chronic illness

Changing the system so that more chronically ill people can work

In May, I started my first ever job which I found through a wonderful charity called Astriid. My job is five hours a week, working from home, with no set hours and amazingly supportive co-workers – the holy grail of employment opportunities for the chronically ill. Even so, it’s been a huge adjustment and ongoing… Read more Changing the system so that more chronically ill people can work

Parenting with both hands tied behind my back

Being a mother is quite simply the most life-affirming, joyful and challenging journey I have ever been lucky enough to undertake. It is a privilege to be my children’s mother and, in a parallel universe, I would have been there every step of the way. I would have been at the school gates every day… Read more Parenting with both hands tied behind my back

"Hidden Illness": photo of duvet and pillow with just one arm emerging from underneath it

It’s not ME, it’s you – can the chronically ill embrace the social model?

The big idea of the social model is to distinguish between ‘impairment’ and ‘disability’: ‘impairment’ is someone’s condition, ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’) in my case, whereas ‘disability’ describes the way that impaired people are oppressed and excluded from society on top of their impairments. This challenges the assumption that disabled people need… Read more It’s not ME, it’s you – can the chronically ill embrace the social model?

Ill versus disabled – is there a distinction between the two?

Disabled activist, Stella Young recently wrote: ‘The social model tells us that we are far more disabled by inaccessible environments and hostile attitudes than we are by our physicality. My disability comes not from the fact that I’m unable to walk but from the presence of stairs.’ How true is this of people who are… Read more Ill versus disabled – is there a distinction between the two?

"Hidden illness": woman standing at a window looking out onto blurry landscape

Sorry

I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. Sorry I can’t make it to your birthday party, your family gathering, your funeral. Sorry, no, I can’t come over for tea on Friday. Why? No, I’m not doing anything else. But I’m going out for lunch the Tuesday before. Yes, I know that gives me Wednesday and Thursday to… Read more Sorry