* This post is written by one of our volunteer content creators. *
I am beyond excited to be writing my very first blog post for the new AYL website - it means so much to have been accepted for this fantastic opportunity. Today I wish to talk to you about my journey as a writer, and how I came across the AYL team.
In March 2017 I founded my blog 'From Bud to Bloom' on which I continued to document my journey with mental illnesses such as eating disorder recovery and depression - as well as discussing other topics I felt passionate about, and it was in doing so that I discovered just how cathartic and healing writing was for me. I had always received comments from English teachers that I had a 'knack' for writing but was never driven to commit to something I could make my own. But my gosh I am so thankful for past Lori for creating my blog that fateful evening in 2017, as through my work I have met some amazing individuals and three of my closest friends; which as a disabled individual is quite something as your social life can take a hit when your life is one with chronic illness(es). Writing gave me a sense of purpose and allowed me to document my journey and observe how I have bloomed over the past few years, to the young woman I am today. It gave me a sense of independence by discussing the difficulties of dependency, to put myself out there and to tackle mental obstacles which I hadn't identified prior to self-actualising through the medium of writing
Over time I found my work becoming increasingly focused around my journey with a chronic illness; during which I had been misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia, which would inevitably see me go without appropriate treatment. After having been suffering from undiagnosed PoTS and Hip Dysplasia for a prolonged period, I found myself being unable to walk safely with crutches and having to rely increasingly on my wheelchair to get around, and my family and I decided it would be best for me to purchase a nicer chair as the model I had at the time wasn't bought as an investment, but a quick fix; and no longer met my needs.
So began my hunt for my current chair - and in doing so I discovered AYL, and saw how many other individuals had EDS and were using wheelchairs for similar reasons. It was the first time I had seen representation in such a manner. Without AYL I would not be the proud owner of LoopWheels, which have been so helpful in reducing vibration and cushioning all of the bumps I frequently experience with living in a rural community, and I certainly wouldn't have this awesome opportunity to connect with you readers, nor had the chance to explore topics and products I previously wouldn't have had the knowledge nor motivation to do so alone.
I hope that your experience with AYL is as fulfilling as mine and many other individuals with disabilities - and that you discover equipment which supports both your lifestyle and your needs. I am so looking forward to seeing my many blog post ideas come to fruition.
With love and gentle hugs