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Pain Chronicles: The Additional Cost of Being Disabled

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. 


Caroline’s note: I’ve written this month’s column along with my mum, Shaz. You can find my bits in regular type, and hers in bold (because she always is). Hope you enjoy.

I’ll always remember the doctors’ note I got at university so that I could type in exams rather than handwrite. The doctor mentioned I’d been doing the same in ‘A’ Levels. Inverted commas and all. I can’t quite remember how much it was, I think around the £30 mark. £30 so I could access the same education as my classmates. And disabled students’ allowance may have covered that, but the forms were arduous and I really didn’t have it in me to do it.

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Tech Companies: Focus on fixing the Infrastructure, not Disability

It’s like an ableist version of Groundhog Day. Except instead of Bill Murray as a disgruntled weatherman, it’s a young spectacled 20-something in a chequered shirt telling you how the seventh pair of sign language gloves “really is the one this time, folks!”

And if it’s not sign language gloves, then it’s wheelchairs which can make its user stand up or, more recently, vibrating shoes for the blind and visually impaired. Every day tech companies leave us spoilt for choice when it comes to accessible technology we actually don’t need – or want.

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#FreeBritney has Shown Just how Damaging Conservatorships are to Disabled People

Last week when Britney Spears bravely gave evidence in her own conservatorship case, the world was rightly horrified to hear how her abusive father and team have controlled her life for the past 13 years. However, the case has drawn light to how similar practices are used to overpower disabled across the globe, as H.J discusses. 

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Self Forgiveness After the Storm: how I Learned to Live a Better Life with BPD

TW: mentions of self harm and suicidal thoughts/actions

At the best of times, the symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) are like listening to rain gently tapping on your bedroom window; you know it’s there and that it’s probably going to continue to rain for a while, but it’s not necessarily distressing and the noise can easily pass you by. 

At the worst of times, it feels like the rain has poured through a gap in your window and is filling up your room while you’re struggling to keep your head above the water. 

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all disabled and sexual features opinion

Disabled and Sexual: How Internalised Ableism Gave me Sexual Imposter Syndrome

Disabled and Sexual is a new monthly(-ish) column by Hannah Shewan Stevens which will explore all the challenges, comedy, and fun that disabled people experience as sexual beings, even while we are desexualised by a predominantly non-disabled society.


In daily life, the words ‘I am an imposter’ play on an interminable loop in my head. Most of the time, I shrug them off and dive back into whatever I’m doing, but when those words pop up during sex they are much harder to ward off.

Those words are also the reason you’re reading my second column a lot later than I intended. The original theme of this month’s column was very different and although you will still read it in June, these words just had to come first.

Every time I sat down to write, I felt like the word ‘imposter’ was emblazoned across my forehead.

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Line of Duty’s Tommy Jessop is Leading the way for Actors With Down Syndrome

Line Of Duty is one of, if not the biggest fictional crime drama in the UK. It follows AC-12, an anti-corruption unit investigating unlawful activities within the police force and stars the likes of Vicky McClure and Martin Compston however those familiar with the television series will also know long-serving cast member Tommy Jessop.

Tommy plays civilian character Terry Boyle who throughout the six series has been a victim of cuckooing, a term used to describe when drug dealers invade the homes of vulnerable individuals for criminal activity. 

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As an Autistic Person, I’m Tired of Autism Awareness Day

Every year, as April approaches, I always find myself feeling a bit off-colour. My mood dips, my anxiety spikes and I have a much shorter fuse than I usually do. For a long time, I never really understood why the month bothered me so much. Then, as March drew to a close, it hit me. Autism Awareness Day was coming. And I couldn’t be less enthusiastic for it if I tried.

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Introducing The Unwritten Disability and Abuse Survey

It’s been a tough few weeks for women, femmes and all those of marginalised genders who have experienced abuse at the hands of men.

Out of all of the hurt and pain however has come a new battle cry, a demand that we will not be treated like this again. But, unfortunately it’s something that disabled people have been largely left out of.

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Disabled Women Are The Sexual Assault Epidemic No One Talks About

TW: Murder of Sarah Everard, sexual assault/harassment concerns, victim blaming. There are links to places to find support at the bottom of this article.

We are told that “statistics are human beings with the tears dried off.” Hearing about mass suffering can generate surprise and concern. But it can also desensitise. When the problem seems too big to contemplate, it can make the most personal crises feel impersonal.

In the three years ending March 2018, disabled women were almost twice as likely to have experienced any form of sexual assault in the last year (5.7%) than non-disabled women (3.0%). There is a degree of apathy that comes with numbers; they feel so far removed; we don’t see the families consumed by grief; men in the last year murdered 118 women.  

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Actor James Moore on Why Adults with Cerebral Palsy are “Second Class Citizens”

It must be a big shock to suddenly lose all support and healthcare when you turn 18, but this is the reality for adults with Cerebral Palsy.

As March is Cerebral Palsy Month, Adult Cerebral Palsy Hub, has unveiled a set of mock ‘Second Class Stamps’ featuring famous famous with the condition, to highlight the lack of support given to adults with CP across the UK which means they are treated as, the charity says ‘Second Class Citizens’.

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