So… I thought I’d start with my ‘why’. Why I’m writing this blog, and what I aim to achieve from it.
Straight up- I want to help people! I would also like to fulfil a dream (maybe a pipe dream who knows) of writing a book, and this seemed like a good place to start.
Anyone that knows me well will know that there is one topic that has always followed me through life, uni projects, careers, the list is endless… and that is disability. I have always come back to this professionally despite initially being reluctant to in my younger years (turns out dad was right!!). And not just disability, what it is like from a siblings perspective.
This blog is not going to be all gloom and doom, and neither am I about to divulge my deepest darkest secrets but, I want to provide a sense of support and understanding for others. A support network where others can relate to a situation or milestone that might mean very little to someone else. This is my honest account of my experiences.
When you grow up with a sibling with a disability, I don’t know how many times I’ve been told it’s not a ‘normal’ situation. Yes, it might not be normal in the respect that it’s isn’t as common to other people, but it’s our normal. Define ‘normal’. You can’t because everyone’s definition is different. So, I’ve always adopted the attitude (courtesy of mum) that there is no such thing as normal and it’s honestly never done me wrong (hence the name of my blog!).
On entering my late teens and early adulthood, I quickly realised that unless you want to go to some support group which if you’re anything like me, is your idea of a nightmare, there is very little support out there. It’s very easy to feel like you’re the only person in this situation when others struggle understand and relate to your situation, but you’re not! There are more people then any of us care to realise, and we are quite often completely unaware of these people. These people are quite often as private as we often choose to be too.
But then there are the unhelpful, gloom and doom negative forums, blogs, books etc that pull on all the wrong things and in my opinion make things seem worse on a bad day. They often focus on the bad parts, but no-one really tells you about the good parts do they? The fact that you get a fresh and real perspective on life, it can shape who you become as an individual, the laughs, the milestones, the traditions you build, and the perfectly normal arguments over who is right and who is wrong!? Don’t get me wrong I will never paint a perfect picture when that isn’t the truth, but neither am I going to dwell on the negatives. I would like to believe that I can provide a balanced view, and maybe with a little humour too.
I can honestly say that I have struggled more through my late teens and early twenties than I ever remember as a child. On reflection, this has probably been my own doing. Over the last few years I have become a very private person. I don’t trust people easily, and I don’t tell people when things are really tough when I probably should. I put my face on and get on with it. Because that’s what I’ve told myself I should be doing for years. There’s always someone worse off right? But the truth is, it’s fine to say “you know what, I’m not ok. Things are tough and I’m doing my best.” And sometimes your best today doesn’t look like your best tomorrow, and that applies to life in general. But do I do it? Of course I don’t. It’s much easier to give advice, than it is to take your own!
Most of my life I have always had a desire to want to help others in whatever way I can. From supporting someone through a difficult time, direct care giving, or just chatting to the old man down the road when I’m walking the dog, I’ve always felt that a little kindness goes such a long way. You don’t know the difference you could make to someones day, and isn’t it nice to believe that maybe we’ve made someone smile today? This hasn’t always worked in my favour, but I can honestly say I’ve always had the most genuine of intentions. And that’s all I want to achieve at the end of the day. To spread a little kindness and understanding.
I really hope that whoever you are, you can find some support, laughter and feel a part of something positive. That you too can relate to my experiences and perspectives, and help find what YOUR ‘normal’ looks like… and if I can make you smile a little too then that’s a bonus 🙂