How does my disability affect health and wellbeing?

Mental wellbeing

I’ve had a lot of ups and downs mostly due to the stress of having to recruit Personal Assistants and contemplating moving out of my parent’s house for what will be the 6th time. My wellbeing has improved as I now have a solicitor to assist me in fighting for my rights.

Mental health therapy has been really hard to access for me. I don’t know if this is because of my disability, many private services I’ve asked about don’t have wheelchair access. Waiting times within the NHS are horribly long for anyone at the moment, even if there are no additional needs to worry about.

Needing someone to assist me with virtually every task negatively impacts my mental health but I’m hopeful that with the right support in place, my mental wellbeing will be boosted.

I started inclusivelivingconcepts to help me work through what is going on in my life. Thinking that writing about my experiences would not only help others but also improve my own mental health as well.

I also attend an online mental health platform called SpokzPeople. I wanted to write a post for Mental Health Awareness Day but was too overwhelmed to post anything. Mental health is important and not just one day a year. Wellbeing is becoming more prominently talked about. Poor mental health can be triggered by both big and small situations.

Talk to someone if you are feeling low or struggling no matter what the reason. See the list of helplines below.

This picture shows a black telephone handset with a black circle around it. The background between the phone and circle is white

Helplines:

There are accessible options if you find using a phone inaccessible due to a disability. The info below was taken from the Mind website:

Samaritans

To talk about anything that is upsetting you, you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call 116 123 (free from any phone), email jo@samaritans.org or visit some branches in person. You can also call the Samaritans Welsh Language Line on 0808 164 0123 (7 pm–11 pm every day).

SANEline

If you’re experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else, you can call SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (4.30 pm–10.30 pm every day).

National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK

Offers a supportive listening service to anyone with thoughts of suicide. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK on 0800 689 5652 (6 pm to midnight every day).

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)

You can call the CALM on 0800 58 58 58 (5 pm–midnight every day) if you are struggling and need to talk. Or if you prefer not to speak on the phone, you could try the CALM webchat service.

Shout 

If you would prefer not to talk but want some mental health support, you could text SHOUT to 85258. Shout offers a confidential 24/7 text service providing support if you are in crisis and need immediate help.

The Mix

If you’re under 25, you can call The Mix on 0808 808 4994 (3 pm–midnight every day), request support by email using this form on The Mix website or use their crisis text messenger service.

Papyrus HOPELINEUK

If you’re under 35 and struggling with suicidal feelings, or concerned about a young person who might be struggling, you can call Papyrus HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141 (24 hours, 7 days a week), email pat@papyrus-uk.org or text 07786 209 697.

Nightline

If you’re a student, you can look on the Nightline website to see if your university or college offers a night-time listening service. Nightline phone operators are all students too.

Switchboard

If you identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, you can call Switchboard on 0300 330 0630 (10 am–10 pm every day), email chris@switchboard.lgbt or use their webchat service. Phone operators all identify as LGBT+.

C.A.L.L.

If you live in Wales, you can call the Community Advice and Listening Line (C.A.L.L.) on 0800 132 737 (open 24/7) or you can text ‘help’ followed by a question to 81066.

Helplines Partnership

For more options, visit the Helplines Partnership website for a directory of UK helplines. Mind’s Infoline can also help you find services that can support you. If you’re outside the UK, the Befrienders Worldwide website has a tool to search by country for emotional support helplines around the world.

Physical wellbeing

At the start of the first lockdown in 2020, I had so many plans for the upkeep of my wellbeing, so many tours and shows to watch online and accessible fitness classes for disabled people were being launched. Then I caught COVID-19 and it all went to hell.

One of the main things I realised after venturing outside again was how weak I was. It wasn’t all to do with being ill. I’d spent the best part of a year in a home where everything was adapted to my needs. This meant I wasn’t struggling to transfer. Not needing to access anywhere but my home was great at the time and a boost to my mental and physical health. Most of my pain disappeared but without the daily struggle my body got lazy and I’m still not back to how I was.

In August 2020, I applied for and was given some resistance bands. The scheme run by Wheelpower is now open again. If successful they will post the bands to your home and their website has lots of videos with classes and ideas of how to use them. I still don’t use them regularly but that’s down to my willpower, I am using them more now.

Wellbeing resistance-bands

I’m now attending physio sessions so hopefully this will help me physically. Those of you who follow me will know I already have some fetching new boots and I’ve tried a very expensive wheelchair that holds me in a great position and eliminates my back pain.

Dancing with Motionhouse

Our first performance of Wondrous Stories was on Thursday 17th March, as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival. Dance and more importantly my teammates in Freewheelin’ Dance have an enormous, positive impact on my wellbeing.

Watch the Wondrous Stories performance here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGTukQOMTkI

Wheelchairs and Wellbeing

Without my wheelchair, my wellbeing would suffer. My wheelchair is my legs and my independence, which is why I’m still searching for a suitable second chair. The Q700UP I trialled at my physio session would be amazing but it is very expensive! More on this when I have more time, with pictures I promise.

Journalism

I’m still studying for my certificate in journalism under the ADJ but due to the above, I haven’t managed to progress much. I’m really enjoying the course so far and thankful that the tutors and organisers are understanding when life gets in the way. I hope to complete this qualification before Christmas. Excuse me for mentioning that holiday before November!

Assistance Dog

I’ve always loved dogs. They make me smile from ear to ear! It’s always been a goal of mine to have a four-legged PA and thanks to Canine Partners it’ll happen. Canine Partners train assistance dogs for disabled people. The main tasks for me will be opening/closing doors, picking up anything I drop and assisting me with my coat. I’m hopeful this will mean I can leave the house independently. This will help my wellbeing massively both mentally and physically if I can do things on my own without asking for human help. If only dogs had opposable thumbs… 😂

Collective voices create change and better wellbeing for all

Lastly, I’m a member of several survey and disability groups that ask my opinion on different things, including access and disability. A well-known company is Open Inclusion. There is also The Diversity Standards Collective which pays £10 per survey they send you. I’m not being paid to mention these and there may be others. These are just the companies I am part of and I find it interesting to share my views and hear of others’ experiences as well. The more people, both those with and without a disability provide feedback about products and services the more inclusive the world will be.

If you have any questions or comments about inclusivelivingconcepts please get in touch. I would love to hear from you.