all Essays Pain chronicles

I Wish it Wasn’t Mandatory, Dying

Trigger warning: this article talks about dealing with impending death, dying and cancer.

At least not when you’re in your early 30s. It’s not supposed to go like that. My parents aren’t supposed to be planning for what happens when they bury their only daughter.

But I’ve found myself again, clutching my hands in my lap as I sit across from these very clever doctors who speak with soft voices and say words I’m not supposed to be hearing. 

Palliative. Inoperable. 

They suggest timelines (a literal deadline) that only adds up to months and it feels like the world is ending. Because it is. My world is ending. A lot quicker than I’d intended.

all Stories

What the Slow Train to Reading Taught One Severely Sight Impaired Traveller

I find the best way to pass the time when sitting on a train is to put pen to paper. This article began with me sitting on one at Didcot Parkway. I should never have been here, but an incident at Oxford led to me missing my intended train (but more about that later). 

It had been an eventful day leading to me discovering I’d reached the milestone of being Severely Sight Impaired. It had also highlighted how varied the support can be when travelling independently with a disability.

all Essays

How my ADHD Diagnosis Gave Me Permission to Stop Trying too Hard

My impending return to the office a few months ago had led me to become extremely stressed. But I didn’t think it was actually the pandemic concerns that were setting me astir, so I resolved to investigate something about myself that I’d long suspected.

A few years ago, in therapy sessions, my then-therapist and I had mutually come to the conclusion that it was likely I had a form of ADHD. Getting to this understanding had given me some peace of mind, and I started writing about it in my research and scholarship. 

Reframing my past experiences and social struggles as a legitimate impairment had made me feel a little better, but we still live in a world where a lack of diagnosis creates a bit of a liminal state. 

all features

PIP Assessments Insist We Perform Disability, So I Wrote a Play About It

Trigger Warning: This article contains mentions of suicide, discussions of the benefits system and dehumanisation of disabled people.

Very few people have to beg for their lives. 

And of those, how many have to beg every year to two years? 

all opinion

How the Media Discusses Daniel Radcliffe’s Dyspraxia is Outdated and Damaging

In the mid-1990s, I received my dyspraxia diagnosis. Like a lot of women my age, I have read all seven Harry Potter books and have seen every single movie adaption. Full disclosure though: I was a Harry Potter fan before I knew that J. K Rowling is transphobic, and that’s a subject for another article, at another point in time.

As a dyspraxic former Harry Potter nerd though, it’s always a small victory to see an article on Daniel Radcliffe’s dyspraxia. The more the word gets out there about dyspraxia the better because it makes my life a lot easier.

all Columns Pain chronicles

Pain Chronicles: What a Massive Pain

Pain Chronicles is a monthly(-ish) column from Caroline McDonagh-Delves about coming to terms with living with a chronic illness. It will include funny stories and brutal honesty, with some thrown-in chats with her mum Shaz, and other friends too, along the way. 

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you may be aware that I broke my ankle in November. I think I may have mentioned it once or twice. With a bit of luck, by the time you’re reading this, I’ll be pretty much back to “normal”.

I know I’m on my way back to “normal” because my regular pain is starting to come back to me. My usual fibromyalgia problem areas are my shoulders, my lower back and hips, as well as overall fatigue. Of course, other parts of my body tend to get worried they’re missing out and jump in on the action, so you never really can tell what’ll hurt, but they’re the primary problem areas. The other night, my lower back hurt more in bed than my foot did.

all News Uncategorised

You Should be Thankful you Haven’t had COVID-19, not Envious

 Trigger warning: this article features discussions of COVID-19 deaths, especially of disabled people and what is considered by many as eugenics.

Imagine witnessing death and destruction on a large scale. You see it on rolling 24-hour-news, in newspapers and on social media. It invades every part of your life as you see a daily death toll and the stressed and desperate faces of frontline staff. 

all features

The New Year’s Resolutions the UK Government needs to Make for Disabled People

The last two years haven’t been fantastic for anyone — but they’ve been awful for disabled people.

On January 2, 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson shared a tweet that is dripping in irony, one global pandemic and two variants of concern later. “This is going to be a fantastic year for Britain,” he writes, giving his best Churchill impression to the camera as he sticks his thumbs up as if to represent some kind of universal reassurance to the nation. 

Two months later, the country went into a national lockdown — with The Times later revealing Johnson’s numerous attempts to dodge and delay taking action against the pandemic.

all features

How tick, tick…BOOM! Missed a Crucial Aspect of Jonathan Larson’s Story

When I was 11 years old, I was friends with two sisters who lived down the street. They were a few years older than me, and they were obsessed with a musical called RENT.

I didn’t really understand a lot of what was going on in RENT at first. They played the soundtrack for me, singing and dancing along to the songs, and soon I became obsessed with it too. I wasn’t quite sure what drew me to it, but over time, I grew to connect with the soundtrack in new, evolving ways, and eventually got a chance to see the show live.

RENT was my earliest introduction to queer culture. Though I can identify problematic elements in it now, and I wish the story had been written by someone with lived experience of being LGBTQ+, it meant a lot to me to see inclusion back then, especially as I was exploring my own identity.

I remember learning that the creator, Jonathan Larson, died tragically just before the play opened.

But it wasn’t until I saw the new Netflix movie tick, tick… BOOM! that I finally looked it up and learned the details of what happened—and found out that Jonathan Larson actually died from medical neglect of the same type of chronic illness that I have.

all features review

Short Film LOVE shows why Neurodiversity in Media is So Vital

Editors note: the writer of this piece was given the tickets for free, this did not affect their review.

“One day he said to me, he could never imagine himself to be a lead in a film.”

LOVE is a short film starring Jules Robertson, an autistic man playing Oscar – but the production team says it is a film about unrequited love from his perspective, rather than a film about autism itself.