I am 38 years of age and live in Galway City. I have a dual disability, Muscular Dystrophy, which is a neuromuscular condition, weakening and wasting muscles. This also leaves me in a wheelchair. The other disability I have is sensory, a visual impairment known as Retinitis Pigmentosa. I have always had difficulty with my eyesight although I was not diagnosed until I reached the age of 23.
Despite this, I lead a ‘normal’ life. The reason that I put normal in inverted commas is because even though I have these disabilities, I am the same as everybody else. I have feelings, emotions, interests and hobbies and a good education.
I have a positive outlook on life and try to see the glass half full as opposed to half empty.
I write a lot of poetry, which I started two years ago, and attend a service for people with disabilities.
During the year, I assist with fundraising and during the week, I attend meditation classes, which I really love and look forward to.
I don’t have a job but would love one but as you can see, I’m a busy girl and try to use my time wisely.
I have attended national and secondary schools and have Junior and Leaving Certificates. Although I have never gone on to third level, I have done some evening courses such as Reception Skills, Accounting and Business Studies and my favourite one was Counselling, in which I did both Introduction and Advanced. I would love to go back to Counselling and inquired about a course but unfortunately due to various obstacles, I would not have been eligible to do it, which was very disappointing.
I feel that I am an understanding person who loves to listen and help people as much as possible. I like being with people and smile a lot and love to laugh and make people happy.
Of course I get fed up, like everybody else but that’s life!
I love music, even though I do not play an instrument. I listen to pop, classical and jazz. I do like current music but must admit I love 80s. Let’s face it, the fashion was awful so I suppose we had to compensate with the music! I absolutely loved Michael Jackson and was devastated when he died. I felt like someone in my personal life had died and I cried and cried for ages and forgot to stop.
In 2007 I was nominated for the Outstanding Young Person award and got an award at local and national level. This was organised by Junior Chamber International and was under the category of Personal Achievement. It was such an honour to get nominated and I just couldn’t believe it when I got through.
I have suffered from depression for a few years and thankfully, after medication, hospital appointments, counselling and hard work, I have managed to come through and don’t have it anymore. It is a very dark place, in fact it is horrible, to feel you’re worthless and you feel it will always stay with you. Yes it is hard to admit but I have tried to commit suicide. That is how low a person feels and thinks there is no way out and they will always be this way.
I think there was always a stigma around mental health and maybe to some degree, there still might be and maybe I also had it too until I went through it myself but my attitude has changed now so much and hopefully people feel that they can talk about it now and not be embarrassed or ashamed because it’s not something to be embarrassed or ashamed over. I want to stress that you will get through it. I would also plead with someone who has depression to get help and talk to a friend. Another thing is to write your feelings down and do something you really like listen to music or watch TV. Whatever you do, please talk to someone.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and please take care.