Archive for the ‘ internet ’ Category

Twitter & #HeardWhilstDisabled

It’s a Monday and like millions across the world I woke up feeling pretty naff. Anyhow, on top of that fate consipred to get me thinking about some of the hurtful/rude/insensitive people had said to me with regards to my disablity.

As any self respecting person in a rubbish mood on a Monday would, I decided that it was time to vent.

I then went on to post some of the stuff that was on my mind:

Before long a few others joined in and in half an hour it had started to spread. I went out to an appointment and by lunch time tweets were flying from lots of other disabled people who were also using the hashtag to vent and/or spread awareness that this stuff really happens to many of us all the time. I understand that many felt excluded by the use of the word “heard” in the hashtag & I can only apologise. My intent was to vent a few personal annecdotes originally, there was no planning involved, had there been I would have chosen a more inclusive tag like #experiencedwhiledisabled for example. I hope you can understand that the slight was not intentional. I’d like to share a few of the stories people shared now;

There are so very many more too, all warrant reading. I’ve just got in to discover that whilst I was out this happened;

I’m so happy that people had the chance to vent and share their stories with so many others. I’m also still pretty shocked that a Monday morning moan could turn into something so big.

We found our way into a few news stories too! One at the Guardian & one at the Independent

Communication Barriers

I’m back on-line  Three months without internet is hard. Very hard. Especially when most of your daily contact with the outside world happens via the web.

I’ve been offline because we moved house, I now live in a wonderful little bungalow in a nice area surrounded by friendly neighbours. Sadly the council poured tarmac over our local junction box and it’s taken months to locate it and dig it up so that we could get our phone line & internet connected. Over the last few months I’ve missed a lot of stuff, the protests over ATOS’s involvement with the Paralympics, the Paralympics themselves and all the media coverage, party political conferences, dodgy TV, attacks on women’s rights and millions of other things that didn’t make it into the news.

I have spent a couple of months now dealing with a massive flare up of depression and anxiety which I realise was in part because I have felt massively isolated since moving. Not only am I physically further away from most of my friends, I lost my ability to communicate with them and keep up with their lives. When I can’t meet people face to face I, like many others living in today’s society, fall back on social networking or emailing to keep up to date. Without that I found myself really struggling. I started falling into some very negative thinking patterns and lacked the easy access to support and positive reinforcement to challenge them in an effective manner.

It’s really hammered home for me just how important the internet & social media are for me and (I assume) for many others in similar positions. Actually, it’s hammered home just how important the ability to communicate with others and feel heard is. Regardless of the medium used I feel it’s very important that everyone has a way of expressing themselves to others and communicating their needs. Freedom of expression is a Human Right after all;

“everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”

These last few months have left me thinking about how easily that right is stripped from people. Those who have difficulty communicating in a socially acceptable manner, those who are bullied/coerced into silence through fear, those who are simply never provided the equipment or assistance to be able to communicate with others in a mutually meaningful way and so on and so forth.

As attacks on vulnerable people step up in our society it’s crucially important that we don’t forget about those who can’t join the debate because they are silenced by a lack of access.

%d bloggers like this: