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“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite” Nelson Mandela
So the first year of teaching has ended and I cannot quite believe it. How fast the weeks go by, and all that matters now is for me to collect up all of my note books, post its and coloured pens and revise all of the content for my assignments that are due in April and May.
This weeks quote is not really anything to do with my thoughts for the blog, but more my thoughts, feelings, fears and absolute admiration for the people of Ukraine. Their fierce spirit and love for their country is astounding, and I hope that they will soon have peace and calm, and hopefully return to a level of normality.
Normal. That’s an odd word is it not? What is normal? I used to think that I was normal, a working mum, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a cousin a niece or a friend. That is a lot of people to consider, to check up on, to buy birthday cards and gifts, to share a meal, a cinema visit or a glass of wine. As I have gotten older I have realised that actually it is ok to look after yourself first. It is ok to say no to the invitation, and it is absolutely ok to go to bed at 9pm on a Saturday night !!
I realised this only after many years of putting everyone else first. When I became ill in 2017, that started a rollercoaster of ailments one after the other, seemingly never ending. I had a host of illnesses, many of them debilitating including endometriosis, gall bladder disease, tonsillectomy, developing asthma, having a hysterectomy and contracting sepsis for the third time (and kicking it’s proverbial) I was also diagnosed with Paget’s disease of the skull. I’ll do a separate piece about that as it is quite fascinating, but for now let me tell you how I feel/have felt, on a day to day basis. I thought I was on the scrapheap, being medically dismissed from my job and the daily aches and pains that were forever niggling. Endometriosis is a cruel disease. It is painful, and when I say painful it is non-stop for some sufferers. It is not “just period pain” nor is it “just stomach cramps” nor is it “just once a month” oh dearie me no. This is a disease that can infiltrate your organs, being so severe that it can leave the sufferer completely incapable of functioning or working. It leaves relationships in tatters as the other party may not believe how something believed to be so trivial could cause so much pain.
So, I looked online and found a counselling course, and as it was during Covid it was all on line and completely accessible (pain and all). After passing this I heard about the gateway course and as you already know I completed that and here I am on my full time degree course. What you don’t see is the daily struggles with pain, and the internal battles going on inside my head that leave me fretting and worrying about the course. What if the pain gets too bad, I can’t carry my books and bag, my back hurts from carrying a laptop bag, my head hurts as the screen time has increased. How on earth am I going to complete this degree course full time?
But, then I found the wellbeing team, and had a 121 with them and aired my fears. I was told that I should look at applying for Disabled Student Allowance (DSA). I was quite indignant and thought, pfft I’m not disabled !! Then when I had looked into all of the things I had been through physically, and mentally over the last 3 years I realised that disability does not need to be visible, acute disabilities are so varied and often so acute that people continue suffering in silence as it’s just easier than trying to explain.
The wellbeing team here at Warwick University were amazing. I applied for DSA, I had an assessment in my home, and my degree is future-proofed. I now have a laptop rucksack on wheels, no more neck and back ache. I have software that translates spoken lectures in to documents and more software that reads documents to me. I have a number of taxi allowances should I be unable to drive. I have an electric desk and ergonomic chair being delivered to me on Monday !! All.Worries.Gone. And all costs have been covered by Student Finance England.
Don’t suffer in silence, no matter what your hidden (dis)ability is.
p.s. If you want to talk to me about any of the things I’ve written, please get in touch: email@example.com