Mandy Edwards has shared her diary with us at Disability Talk
Before I begin blogging about life as a disabled ambulant woman I would first like to share some snippets from my past. An insight into my journey from able-bodied to disabled person
alongside my beliefs about the positive effects of disability in my life. (Yes I really did say positive!) The definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010 states that
You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.
Without a doubt my disability continues to impact on aspects of both my life and those who love me. However if I’d created that definition I would have replaced the phrase negative effects with limitations. Why? Simply because the word negative for me conjures up a somewhat pessimistic, bleak and defeatist outlook and my experience of disability, however profoundly challenging, has not been all negative. In fact I would go so far as to say that disability has been my enabler, a teacher who from the start set the bar impossibly high, forced me to dig deep and find courage that I didn’t know I had, through lessons that were very costly but proved invaluable. As I look back now on the last ten years I can see that I’ve become a far more compassionate and empathetic human being and I actually prefer Mandy AD (After Disability) more than Mandy BD (Before Disability). That’s not to say I don’t miss the Mandy BD. There are times when I crave her physicality like an addict, longing for just one more hit on the tennis court, one more stroke of front crawl in the swimming pool or one more jog around the track. Acceptance has been my particular Kilimanjaro but I am more than half way up that particular cliff face, can feel the wind of freedom on my face, and that feels like a positive place to be right now.