Category Archives: Disabled Student

Part Two – Creative Reading

Oh my goodness, I honestly didn’t think I was ever going to make it into the next part. I’ve had an awful 2 years, and I feel like I’m just finding my feet again. The awful hyper-vigilance and night terrors have finally gone (thank you SSRI Sertraline).

Now I get to settle back into my studies, hope the OCA will give me a 6 month extension so I don’t have to cram 4 assignments into 1 1/2 months, and expand my art world.

Blue wings on a yellow sky, acrylic paint on paper.

Spreading my wings and moving forward.

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Getting back in the saddle

So I had a disastrous year for my mental health. Between social services’ “crisis management team” not reading my notes on PTSD, a rude neurologist who believes that M.E. is psychological, and the incredibly stressful process of an OIA appeal against OCA and disabled student allowance, I’m finally finding my feet again.

The brain fog has been horrendous and the Complex PTSD keeps setting off my ME. It’s been incredibly difficult to find my baseline to restart pacing. The pain in both my body and spirit has been overwhelming, with no room to process anything else. It started to settle after my local NHS wellbeing service finally found space for me, however after an assessment they told me they couldn’t help as my case was too complicated. I feel really fragile and am hoping that my degree will distract me until I can actually get some counselling. It’s proving difficult to self refer, and the NHS claim they can’t help. Depression seeped into my life and its been hard to find any motivation to get dressed, let alone read course notes.

The OCA has been deafeningly silent. I apparently have a new tutor.

As I try to pick myself up and move on with my degree I wonder what obstacles I’ll have this year. I had to withdraw my appeal for a non medical helper last year due to my mental health, and I wonder how bad asking for help will be this year. Everyone claims that the disabled student allowance is supposed to provide help, but what I need is assistance to get around. When you can’t even leave your house without assistance telling me to get a book out of the library is as difficult as flying to mars. No-one understands. The course material states I should go to a gallery, engage with art first hand, that secondary resources aren’t as good. What happens when you physically can’t get out?

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After a break of 6 years, due to my deteriorating health, starting my degree has been the catalyst for me picking up my camera.  My husband has tried several times over the years to get me engaged back in to my photography, but with little success.  The combination of losing my mobility, strength in my upper body, and the growing anxiety in my gut prevented me from having any faith in my ability to be able to still take photographs.

Sat on Perranporth beach, with a camera strapped to my wheelchair, made me face so many emotions I felt I’d dealt with.  I had been a professional photographer. And it hadn’t been until I had to close the business that I realised just how much I LOVED MY JOB.  From those nervous brides tentatively putting their tights on wondering if the groom was sipping whisky, through to hyperactive children who barely kept still for a millisecond.  Then I got ill.

So as I tentatively dip my toe back in the photographic world,  please be kind.