness. Which explains my awkwardness in social situations.

How has your disability effected you?
Mentally, I’m drained. Having a physical disability makes me question my worth in this world. It seems like things that should come easy like getting a job or traveling take twice as long for me to accomplish, despite having the intelligence and work ethic to do so. Thankfully I have a lot of good friends from my most recent job experience at Disney and the comic con circuit who have taken me under their wing and have come to my aid on multiple occasions. I’m not alone like I was as a kid growing up in school, so I consider myself blessed.

Do you think your disability has made you who you are today?
I have become more open minded of other people and their needs. Ever since I was a kid who was mostly in mainstream classes, I was always curous as to what goes on behind the closed doors of “that other classroom” (Special Education). In my teen years, I started to volunteer my time in the Special Education classrooms, helping to bridge the gap between them and the rest of the student body before inclusion of those with developmental disabilities was a thing. I learned a sense of empathy and understanding towards others and grew a passion to help pass those values on to other people.

Is there a particular question you get asked often because of your disability? How many fingers am I holding up? Believe me, that shit gets old real quick.




What are the positives of having a disability?
Learning that there are perks in traveling. Florida has a special identification card program that gets paired with a reduced fare bus pass, which grants me a free lifetime bus pass. I also recently learned the perks of navigating the airport by admitting my disability, like being able to get in the handicapped line at the TSA check in and priority boarding on the plane. The only perk I don’t take advantage of is the attendants with the wheelchairs that take you to the gate, I would rather have those saved for someone who needs it.

What are the negatives of having a disability? The sense of independence. My parents are extremely overprotective sometines and I often feel like I can’t prove I can do things on my own without help. Not being able to drive is also tough considering that free bus system I use takes a ridiculous amount of time to get from one point to another. When I worked for Disney, it took me 3 hours to get home as opposed to 15 minutes down the highway. Thank God for Uber.

What would you say is a difficulty for you being VI / disabled? Oddly enough I am in the gray area between disabled and non disabled, making it hard to receive services like staff to help me travel and do some hard tasks, like sewing or filling out paperwork in small print. I’m classified as too high functioning to get help and it took me forever to get on Disabilty and Medicaid. Speaking of Medicaid, getting to utilize it is difficult, since not many doctors who take it are bus friendly for me to get to. Florida lacks greatly in services and I find it appalling. Being independent is hard, it’s even harder when your income is soley your disability check, as in the case for me since I lost my job two weeks ago. I honestly don’t know how people do it. I love I’m what’s called a Right To Work state so finding jobs are hard in a state where you can technically still be discriminated against.

As a person with a disability, what are the things you face on a daily / weekly basis that frustrate you?
*In your home- Minor tasks can be a challenge, like sewing or putting together furniture. I have been learning how to cook with my mom when she visits me during the summer, but cutting vegetables and measuring are still hard on me, resulting in food that resembles something out of Kitchen Nightmares
*outside your home Traveling by the bus system. Nuff said.

Are there any tips or tricks you use in daily life you’d like to pass on to another VI/ disabled person?
To help with finances, I use a white board to help me remember what bills I need to pay. I have a folder set up on my phone that has my bill paying websites bookmarked, since paying online is easier for me to do than paper. When going to new unfamiliar places, I put Google maps on and use that to let me know what stops I need to get off at. I rely heavily on that when I travel so I always leave portable battery chargers in my bag, just in case. I also tied a lanyard wallet to my purse that holds my bus pass so I can easily find it.

Do you use Assisstive technology in your daily living?
Google Maps with the speech on is a lifesaver. I also have a small digital magnifier that helps with small print reading.

What piece of advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed? Or going through a deterioration in vision / or mobility? It doesn’t hurt to admit you need help.

Any advice you’d like to give to a person with sight / no disabilities? Never give up on your dreams, no matter how outlandish they may be.

Did you seek out any specialist services / charities to help you and your family deal with your situation?
I received help from Floridia Department of Blind Services and have taken advantage of mobility classes upon first moving down here from Ligjhthouse of Central Florida. When I was in college up In Rhode Island, I learned to accept my disability and the basics of self advocacy from Advocates In Action Rhode Island, a great non profit that helps people (mostly with developmental disabilities) learn that they can lead a meaningful life and have a say in their care plans. I owe my life to them, for without them, you wouldn’t be reading this now.

Where can people find you out in the world?
*Blog – Legally Blind Bagged
Legallyblindbagged.wordpress.com

*FaceBook- Legally Blind Bagged
https://m.facebook.com/LegallyBlindBagged/

Follow me on The Mighty
https://themighty.com/author/mandy-ree/

Anything you’d like to add my lovely?
On August 23rd at 4pn EST, I will be doing a live Q&A on the Mighty Facebook Page. I will also be speaking at the Advocates in Action Statewide Self Advocacy conference in Warwick RI October 27. More details will be shared on my Legally Blind Bagged Facebook page soon.



Thank you so much for participating Mandy, it was a very insightful read! I’m sorry to hear of the troubles you have faced due to your disability, and the lack of confidence that others have thurst upon you. It must be very disheartening! But good for you for powering through and proving how strong you are ! You are clearly very passionate about Disney and I hope your book goes well! Best wishes with it all, and keep in touch to let us know how it goes!

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
Interview 9
Interview 10
Interview 11




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

Are You Indirectly Discriminating?

Are you being indirectly discriminative?

The Equality Act 2010 says that indirect discrimination is:
“A practice, policy or rule which applies to everyone in the same way, but has a worse effect on some people more than others.”

Without realising it, we are indirectly discriminating…

How am I indirectly discriminating you may ask?

I will get into that very shortly but first I will give a brief explanation of what the Equality Act is.
The Equality Act 2010 was proposed as a way to combine previous legislation together to make a better stronghold on discrimination and support those who may potentially be discriminated against in the future.

There are 9 protective characteristics:
*Age
*Disability
*Gender Reassignment
*Marriage or Civil Partnership in employment only
*Pregnancy and maternity
*Race
*Religion or belief
*Sex
*sexual orientation
But for today we are focusing on disability.

Disability and Access to Websites.

The Equality Act at Section 21 includes the adoption of a single concept of the provision of a service which covers ; goods, services and facilities among other things.

While the Equality Act 2010 doesn’t expressly refer to websites the consensus has been that the reference to the provision of service does apply to commercial web.
You can find more information on the Statutory Code of Practice.
“Websites provide access to services and goods and may in themselves constitute a service; for example, where they are delivering information or entertainment.”

*****

Websites can be a double edged sword for those with disabilities. People with sensory impairments such as blindness may choose to shop online, but much in the same way shops/ buildings can create physical barriers, a website can present the same barriers.

Screen readers are software programs giving blind and visually impaired people a way to navigate computers, tablets and phones through audio feedback.
Problems arise when user interfaces such as buttons are not labeled correctly, tables are not configured properly and images have no alternative text. Also known as Alt text attributes.

Why is this important?

Imagine the frustration of browsing the internet and being denied crucial information, such as buttons with the Twitter logo only saying link, tables reading non stop from left to right and photographs only saying the word image.

So going back to the earlier question: how am I being indirectly discriminating?

By not labelling these interfaces/ attributes correctly, you are denying visually impaired people access to your website. Whether it is intentional or not.

So what can you do?

By adding Alt text! Adding Alt text is simple; when you upload/ edit a picture on your website, you should give a clear description of the image.
Example:
Brighton Beach with a calm sea and the pier in the distance

The Alt text reads “alt=”Brighton Beach with a calm sea and the pier in the distance” which will be read aloud on all screen reader software.

Likewise, if you are adding a text based image to your website, you need to include the original text of the image as screen readers cannot distinguish the writing/text.

Flowers with the caption "Smile, and the world will smile with you!"

The Alt text reads “alt=”Flowers with the caption "Smile, and the world will smile with you” which will be read aloud on all screen reader software.

Blogging and SEO.

so you’re a blogger and you bake a delicious cake, you’ve been told to include Chocolate Cake Recipe , in every image of your tasty treat. In order for SEO to give you better rankings you need to include the Title for every image caption, right?

WRONG!!

The caption/ tag area is for Alt Text descriptions. Blind and visually impaired users need to know what the image is about, and SEO will also penalise you for not doing this.
SEO sees this as spam. In order for you to get good SEO rankings as well as being lawfully abiding, your images/ photos should have a brief description.

Most blogs are being indirectly discriminative, and not just to visually impaired people. People with other sensory impairments, motor skill problems and cognitive issues may also be indirectly discriminated against.

If you are unsure whether or not your website or blog is indirectly discriminating, you can use these free tools below to check.
Please think about your potential audience before you hit publish.
Make sure your user interfaces are labelled correctly, images have Alt text and videos have a written translation of what your video contains, especially if it is a slideshow of images.

http://wave.webaim.org/
https://tenon.io/
https://www.squizlabs.com/general/html-codesniffer




 

References
https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/employment-statutory-code-practice
http://www.firstcovers.com/userquotes/111218/smile,+and+the+world.html
https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/helping-people-to-use-your-service/making-your-service-accessible-an-introduction
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents
https://www.w3.org/WAI/




Happy Diaries #13

Hello Diary,

I’ve had a very fluctuating week and the weather being bipolar wasn’t great either!

My cane tip arrived at the end of last week which meant i could actually leave my home, see friends and volunteer 🙂

I wrote a guest post for the lovely Lolly earlier in the week and it was called Are Mobile Phones Materialistic Or A Necessity 🙂

Spending time with friends was particularly good as I felt that it was truly needed.

My Sister has come to stay for a few days so it will be good to spend some quality time together and go shopping!

Gary, Francis and I went out to a Thai restaurant with a few friends and it was rather enjoyable; Francis particularly enjoyed her dessert – pistachio ice-cream with frozen strawberries and strawberry sauce!

Gratitude List

Having Gary around when i’ve been at my most vulnerable.
Getting a massage from my friend, it always releases my Arthritic tension 🙂
Seeing and spending quality time with my sister
Eating yummy food and enjoying brilliant company
it’’s only 6 sleeps until BritMums or five if you are going to the welcome drinks like me!
I am extremely excited for the week ahead!

Until next time!




Disability Q&A #8 Emily Davison

Welcome back to my #Disability Q&A series! 🙂

Today’s interview is brought to you by the lovely Emily Davison, before I started blogging I had come across her YouTube channel and loved what she had to say. She has pazazz and an obvious love for fashion and beauty.
When I started this Disability Q&A I knew from the get go I wanted to have her on board! So I was extremely happy when she agreed to participate! 🙂

Without sounding too much like a fan girl i’l hand you over to the lady herself…
Tell me about yourself:
Hello i’m Emily Davison, i’m 21
and I live in London, England. I’m a

MA Student, Journalist, Public Speaker, Podcast Presenter and Writer.
I love writing, reading, swimming, astronomy, blogging and nature photography.

Now we know the basics, can we learn a bit more about you?

I’m just your average kind of girl, I’m at University studying for an MA in Children’s Literature. I love to write and read books,

What is the medical reason you have a disability?
I was born with a condition known as Septo Optic Dysplasia, a congenital condition which affects the endocrine system, hormone production system and in some cases, vision.

Have you had your Visual impairment / disability from birth?
I have, yes.

Which terminology do you prefer: Partially Sighted, Visually Impaired, Sight Impaired, Severely Sight Impaired or Blind?

I prefer to be called Severely sight impaired.

Do you have a cane, Guide Dog or neither?
I have both, but my guide dog is my number one choice of course!

If you could extinguish your disability, would you? – If not, please explain why.
I wouldn’t, it’s how nature intended me to be. I was born with my disability so I don’t know life any other way. I’ve grown to accept the person I am, disability included and I couldn’t imagine life without it.

For those who do not know much about your VI what can you see?
I have no vision in my right eye and restricted vision in my left. I have only central vision in my left eye and can only see things that are relatively close by.

How has your disability effected you?
Its more a physical kind of thing, it affects my sight as well as my immune system and I suffer with low blood sugar. So it can be very debilitating at times, but it can sometimes affect me mentally in so far that in the passed I have suffered with Depression and Anorexia as a result of it.

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

Absolutely, my disability has taught me so many things about who I am as a person, what I can do, my strengths and how to overcome adversity.
Its taught me to embrace diversity and not to judge people for who they are and the choices they make.
It’s taught me to try and not judge a book by its cover and remember that everyone is going through their own battles.
Its enabled me to look deep inside myself and find the strength I need to get through each day and grow as a person.
Its shown me where my passion lies and what my strengths are, I now know that I want to be an author writing books with characters that represent people with disabilities. It’s shown me that I can channel the power of words to help others like I do with my blogs and articles.
Its taught me to embrace myself for the person I am.

Is there a particular question you get asked often because of your disability? If so, please explain below.

“Are you training that guide dog?”

I get asked this a lot and I think it’s due to the fact that I am a confident person in the way I walk and act. It’s as if people cant accept the idea that someone with a guide dog can also be a confident and outgoing individual. And so anyone who is must therefore be a guide dog trainer.

What are the positives of having a disability?

The humor, being a person with a disability is very comical at times. You get into some very interesting conversations with people and some awkward situations and even though some can be utterly cringe worthy. A lot can be used as some great stories at parties.

It brings me closer to my friends and family because I do a lot of things with them or when I need help with certain things.

The perks, getting discounts on tickets to events, theatres and cinemas, I mean who doesn’t want to get into an event for cheaper?

The people I meet, I get to meet so many amazing people through networking with disability charities and organizations as well as online. I’ve met so many incredible people who have such amazing outlooks on life and stories to tell and that I am truly grateful for.

What are the negatives of having a disability?

When it can hinder the things you want to do or make it that little bit harder. Like when I have to plan a route to a venue based on which tube stations are accessible, that can be frustrating.

Having to deal with remarks about what I can and cannot do and having to deal with negative comments.

What would you say is a difficulty for you being VI / disabled?

People judging you, the hardest part about being disabled I would say is having to hear people’s remarks about your disability and how you should be because of it. It’s so difficult to deal with people who believe that being disabled means you cannot have a quality of life or do anything for yourself. I receive so many remarks from people like “you don’t look blind” or “you don’t seem disabled.” Or when I read comments on my YouTube channel from people who argue that I cannot be visually impaired and that I must be lying because according to their opinion people with sight loss cannot look attractive, wear lipstick or adorn nice clothing.

I can deal with the personal struggles that my disability pits against me, but it’s harder to cope with the stigma that surrounds having a disability that society can create.

As a person with a disability, what are the things you face on a daily / weekly basis that frustrate you?

I think the issues that frustrate me most are when I’m traveling and using public transport. I become most frustrated when I’m on a bus and there’s not enough space for my guide dog. I also find it frustrating when I’m using tubes and other services and the stations are not accessible, such as when they do not have lifts or stairs that I can access.
Using transport, as a disabled person can be extremely stressful at times and I think that is the most challenging aspect, for me, about living with a disability.

Are there any tips or tricks you use in daily life you’d like to pass on to another VI/ disabled person?

There are plenty! I’d need a year to simply write down and divulge my little tricks and tips. But, here are a few.

Organize your clothes in order of the color spectrum, in order of red all the way down to violet. Make sure you have a system to organize your clothes so that you know where everything is and you can plan outfits easier.

With makeup, try and make your life easier by doing little things to help like tinting your eyelashes and threading and tinting your eyebrows. If you struggle to apply brow products or to get the shape of your brows, use stencils, which can be bought for a few pounds on eBay. They are honestly a real life saver when it comes to brows.

If you cant see the print of something like on a package, simply take a photo of it on your iPhone and zoom in on it to see it. Its simply, quick and easy.

Do you use Assistive technology in your daily living?
I use all Apple technology including an iPad, iPhone and a Macbook. I love Apple technology because it has all the accessibility features built in and you can easily customize them to your needs and preferences.
But, I also use an application on my Mac called Claro Read which can read text to me and scan documents into accessible formats such as PDFs and Word documents.
I use a Snow electronic magnifier to read print and magazines.
In the kitchen I use a talking microwave, talking scales, talking jug and liquid level indicator.
I also use the Kindle App, which can be made accessible on an iPhone with the Voiceover features.

What piece of advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed? Or going through a deterioration in vision / or mobility?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, asking for help is a human need and we all have to at some point or another, disabled or not.
But, the other important thing to remember is to keep an open mind, take on board all the advice you are given and the support you are offered. Do as much as you can to enrich your life and take on whatever opportunities you can to move forward and move on.

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

Don’t judge a book by its cover. Always keep an open mind and remember that behind each person lies a story. Until we know that story we can never begin to presume anything about who they are.

Did you seek out any specialist services / charities to help you and your family deal with your situation?

When I was 6 I began to use Blind Children UK and RNIB Talking Book Catalogue to access books and to read independently. I also used the RNIB and their services including their helpline and products throughout my school years and still do to this day. I also used the RNIB helpline for advice when applying for DSA and University related advice. When I was 17 I contacted Guide Dogs to apply for a guide dog and when I was 18 I was given a beautiful little four-legged friend by the name of Unity who is my eyes, my confidence and my freedom.

Where can people find you out in the world?
Blog: fashioneyesta.com
YouTube: youtube.com/user/fashioney…
Second YouTube Channel: youtube.com/channel/UCX-t0…
FaceBook: facebook.com/Fashioneyesta
Twitter: twitter.com/DavisonEm
Instagram: instagram.com/fashioneyesta2…
Pintrest: pinterest.com/emilykd94/
Audioboom: audioboom.com/fashioneyesta
Tumblr: fashioneyesta.tumblr.com
Email: fashioneyesta@gmail.com

TtT




Thank you so much Emily! I’m blown away by how much information you’ve shared with us today! I am sure many of us will be taking away a lot of your useful tips to help keep our lives running that bit smoother!
Thank you also for sharing some of your darker times, as you said everyone is human and we all should ask or at least accept help now and again! 🙂

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




Disability Q&A #7 Leah Miller

Welcome back to this months disability Q&A!

Today’s interview is brought to you by Leah. She and I met through our love of blogging, when I started to read her blog not only was I fascinated by how honest and open she was about disability, but I loved that she too was trying to spread awareness of mental illness.
I knew I wanted to have her guest post on my blog in one way shape or form, and she kindly agreed to the Q&A!
I hope you enjoy her guest post, and learn something new! 🙂 over to you lovely…

Tell me about yourself:
Hi, I’m Leah Miller, I’m 33 and I live
in Hampshire.
my jobs include: Social Media Manager, mummy, wife and skivvy! I love reading, writing, blogging and photography 🙂

Now we know the basics, can we learn a bit more about you?

What is the medical reason you have a disability?
I am medically diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety.

When were you first diagnosed?
I was first diagnosed in 2011, having suffered for over 10 years.

Did you notice changes within yourself first, or did someone else?
I knew the changes were there, but couldn’t associate them with anything other than feeling all wrong. It was my husband who finally came to me to tell me I needed some help.

Do you refer to yourself as a person with a disability? If not, why not?
Not anymore, because I am managing my situation. It is also very difficult for people to understand mental illness as a disability, many people still see it as a choice.

Do you tell others about your disability? Or do you prefer to keep that to yourself until you are comfortable with the person knowing?
It took many years to feel comfortable enough to talk about it. It wasn’t until I realised that by talking I could help others that I took the plunge.

Do you take any medication, or have you in the past?
I do, I take daily medication.

What were your initial thoughts about taking medication?
I knew that I needed it, to the point of almost craving it.

Did you suffer with any side affects? If so, please explain.
There were no side effects, until I had to come off the tablets when I fell pregnant, then I was incredibly sick.

If you could extinguish your disability, would you? – If not, please explain why.
No, because it has helped me to become the person that I am today. I didn’t like the old me at all. In fact I would go as far as to say I hated her. Now, I can honestly say that I like myself, and am learning to love certain aspects – baby steps!!

For those who do not know much about your disability how does it affect your mobility?
*Tired/ exhausted
*Weak
*Unsteady on your feet

All of the above, it makes every small thing seem like the most epic task. It makes the world seem dark and unfriendly, and it makes you so incredibly conscious of everything.

How has your disability effected you?
*Socially
*physically
*Mentally

Again, all of the above. It stole 10 years of my life, my entire 20’s, and the first years of my kids lives.

Do you think your disability has made you who you are today?
*Please give a positive example of how this has done so…

100%. The old me is gone, and it has been replaced with a much better version, like a Leah Mark 2.

Is there a particular question you get asked often because of your disability? If so, please explain below.

What have you got to be depressed about?

It has been said to me so many times it has almost become laughable. It hurts, so deeply, and yet I am starting to learn that people just don’t have any understanding. They are not meaning to be cruel, they are just uneducated on the subject. I am using my blog to try to change that.

What are the positives of having a disability?
Realising that you are not alone, and having the rallying support of true friends and family.

What are the negatives of having a disability?
Complete and pure isolation. A constant feeling of worthlessness and hating yourself.

What would you say is a difficulty for you being disabled?
*Relationships
*Parenting
*Working

Again, all of the above. My marriage was strained but not broken, my parenting was tested to its full extent and I struggled to work due to my crippling social anxiety. I left my job, for many reasons, and was shunned by my work colleagues who had no understanding of my situation.

As a person with a disability, what are the things you face on a daily / weekly basis that frustrate/ worry you?
*In your home – One of the symptoms of my diagnosis is that I am unable to control my need to keep a clean home. Unobtainable perfection has driven me to the verge of insanity. There is also the feeling of being trapped, and yet the idea of going outside is scary beyond belief.
*outside your home – My social anxiety means that I avoid all eye contact and conversations. I struggle massively to make friends and assume that everyone is laughing at me.

Are there any tips or tricks you use in daily life you’d like to pass on to another disabled person?
*Remembering to take medication? Definitely.
*Making sure you keep any plans that you make.
*Meditation – This really helps, it is an opportunity for reflection and quiet time.
*Exercise – This has been a literal life saver for me, it raises the serotonin levels in your body, which are your happiness levels.

What piece of advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed? Or going through a similar position?

It gets better, take your medication, take counseling if offered and you will soon see a difference.

Any advice you’d like to give to a person with no mental health issues?

Please show some understanding. Please listen and don’t judge. And please look out for people who may need help, and are not yet ready to accept it themselves yet.

Did you seek out any specialist services / charities to help you and your family deal with your situation?
*I attended Cognitive Therapy session, though didn’t find them helpful for me.
*Counseling was invaluable, it was the best decision I ever made, even though I nearly didn’t attend my first session.

Where can people find you out in the world?

*Blog – www.and1moremakes3.com

*FaceBook – www.facebook.com/and1moremakes3

*Twitter – www.twitter.com/and1moremakes3_

*Email – and1moremakes3@hotmail.com




Thank you Leah for giving us a glimpse into your world living with depression and anxiety! I’m so grateful that you have shared your story, because I to believe that it’s not talked about enough, and people do think that mental illness is a choice. And it really isn’t! I am so happy to hear that you are in a better place now and your husband supported you throughout! ❤️

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




Happy Diaries #9

Hello Diary,

This week has been tough, with my emotions,and feeling crappy, but this series is about finding the positive within the sadness. chaos/ depression.

So what has happened this week that I have enjoyed?

We had our Tribal Awards this week, and I was awarded the inspire award! I was extremely chuffed to say the least! The amusing bit, was probably where it was announced, and I had no clue, because my phone crashed! It suddenly went crazy, buzzing away violently! It took me a good few minutes just for my phone to stop playing dead, so I could actually read what was going on!
Encase none of this makes any sense; our Tribe hosts a Twitter live chat every Tuesday evening between 8-9PM, and this was when our awards were announced!
A massive thank you to Queen Katie for all the time and effort she put into making the badges, and creating the awards!
She has a golden soul this one!

Sunset/sunrise with inspire winner text

It was also Gary’s birthday this week, so we had a nice romantic meal, and some quality time together! 🙂

We have booked our holiday abroad! It just so happens to be where my best friend is getting married!!! 😉 I cannot wait!

Gary and I have also started going back to the gym, we both got a bit complacent, and as the gym is a great way of us letting off steam/ getting fit, it’s also nice to have a new something to focus on! My goal will be to get fitter and tone up, so I don’t look like a wobbly jelly at my best friends wedding in the Summer! 🙂

Gratitude List:

Doing kind things for friends, and seeing their joy, excitement and happiness is just priceless!
* Quality time with Gary, we only really spend about an hour together in the evenings, because we’d rather go online and talk to our friends instead! 😂
* The gym: Going there will not only keep me focused, but it will really keep my mood boosted!
* Blogging: encase that wasn’t obvious? 😉 i’m so grateful to all the help, support and encouragement i’ve been getting on my blogging journey. On top of that; I have made some wonderful friends, and I will get to meet them in the Summer!
* My Sister: she went out of her way to campaign and support me this week for the BiBs shortlisting! It doesn’t matter whether or not I become a finalist. I’m ecstatic that I am where I am already. But my gorgeous Sister made it all the more special by being such a fantastic support network! 😽❤️
• #TribalLove now seriously, where would I be without these fantastic women? They are all fantastic in their own way, and I am truly enjoying getting to know them all! The support we give each other is invaluable, and the love that shines through is just fantastic! Congratulations to those who won A Tribal award! And massive hugs to those of you that voted for me! 🍾😙
I’m sure I could waffle on for a lot longer, because I have so much to be grateful for, as well as things to be positive about.
But I don’t want to bore you or myself any longer!

Until next time,

Much love,
Sassy x