#DisabilityPrideMonth – Flag

Did you know that July is disability pride motnh? Did you know that there is a disability pride flag?

Well here it is:

“[Image description: A black flag diagonally crossed from the top of the hoist to the bottom of the fly by a four-color “Lightning bolt” in stripes of blue, gold, green and red]” 

The creater of the flag last year in a post on their website officially waved all copy write to the image and even created a guide to draw it yourself which you can find here.

This is such a huge gift to the community I wanted to share it and say thank you. The symbolism of the flag is beautiful and I want to use Anne’s words so I’m going to quote them below, again taken from her website.

““Artist’s Statement” about this Flag:

1) The black field: Black has three significant meanings:

First: the color of mourning for all those disabled people who have been murdered in the name of “mercy.”

Second: the color of the pirates’ “Jolly Roger” flag, representing our determination to steal our lives back from those public (and private) ‘authorities,’ who use their power in an attempt keep us marginalized.

Third: A reference to the Nazi Black Triangle badge, which was used to identify those whom the Nazis considered “antisocial“ and which has been adopted in Britain to protest the government’s austerity measures against the Disabled.

2) The “Lightning Bolt” motif:

Diagonal lines have been traditionally used in the flags of former colonies, to represent breaking free from colonial powers (empire nations tend to have flags dominated by horizontal and vertical lines). And Disabled people’s lives have long been ‘colonized’ by the medical, religious, and educational establishments.

The zigzag shape represents how the Disabled people must continually navigate around the structural and attitudinal barriers erected throughout normate society, and also the creative, ‘lateral,’ thinking we have to use to solve problems each day.

3) The individual colors represent broad categories of disabilities:

Blue: mental illness disabilities

Yellow: Cognitive and intellectual disabilities

Green: Sensory perception disabilities

Red: Physical disabilities”.

I’m going to post later on in the month about the importance of disability pride month but in the meantime I would encourage you to look at the hashtag on social media, the biggest thing you can do as an ally is research!

Mental Health Awareness Week: An Updated Spotter’s Guide

It’s that time of the year again folks!  Yes glory be, it’s the middle of May and it is once again ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’ here in the UK.  …

Mental Health Awareness Week: An Updated Spotter’s Guide

This is well worth a read, particularly if your fed up with a narrative of awareness that ultimately leads to no change in the way society treats those with mental illness.

So, what is Church then? — YouBelong

Just 1 week ago, people were still gathering inside church buildings on Sundays for group worship, week day mornings for prayer and toddler groups and evenings throughout the week for youth groups. Today, church buildings across the UK are closed in an attempt to contain the current strain of coronavirus, Covid-19, and keep as many […]

So, what is Church then? — YouBelong

Really loving this from YouBelong I think we will learn a lot as a nation about our faith in the coming weeks.

Knowing God – Interview with Jemma Brown — YouBelong

What is your name and what does it mean? My name is Jemma Brown and it means precious gem which is very fitting as I was a long awaited baby! It took my parents 10 years to conceive me hence I’m my parents precious gem. Do you think your name suits who you are and/ […]

Knowing God – Interview with Jemma Brown — YouBelong

I had the privilege a few weeks ago of compleating this short interview for YouBelong so I thought I would share it.

Since discovering YouBelong on Twitter I have been following there work and I am so encouraged by what they are doing. I have also enjoyed reading the other interviews in the series so would reccomend checking them out.

The Mission of YouBelong is:

“Community Support Empower

We aim to give chronically ill and disabled christians:

an online support network of people who can also have a chronic illness or disability and share the struggles that come from living as a christian whilst facing the questions and problems that arise from chronic illness/disability.

platforms to discuss disability and chronic illness theology via our blog posts and social media pages

a church who love, support and empower them”

youbelong.org.uk

I would really encourage those leading Churches or working in minestry or theology to take a look at the website. Put simply there are lots of small steps Churches can take to make things easier and more accessible for those with chronic illness, mental health conditions and disability. In most cases such small changes often turn out to benefit everyone.

Christian Accessibility #Twitter

I’ve been reading a lot about the theology of disability and mental health of late and discussing some of what I have learned in some really interesting discussions on Twitter.

Yes – social media gets a lot of criticism particularly Twitter but it definitely has its positives, I have found community and I love it.

Following a discussion today it made me realise thee is no one place to find out about disability theology, inclusion, trainers or organisations working in the field.

I decided to do something about this in a small way using Twitter. I have created a public Twitter list containing people who work in the field and also organisations ministering to those with disability.

Its worth noting I am choosing to use the word disability for purely practical reasons, Twitter has a character limit on both list names and there accompanying descriptions. Although I am using the term disability I am including chronic illness and mental health in the list.

The aim of this list is to pool information to enable people looking to find resources be that an organisation for support or a expert to consult on accessibility or talk at your event.

The name of the list is Christian accessibility and you can find it here.

Obviously this is a work in progress and there are not many resources on the list currently if you have a suggestion for the list please drop me a tweet @JemmaBrown obviously your recommendation has to be on Twitter.

A Short Take On The Opioid Crisis #ChronicPain

So yesterday’s STRONG pain meds have really helped my back and loosened off the upset spasming muscles which is great!

But the side effects SUCK!

Insomnia kept me up till around 2am and today I’ve got intense stomach cramps and bloating!

But I think I’ve now established there is not going to be a bowel explosion so it’s safe to leave home!

With the opioid crisis in America constantly gaining momentum I find myself wondering why anyone would choose to abuse these medications when they have such awful side effects. What I’ve described for me is one of the drugs with the ‘most manageable’ side effects the pain team and I could find furthermore yesterday I took one dose but split it in half and took each half hours apart… results urinary retention, nausea, bloating, cramps, insomnia and agitation and that was a low dose.

In America (and some would argue this is starting to happen in the UK) people are having to live with constant chronic unbearable pain because of a culture that treats them as addicts and drug seekers but here’s the thing…

I don’t think I know anyone with chronic pain that does not have to endure side effects as a result of taking opioid medications – truth is every time we take a dose of pain meds we are weighing up if the side effects are worth it!

We are not addicts, drug seeking or looking for attention.

We are trying to live the best life we can getting as much out of life as possible before the list of things we are unable to do grows longer. We don’t have terminal diagnosis but we do live our lives under a time pressure knowing our bodies are slowly giving out. We have to make the most of the times we are well and functioning and you know what sometimes that means we have to take opioids.

Upgraded: The Gaming Accessibility Conference 2018

Gaming accessibility is something I’m really passionate about because I have grown up gaming and with a visual impairment.

A lot is being done it has to be said mostly by Microsoft (the Xbox one has a screen reader, Magnification and a plethora of controller set up options) it seems the whole gaming community is getting together to spread the word on accessible gaming.

I would have loved to have been at this conference able to get my voice heard.

I have a Nintendo Switch and I love it dearly but it lacks even basic accessibility settings when you compare it with the big boys of PlayStation and Xbox (however there is give and take on both sides)… purely based on accessibility I would love to own an Xbox as well as my Switch.

NEWSFLASH! People with all kinds of disabilities play console/computer games of all kinds. We are as diverse as any other group it’s time for industry to hear our voice.

Please see below for original post

Upgraded: The Gaming Accessibility Conference 2018

https://uncannyvivek.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/gaconf2018/
— Read on uncannyvivek.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/gaconf2018/

Living Well When You Are Not Well…

This is really worth a read it sums up the experience of having your life shattered (for me it was like lots of mini shards falling off slowly over time) everything you wanted and dreamed of being flushed away down the pan and having to set new goals.

My goals are very day to day I’m going to focus on what I need to achieve today or this week and not think too far into the future.

One thing is very clear for me if I did not know that God has a perfect plan for my life and He had this plan set out for me before I was even born! I put all my trust and hope not in medicine (which tells me there is no hope) but in God who has a plan.

Living Well When You Are Not Well…

Living Well When You Are Not Well…
— Read on lilyingrace.com/2018/11/01/living-well-when-you-are-not-well/

Wheely Interesting Thoughts

So I don’t write much these days, I don’t have the time or energy and I kind of feel like I don’t have much to write about that wouldn’t be either self indulgent or read like a medical textbook! However its been over a year now since I became a part-time wheelchair user and got my electric Wheelchair Buzz and I’ve been thinking for a few weeks it would be good to put some thoughts down on paper, being a visually impaired electric wheelchair user and a guide dog owner in the UK is still a very rare thing so I kind of want to share in an attempt to help others.

The first run down of this will be some general thoughts and observations and then I intend to do some bullet point lists because everybody loves a good list.

The boring bit

Buzz is an Invcare Fox and I chose to have him in blue, he is on a lease from the Motorbility Scheme meaning I pay for him. A substantial amount of my weekly benefit pays for Buzz each week I also had to pay an upfront deposit and pay for necessary adaptations. I chose the Fox because of its ability to break down and fold to fit in a car, it was the most rugged and easily transportable chair I could find.

But wait your blind?

Yer I was terrified! I knew this was something I had to do to keep my independence and mobility but in reality I was very anxious about the whole thing. The thought of injuring another person or my Guide Dog Ollie terrified me and I mean terrified me! my first tentative sessions of driving Buzz I was on full alert using all my senses even though I had sighted people with me who were supportive encouraging and telling me I was a natural. From this test drive I went on to learn to use a long cane from Buzz

Learning to use a cane from a wheelchair

For me the first step was learning to use a cane with my left hand, I’m right-handed and had always struggled to hold and use my cane properly with my left hand. it felt alien at first but after looking at the way I grip the cane and some practice it became more natural. during this time I aimed to do extra cane practice whilst walking to get used to using the cane I learned though doing this that oh boy did I have a weak left wrist! The sweeping motion is exactly the same only the angle is obviously a bit different and you need a longer long cane. Initially going in a straight line is really difficult because you have to get used to one wrist making the arc for your cane and the other driving your chair. Sometimes the chair driving hand tries to copy your cane hand and you move from side to side unintentionally – I was reassured everyone does it. In my initial lessons I felt like I would never get the hang of it and then add in holding Ollie on the lead controlling her and I thought this is impossible!

by far the hardest part is that your brain has to focus on two or three things at once it takes a huge amount of concentration to get the cane skills down correctly to keep you safe and drive the powerchair. It is hard work, so next time you see me making it look effortless remember that it isn’t!

Having a good scanning technique is incredibly important if you are using a wheelchair a slip of a curb or down a step could result in flipping the chair with you in it and that would not end well.

Once I had mastered the local area the next step was to try to get on the bus again I was terrified but probably not for the reasons you might think.

As a new part-time wheelchair user I was really worried about the reaction of other people on the bus and the bus drivers – yes i was worried about what people where thinking about me. I was also concerned about the dreaded reverse round the corner and all the poles on the bus to get into the wheelchair space… there is a lot to bump into! My first attempt at getting on and off the bus it was raining and the bus was leaning on a camber towards the pavement it was an out of service bus and there was no pressure but it did not fill me with confidence. the combination of wet and sloping meant that every time I tried to get off the bus my wheelchair slid and I had very little control I thought if its going to be like this everytime I wont be getting the bus very often. Thankfully its really not like that all the time and after more practice and then introducing Ollie to the idea we now travel by bus regularly in Buzz.

The results of all that training

This is the best bit even when I am really poorly I can now get Ollie out for a walk or get to the hospital or my GP. I can now take ollie for a free run independently without the help of another person which has been so good for both of us. I can enjoy walking along the shore and stopping to watch the world go by and take pictures. I can take ollie for really long walks and go to events and carnivals without constantly looking for somewhere to sit down. At times when im fatigued I can still go out and enjoy life without pushing my body beyond its limits.

My wheelchair means I can still be me!

And with that I will sign off for now but there is more to come on this topic

Medpac – Very Orange But in a Good Way

I received an Amazon order in the post this afternoon and it was my bright orange Medpac and I’m very impressed.

This Will not be a full review I’ve only had it a few hours but I wanted to share as they have sizes and shapes to suit all needs and I’m genuinely impressed by what I have seen so far.

They are no joke bright orange this is good because in my case in contains epipens and they need to be found quickly if they are needed.

I ordered the one to fit two epipens and it fits 2 epipens snugly it has a  clip on the side of it and helpful little cards to put important information on.

I’ve only had it an afternoon and already someone has asked me where I got it so here is a link Medpack Link