“The Reality Of…” is a series with the aim to raise awareness of disabilities, illnesses, impairments, etc. Also, educating others about the barriers that disabled people and carers face. I hope this series helps to break down misconceptions and stigma.
Life doesn’t have to stop when you have a disability.
Hello! I’m Georgina and I’m 26 from Sheffield. I’ve lived in Sheffield since I was 2 so it’s all I’ve ever known.
I was a perfectly healthy plus size teenager when we got into a car accident. It wasn’t that bad or dramatic at all, but I ended up with really bad whiplash. Chronic whiplash turned into chronic spinal pain, and later I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME as well. I’ve not had a single day where I haven’t been in pain since the car accident and it has progressively become worse over time. Living in constant pain has led me to need to sometimes use a wheelchair.
I’m in constant pain. Constant. My pain is all over now, I get pains up and down my arms and some days I wake up with a heavy unusable arm. I can have back spasms if I bend over, pick something up, or try to put my own clothes on. I get shooting pains up my arms when I try to put a bra on. I can’t stand and cook in the kitchen without back spasm pains. I can’t even lay in bed with the softest bedding possible and all the comfy padding, without being in pain.
The only time I’m not in pain is when I sleep. With my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I can sleep quite a lot and do need a lot of sleep to function. I often need daytime naps and if I’m really bad and flaring, I won’t be awake for more than a few hours a day.
How It Affects Me
It affects every aspect of my life, it’s stopped me from being able to do a lot. From being able to do more work, from going out and having a social life. It’s really frustrating.
Learning To Adapt
Honestly, it’s been posting online that has helped me the most. Even when I post about having a bad day, I’ll get a message saying that I’ve helped an able person understand more, or helped a fellow disabled person to feel like they’re not alone. It’s helped me immensely and rather than feeling hopeless, it actually helps me to feel positive and like I can help others.
My wheelchair helps so much when I need to go out now. Beforehand, I would avoid going out because I couldn’t manage to walk for long periods of time without intense pain. I would need to come home after an hour or two but with my wheelchair, I can stay out longer and enjoy things again. It took awhile for me to accept that I needed one, but now I’ve transitioned from a transit chair to a power wheelchair and I absolutely love it.
I’ve named her Goldie because she’s Gold and now that I’m shielding and not going anywhere, I’m actually really missing her!
Have I Changed As A Person?
Definitely, and in a really positive way. I wouldn’t say that I was a purposely ignorant person before, but I definitely didn’t understand the world as much as I do now. I didn’t see beyond myself and now I’m constantly thinking about other people and how things will affect them. I’m a lot more mindful, I’m a lot stronger mentally, and I’m a lot more empathic.
My Favourite Superhero
I’m a huge marvel fan and it has to be Iron Man, I love a dry and, sometimes, dark sense of humour, and a lot of sarcasm to get through things, and he does it all so well!