* This post has been written by one of our volunteer content creators. *
Hi, I'm Lauren! I began writing a disability-related blog called ‘aticcersguidetolife’ in the hope of documenting my life as a young person living with a variety of chronic illness, as I quickly realised that there really is not enough support available for people like me. I spend much of my time sleeping due to the nature of my conditions, meaning I’ve had to take some time away from studying English Language and Linguistics at Brighton University whilst we investigate my deteriorating health. Although I know when I eventually return to education, the transition will be hard. But until then, want to keep my brain ticking along by continuing my passion for writing and research.
There were multiple other reasons as to why I decided to create my blog, but it mainly stems from the fact I was tired of explaining my illness to the world! If you are reading this as a chronically ill person perhaps you can relate? As much as I know everyone genuinely cares about me, it is very draining when you have little energy makes take part in those indulging/repetitive health conversations with every medical professional, friend, and family member. Ironically, I also started my blog for the ‘nosy people of the world’, as I came to realise just how many people would ask personal questions despite not knowing anything about me. Frankly, I find it pretty rude, but I try to take these moments as an opportunity to educate. Although bumping into people in the streets whom I have not seen in years was embarrassing, especially now that have Tourette's as it makes such interactions rather hard at times!
I have also struggled with my mental health for many years, which I’m sure you’ll hear me refer to in future posts! In fact, it was at the point where my mental health was suddenly much more stable when I began feeling physical unwell following a break in my coccyx. Obviously, this was just another major setback that I would strive to overcome, but it didn't stop my determination to live a fulfilling lifestyle. Although people often focus on the negative things surrounding disability and have ridiculous preconceptions such as ‘we don't do much other than feeling sorry for ourselves’; when in fact, life can become exceptionally busy when you are poorly all day every day. You also must learn to become your own advocate, secretary, taxi driver, therapist etc!
After a rubbish appointment with a medical professional, resulting in lots of tears, feeling sorry for myself, and sitting around doing nothing, meant that this stereotype was fulfilled. But as always, I soon picked myself back up and began looking for companies that could offer support and advice to young people like myself living with multiple disabilities. I honestly had no idea how to access wheelchair/mobility aid services, care services, referral systems etc, as medical professionals aren’t particularly in the ‘know’. Therefore, I did what everyone else does when they feel a little helpless and consulted doctor google, where I discovered the lovely Lauren from Access your Life!
Being a disabled person can be pretty expensive, so I also wanted to avoid wasting hundreds of pounds on a mobility aid that might not last very long/might not meet my needs! Thankfully AYL allows people like me to learn from their directory of personal experiences, product reviews and video guides, which was so reassuring! But now I want to give people an insight into my world, in the hope that it helps others like me, and I truly believe that AYL is the perfect outlet for me to fulfil these ideologies along-side my own page.
I am beyond excited for the opportunities that are yet to come but until then...
Stay Safe & Take Care - Lauren