Sunday, 24 August 2014

A Note to the People of Scotland

Dear people of Scotland,

Please vote yes (to Scottish Independence), on the 18th of September.

The lives, (and quality of life), of disabled and ill people, north of the border, depend on it.

No Bedroom Tax, no ATOS assessment, and no more pain, suffering, and death, of disabled and ill people, (as a result of Westminster's Welfare Reform Bill). 

Disabled and ill people of Scotland, deserve that.

If you don't vote yes for any other reason, (of which there are plenty), please do it for them.

They deserve a government that values them, and makes them feel wanted in society. They deserve not to feel fear for their future, and not to live with the anxiety, and dread, of cuts to vital benefits.

They deserve a government, and a media that does spread lies, vilify and demonise them, just because they (through no fault of their own), are ill or disabled - or both, like me.

If only we, disabled and ill people here, could break free from these harmful and cruel policies, too. 

At the moment, we can't, and we are pinning our hopes on a change of government, (or at least some sort of  sudden mass wake up of society!

Don't miss your chance, because Scotland deserves better.

Helen. xx

Image: Google


Friday, 22 August 2014

Twenty Five Years of Lessons Learnt

I'll start with a question I have been asked regularly, this year. What have I learnt in twenty five years as a Disability Rights campaigner?

I think I've learnt lots of things, and I hope I'm a stronger and  better person, through learning them. 

Every single 'lesson' has helped me come to terms with my Cerebral Palsy, and the limitations placed on my life. They have also allowed me to help others at the same time. That's all I have ever wanted to do.

I know now, that If I can't change minds, (or get things done) one way, then I must find another.

I always do my research, and try to make damn sure I know more than they do! 

Also, I have learnt be very tough when it is needed, but I never become abusive. That would get me nowhere! Instead, when I get angry, my voice, (apparently), becomes like ice!

I hope I have had more successes than failures, and  have (somehow managed) to make people understand disability better. 

I find It is useful to try and use analogies in order to get a point across, if someone is having difficulty understanding it.

My articles, blogs, and poetry can be very handy, because if I feel I am getting nowhere, I can say, ‘if you have time, please read this, and think about it.’

If I have a success, or someone sorts something, I always ring, or email them back to say ‘thank you’, and say what a difference it’s going to make. Politeness doesn't cost anything, and it means a lot to people.

Also, just because someone says ‘no’ to something, it does not mean I’ll give up straight away. Sometimes I leave it, and give them time to think again, (it does happen), or I try another route.

Unfortunately, now more than ever,'money talks', so if I can, I always explain why making the required changes is financial, economic, or public relations, sense!

There are times when I am scared. Scared of failing, and scared of the hole we are in. I do my best not to show it. I have even been known to hide my hands, so no one can see that they are shaking!

One thing that is very important to me is that If I was to find myself in a position where I was gaining financially, (or otherwise), from campaigning, I would feel immediately compromised. I will never do it. 

If I did, then I would have to start thinking about my real motives for doing this. Am I in it for myself, or the cause?! I do this because I care and I want to help, not for any other reason.

Even though it’s difficult, tiring, frustrating, and I often deal with egotistical, out of touch, clueless people, (and I quite regularly want to give it up), I try and remember why I do it. 

If I gave it up, could I live with myself? I know I could not. Not when I know I might be able to help make things better. 

I hate selfishness, and injustice. I always have. Why shouldn’t I try and change things? I started campaigning as an eight year old girl, and it is that hatred of injustice, and a wish to help, that is still with me.

If I don’t stand up for what is right, against what is wrong, unfair, divisive, and cruel – very few others will! It's a sad state of affairs, but it's true.

Things won’t get better unless we change them! It’s not a matter of choice, now that people are being stripped of their rights, being left destitute, suffering, and dying. It’s necessity!

We shouldn't have to  fight our government for basics and rights, the way we do at the moment. We shouldn't have to justify our very existence as disabled people, and we shouldn't be labelled as 'scroungers' and 'frauds' by default, but we are, now. 

At this point in time we are guilty until we are proven innocent, and not the other way around. That breaks my heart, because disability and illness are not a choice. 

I'm also learning that I need to think about my own health more too, and the way I campaign, means that I can take rests, or sleep when I need to. I am usually very tired, in pain, or feeling ill, so I do what I am able to do.

I know that whatever happens, this is part of who I am, and I won't give up!



Thursday, 14 August 2014

Depression - The Hand Around Your Ankle.

In the wake of the tragic suicide of Robin Williams I've been asked a lot, 'what is  depression like'? 

Usually I would describe it like a hole that you can't quite get yourself out of, but I think, maybe this might explain it a little better.

It's like you're in water and everyone else is swimming happily around you, but someone, (or something) has hold of your ankle and you're being pulled under,even though you fight with everything you've got, not to.

The harder you fight, the more desperate and tired you get.

You know you should be swimming happily too like other people are, and you feel so guilty that you can't get away, so you find yourself flapping your arms around, and pretending to be like them. 

You don't want the people you love to look over and see you drowning, but you can't break free of the hand that's pulling you under.

Over time it becomes a battle of wills.

If you can just keep your head above water a little bit longer, then the hand around your ankle will get tired before you do, and gradually loosen the grip...

it isn't simple, and maybe I over simplify things a bit here. 

There are times even when you've begun the 'swim' back that the hand will feel like it's going to grab you again, but you can keep your head above water - you know you can.

When people have almost drowned, they often describe a surge of superhuman strength that stopped them going under the water. 

It's not easy when you're so tired that you can't see tomorrow, and you're so sick of feeling pain, that you just want it to stop. 

That's when you need to find it, most.Try to tread water and keep your head up, for five more minutes, one more hour, or one more day, even. 

In time that hand around your ankle, will loosen.

Depression is an illness, and you should never forget that. It is not your fault that you've found yourself here. It's perfectly OK to ask for help, because everybody needs help sometimes. It's nothing to be ashamed of, I promise.

Just try, to keep swimming. You are not alone. 

Image: Google

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Old Enough to Know the Truth (Poem - 2014)

Cinderella and the prince,
Got a divorce 
Happily ever after,
Not true of course!

Snow White, with her prince, 
That was way too tall,
Gave birth to children 
That were rather small!

Cinders and Snow 
Had nowhere to go,
Fairytale marriages fell apart.
So they took their stuff,
Wanted to shack up,
And disappeared by horse and cart!

Godmother, always happy
With her cheeks so pink
Was made to enter rehab,
For the demon drink!

Wicked queens, evil witches,
All those fairytale bitches,
They too had to pay for their crimes.
Despite the magic,
Their downfall was tragic,
And now they’re serving time!

Post ‘true love’s kiss,’
There was something amiss 
In Sleeping Beauty’s perfect life.
Her Prince met a gnome
And never came home,
Now he’s free from the trouble
And strife! 

Fairytales, you see,
They can never be,
All of which they seem.
You’re long enough in the tooth
To be told the truth,
That you’re better off
Keeping the dream!

Image: Found on Google!


Saturday, 2 August 2014


You do your best to avoid my eyes,
When you pass me every day,
You tell yourself
That there's no other way.

You walk on by,
Stare at your feet,
When you see me
Living on the street.

You try not to think
That I'm cold and lonely,
If only I was home with you,
If only...

You tell yourself
That you don't have the time,
Convince yourself I'm guilty
Of a crime.

You're on your way home
At night, by train,
I wander,
Through the rain.

Don't look at me blindly,
Don't avoid my eyes,
I know it's hard,
But listen to my cries.

Remember that I,
Am a person too,
And remember that I,
Could easily be you... 

Image: Google