suzefricker@mylifeaccordingtome.org Available all the time, just send me an email and I will get back to you.

We have a THING!

I have often wondered about the different communities we find ourselves in and wonder how we all survive. What I have realised is we all have a thing.

Now for the purposes of this conversation I call communities based around gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, ethnic background. Each of these communities exist for each characteristic. I do not mean community as in where you live.

For a long time I used to think that the disability community did not have a thing. The thing is the one thing that you can say but people who do not belong to your community can’t because they don’t understand it.

I started buddying up with a disabled colleague who was having a hard time at work. We try and catch up once a week to see how the other is doing and make sure that the world has not exploded. Today she was telling me about an awful screw up her doctors had made with her medication. I couldn’t help but laugh because I had been in a similar situation with a dodgy GP previously.

As I usually do because of being autistic I said “sorry I should not of laughed”. Mainly because I was not sure whether it was acceptable. I get nervous, even with friends, whether I am doing or saying the wrong thing. Now that I know I deal with Autism, I know understand why I struggle but doesn’t make it easier now that I do not have a support worker guiding me through these things.

Anyway she turned round and said, “If someone without disabilities had laughed I would have told them off, but I bet you know where I am coming from”. I explained that I did and told her what had happened to me and we giggled for about 10 minutes about the whole thing.

It did get me thinking however, this is something that the disabled community has as our thing. We can laugh at, or make jokes about our conditions whether its something like dyslexia or fibromyalgia. We can laugh at it but those who do not have it, they cant because they don’t know what it is like to deal with these condition.

However, I ask, has it become too taboo that we can’t make fun of ourselves to make us laugh?

I deal with mental health issues, when I have a bad day or when I see someone is uncomfortable about talking to me about it I make a joke about it. I tend to do this a lot. I get called crazy a lot (mostly from when I am having over stimulated moments I tend to go a bit Cray Cray) but to make someone feel at ease I say “I am not crazy, I am depressed. I don’t take anti-crazy pills I take anti-depressants.” This tends to get the conversation started. I even know the official medical diagnosis of depression so I can give as many facts as I can to people.

However, for every person who becomes comfortable talking about mental health from talking to me in the way I do, you have at least 1 out of every 10 conversations where I am told “You should not laugh at your mental health, it is serious”. I tend to think that these people either have not had to deal with mental health or if they do then they subscribe to the “mental health is a shameful topic” theory.

Has the world become so PC that we can’t talk about things that affect us how we want?

If anyone struggles with disability either theirs of a friend and needs some tips on how to broach the subject please email me at suzefricker@hotmail.com The email at the top of the page does not work so use the one here.

I am not a campaigner

I am not a campaigner!

I know this statement sounds strange but the truth is I am not. I do not believe the world owes me something because I am autistic, dyslexic, with depression and spinal problems. I know the world does not work in a way where those in need get what they need. However, some people think that because I blog that I am a campaigner.

The truth behind what I do however, is not so much campaigning but more PR.

The disabled community has two things against them.

The first thing is that when someone with disabilities wants to work it is hard to find someone who will hire them. Obviously work places can not discriminate on disability grounds but we all know that if two candidates with the same qualifications and experience go for a job, it is more likely that the one without disabilities will get the job.

Then if someone with a disability gets a job they lose the support that they need to survive from the government. There are benefits that I could be on with advice given to me that if I stopped working I could get them. But unless I am willing to give up work I am not allowed them. How fair is this? Your telling someone who wants to work who would be entitled to the benefit that they have to loose the purpose in their life to get the help they need.

The other thing we have against us is our own community. There are people out there juts like in all communities who will say “fuck it I am disabled I don’t have to ever work again”. Because of this attitude when they are made to work they leave such a bad taste in their employers mouths that the next person who has that disability will get “oh no not another one”.

So what can we do?

I choose to role model myself in to how I would like people to view me both personally and professionally. I tell my team what sets me off, what of me can be changed and what can’t and I have open and honest dialogue with people.

I tell everyone that if I do something to upset you then I need them to explain it to me not just say “oh she is autistic” or “she has depression”. This works for no one.

I am as open and honest as I know how to be so that when the next person has my job, if they have depression, autism, physical disabilities, dyslexia the word my team say is not going to be “oh not another one” but in fact “Yes we have another one”.

Only we can change how people view us. Only we can show them that we are as good as those without disability. We don’t need campaigners, we need people willing to go out and show the world, disability does not mean we are useless.

So my challenge to all those with disabilities. Go out, find a way to show the world the amazing things that you can do. Show the world your amazing gifts that your disability gives you. We all have something. Don’t hide it but show the world the amazingness that is you.