So, it’s now “Freedom Day”. After watching people attack disability activists for supporting the delay this last month, here it is. I watched last week’s Downing Street briefing from behind my fingers. The Prime Minister stood there ignoring all of the figures. Chris Witty and Patrick Valance flanking him, giving his b*llocks an air of respectability. Both of them appearing to be trying their very hardest not to outright say “I don’t agree with this decision.”
It’s the summer of 2012. I am still at university, using the very last of the term-length pool membership I’d bought. I swim 2 miles. That’s 128 lengths of a 25m pool. The walk back up to the main campus is hard, steep and my bag is heavy with my wet costume. I collapse onto my bed. My hands hurt, but four or five doctors can’t tell me why that is. My knees hurt, but after three doctors, I saw one specialist who said it should clear up by the time I’m 20, which I turned last month. I swallow a dihydrocodeine and sleep for 8 hours.
The NICE guidelines released on 7th April recommend analgesics not be used for primary chronic pain. What they do recommend is exercise, antidepressants, acupuncture, and psychological therapies. Paracetamol and ibuprofen, possibly some of the most widely taken drugs outside of penicillin, that usually cost about 20p for a box of 16, they also can’t recommend.
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.
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.
I jump when my sister walks up behind me in the kitchen, then we watch my Fitbit as my heart rate comes down almost double because of the scare. I don’t know if my parents were scared about me growing up as a deaf young woman. They knew I was fiercely determined and were probably quite afraid to get in my way but I am moderately deaf and don’t hear footsteps, even those of the people I love most, even in the quietest of houses.
It’s been an awful past 12 months, I don’t need to tell anyone that. For disabled people it’s not just been the threat of the pandemic that’s been weighing on our minds. Ever since lockdown was announced last year, disabled people were the first to be thrown under the bus and it hasn’t stopped.
You may think that a film about a neurodiverse character being nominated for a Golden Globe is an incredible leap forward in terms of equality and diversity in the entertainment industry and you’d be correct, but Sia’s film ‘Music’ is rather the opposite.
TW: This post mentions institutional abuse of disabled people.
Recently, it was announced that the Mental Health Act would be facing some landmark reforms in order to tackle its discriminatory overuse against some of the most vulnerable groups in society.
By now you’ve probably seen what the government thinks constitutes for a week of meals adding up to £30, but just in case you don’t inhabit Twitter let me whet your appetite.
There’s been a lot of talk about the new vaccines popping up for covid, and rightly so. This disease is running our lives at the moment – those lives that it’s spared. But there’s something else you should be vaccinated against – the flu.