LIFE PLANS AND MONTHLY REMINDERS

by Alice Thomson

Ten years ago, I was in my first year of University at Aberdeen, studying to be a Primary school teacher. It was a daunting, but exciting time. I had plans for my future and much to look forward to. I decided I wanted to be a teacher to help learners, like myself, that struggle in the education system. After achieving my degree, I planned to establish myself as a teacher before going back to University to gain the qualifications I needed to become a Special Educational Needs teacher.

I had always wanted a family and so my plan was to enjoy my early 20s, find someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, get married and have two children. A teaching career seemed like a good match with the challenges of having a family. In my mind I had it all worked out. I’d decided that by around my 30th birthday I would probably have given birth to my last child. I’m going to have my 30th birthday this year, and my life didn’t go to plan.Continue Reading

SURVIVAL

by Alice Thomson

When I think of the word survival, it conjures up many images. More often than not it’s an image of a character in a horror, thriller or zombie narrative, where the individual does everything physically or logically possible to live through the trauma and make it to the end of the film, or to the next episode. A person’s strength of will to keep living is what drives them to survive the zombie apocalypse, murderer or demon. These surviving characters are always physically and/or mentally strong, or become so quickly. Their motive for survival? They have future plans, information they must pass on, people that rely on them – in some way, their life holds value. Once this traumatic episode is over, they can get back to those lives. They survive in order to find peace, joy, fulfilment, happiness. To reach the light at the end of the tunnel.

Continue Reading

MY RELATIONSHIP

by Alice Thomson

CW: mentions of death

Pain. Nearly all of us experience it. We all have a relationship with pain, even if we’re not aware of it. Pain allows us to avoid or reduce injury – but sometimes these signals to the brain that are supposed to help can instead go very wrong.

Continue Reading

IF I WERE IN CHARGE…

by Alice Thomson

Let’s be honest – I’m sure if I was actually in charge of the country I’d be rubbish at it. The role of Prime Minister does not appeal to me. It’s not exactly your 9-to-5 kind of job. The stress and responsibilities you’d have, not to mention the impossible decisions you’d have to make, would turn me into a quivering wreck. And that’s before your character is picked apart by the media. As a disabled person, roles like that of PM are particularly inaccessible. Trying to live your own life with chronic pain and minimum spoons is hard enough without attempting to run a county as well. That doesn’t mean I can’t spent time on trying to imagine a better world. And I reckon I have a few good ideas from such imaginings – though everything is always much easier from the comfort of your armchair. Sports fans shouting advice through their televisions at some of best trained athletes in the world comes to mind.

Continue Reading

THE LARGE MINORITY

by Alice Thomson

The term “minority group” invokes the image of a very small percentage of people. When I was a teacher, I had a minority group in my classroom consisting of a small number of children who needed different support and teaching methods to the rest of the class. In an ideal world, every child’s individual needs would have been met, but this was not the case. Time, resources, space – these resources affect the treatment of minority groups on a much larger national scale as well. The ‘majority’ have their needs met, while smaller groups who don’t fit into the majority box are often left behind, mistreated, or ignored.

Continue Reading

UNDATEABLE?

1

by Alice Thomson

Dating has changed a lot over the last few decades. In the time before dating apps, people would meet at work, in cafés, or via friends or family. It may seem like a simpler time, but it did mean that the variety of people for you to meet was limited to your direct community. I think you would be lucky to find ‘the one’ when there is a world full of possible ‘ones’. As Tim Minchin so eloquently said, “If I didn’t have you, I’d probably have somebody else”.

Continue Reading

WEE ALL HAVE TO GO

by Alice Thomson

There are so many terrible things going on in the world. I could talk about any number of them – but everybody else is already doing so. What has always been my concern about things like Brexit is that the aspects of life that were already difficult are going to be forgotten in favour of this new event. So many people are going to be left behind as the government puts all of its focus on negotiating our split from the EU. And so my article today is not going to be about any of the ‘big issues’. It’s going to be about a very small one. It’s one that really gets my goat, but it’s often forgotten. Well – not just forgotten. It doesn’t even register to most people.

I’m talking about toilets.

Continue Reading

RUNNING AWAY

by Alice Thomson

I moved to Norwich five years ago. Well, actually, I didn’t move to Norwich at all. When I relay the story of how I came to live in Norwich I always jokingly say I came to visit and never left. For me Norwich was great – love at first sight. The reason why I came to stay in Norwich was a lot less great and a lot more painful. I came down for a week to visit my mother and celebrate our birthdays (they’re six days apart). I was living in Aberdeen at the time, so at the end of the week my mum drove me up to the Scottish border as planned. She was going to see friends, and I was going to carry on my journey from there. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. The prospect of continuing my journey filled me with crippling fear. It became obvious to my mum that I couldn’t go home. And so we turned around, and came back to Norwich. I ran away.

Continue Reading

FINDING YOUR THERAPY

1

by Alice Thomson

When it comes to health treatments, people like myself will try almost anything once. And I have. Living with chronic pain, fatigue and joint instability as I am, I will do many things to seek relief from my symptoms. I’ve tried reflexology, hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, medication, TENS, reiki, acupuncture, chiropractics; the list goes on. All of them have their merits, but they don’t always have the desired effect.

Continue Reading

BODIES

by Alice Thomson

I’ve been thinking a lot about my body recently. In the last month I’ve been pushing it pretty hard, so I have a lot to reflect on. I talked about going to the March for Europe in my last article, and the preparation I put in beforehand to make sure my body would survive. Since the march, I have been doing a lot of walking and swimming. This brings feelings of terror and excitement. I fear I will dislocate and put myself back in my wheelchair. But I’m excited to feel the freedom my body hasn’t experienced in over five years. My current mission is to make myself stronger, stable, and resilient.

Continue Reading

MARCH FOR EUROPE: A SPOONIE’S PERSPECTIVE

by Alice Thomson

The 25th March marked the 60-year anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. The Treaty of Rome gave birth to the European Union as we know it today. Its intention was to create stronger ties, a common market, and better relations between the European countries. In the wake of two devastating world wars, it was hoped this union would create long-lasting peace and prosperity. It is this Union that our government is hell-bent on throwing away with the ‘hard’ Brexit that Theresa May’s clean and complete break from the Union promises. It’s thought that this ‘hard’ Brexit will greatly hurt the UK, causing economic turmoil and uncertainty for the future of mainland Europeans living in the UK. There are many other possible negative outcomes from a ‘hard’ Brexit, but the reality of Britain’s future, is in truth, unknown.

Continue Reading

THE GIRL WHO CRIED ZEBRA

3

by Alice Thomson

It’s a beautiful sunny day in August. A young woman named Jennifer and her mum go to the beach to soak up the rays. On her way into the water, Jennifer’s right wrist starts to hurt, and then her left wrist does the same. The pain is excruciating. She doesn’t know it, but they have dislocated. She and her mum can’t understand what has happened. It makes no sense. Distressed and confused the two women go home. Jennifer’s mum drives the car, and while sitting in the passenger’s seat, Jennifer dislocates her ankle. She doesn’t know that is the reason for the agonising pain. The two try to make sense of the situation.

Continue Reading

SPOONS: LIVING WITH FATIGUE

1

by Alice Thomson

Have you ever been tired? Sure you have – but it’s no big deal. You might have a sit down, drink a coffee, maybe take a nap. Now – have you ever been fatigued? I’m not asking you the same question, much as it might seem like it. Fatigued isn’t the same as being tired. Although often considered to be similar, there’s actually a big difference between the two. The dictionary tells us that tired means we need more sleep or rest. Fatigue, on the other hand, is an extreme form of tiredness caused by physical or mental activity, or by illness. I don’t think this definition of fatigue quite does it justice so I’m going to put forth my own interpretation by discussing fatigue as caused by illnesses such as chronic disorders.

Continue Reading