I am beginning to write for a new company called ‘Eq4all’ or ‘Equality for all’. A task I am taking on aswell as running social media accounts is connections in Brighton.
I have began to compile a big fat list of ‘inaccessible’ spots in Brighton. I intend to arrange a meeting with the local council to discuss these as it is not okay! It could take me some time! Bare with…
I also am in the process of having lots and lots of meetings with local charities & organisations to get my ‘a little poorly- Brighton’ group up and running.
Having an invisible disability in a world that ignores people with more visible disabilities is hard. I have ME. I sleep a lot. It’s my main problem. People do not get it because they cannot see it. Sometimes I wish my disabilities were more visible. Although being an ambulatory wheelchair user, (someone who uses a wheelchair but can walk,) I have learnt the British public are very quick to avoid eye contact & walk in the other direction. On days I’m very very fatigued but still have day to day tasks to do getting out and about can be a challenge. The world is not accessible for people like me. People struggle to understand what the word ‘accessible,’ means, accessible can mean a variety of things for a variety of people. Accessible toilets- emergency red cords being at the right height for someone who may fall in a disabled toilet. (10cm off the ground). Having an alternative to a giant step outside a store. Flat ground as opposed to uneven surfaces.
The way I’m looked at in a wheelchair or not looked at – ignored, can have a massive toll on my mental health. I have a mobility scooter but yes I can walk, WOW?! People are amazed when they see me stand out of my scooter – as if they had just seen someone rise from the dead out their coffin. It’s astonishing. I’ve had many a day out on my scooter getting stuck, rammed into boxes of inconveniently placed products in shopping isles or attempting to go up a step & completely misjudging my ability to ‘fly’ & crashing straight into it going flying. It frustrates me that there are sometimes no other options for me. Just the other day I had people staring at me as I disembarked my scooter, attempting to carry it up a step, out of a pothole, falling side to side – dismantling the seat, all to grab some lunch from a shop. A human right. Situations like these trigger immense anxiety but I know I am lucky. I am very stubborn and do not ask for help, even when I know I need it. I am lucky in the sense I am able to stand & walk short distances. The many times I have found myself in situations similar to these, I have stopped- felt sorry for myself and thought about the 13.9M other disabled people in the UK alone who may not be able to have got up that step, or through that doorway. Having a disability means a lot of my control is taken, the inaccessible world is beginning taking my dignity too. Stopping disabled people from having basic human rights sucks & it is not okay.
Where’s my scooter fit into this then?