Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Mental illness awareness Post

Hi friends, I apologize for being away for so long again. Lots of things happened in my life, and I had to take care of everything. Such is life. 

This post is going to be something different. I know that here we speak mostly about our daily obstacles as people with disabilities, but today I want to speak about something which has to do a lot more with the mind than with the body: mental health. Or better said, mental illness.

Over the past few months, I've watched a friend whom I love very very much, slowly turning into a completely different person, due to schizophrenia. At first, I thought he was just dealing with a lot of stress in his life, which would make him a little more grumpy than usually, but soon I realized that his actions and words were making less and less sense. He was slowly slipping in a state where he couldn't make the difference between what's real and what's in his head. And to this day, he's struggling with his illness, alone, confused and in mental and physical pain.

Why alone? Because his family couldn't handle it and/or couldn't understand what was happening to him. His friends gave up on him one by one, as he started abusing them verbally for no reason. I was verbally abused too. He doesn't want to see anyone anymore. He's living this life alone, because he thinks that no one can understand him and his world. And the authorities? Well, with no one taking action, they can't do much. I'm just a friend of his, and I have very little power. His family should be there for him, support him through his treatment, help him get help from a professional, but they chose to forget about his existence.

So why am I sharing this sob story instead of making an actual post related to any kind of disability? Mental illness can also become a disability. Please, please, if one of your loved ones ever gives signs of mental issues, don't just ditch them. Don't think that they are horrible people. They would hate to see themselves this way too, if they could. Help them, Support them. Don't let them become wrecks. Don't allow mental illness to strip them off of their dignity and self-respect. Treatment can do wonders these days.

Also, never EVER demonize mental illness treatment, as in medication. Some conditions NEED medication. There's no shame in taking antidepressants or anything else which helps anyone function as a normal human being.

Also, if you know someone who is struggling with heavy depression, look up the suicide line in your country and tell them to call. Those people are trained to help. 

Mental illness is serious, and should be taken seriously.

With this being said, I will go back to my regular posting sometime this week. I hope everyone reading this is doing well. And thanks for sticking around despite my absence.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Job interviews and disability

First of all, I would like to apologize for the long hiatus. Today's post is related to the reason for which I've been absent from posting for such a long time. I just didn't have any more free time and I really like to take my time and put all of my ideas in order when I write a post, so it's easy and enjoyable to read for everyone. So why have I been absent? I got a job!!! A full time awesome job which makes me feel complete.

But before getting the job (which is within a huge IT corporation), I faced many many interviews which ended with "Thank you for coming, we will call you soon to give you an answer." I found out that it can be pretty tricky to get a job as someone who has a physical disability even though my resume was flawless, I studied abroad and I had strong knowledge in my field. Everything seemed to be against me. But with every interview, I learned what I should say and not say when confronted about my condition... because most of the interviewers did ask me questions. They're not asking to be impolite or curious, but it's important to know if a future employee will be suitable for the position in every possible way, from a HR point of view. And there are some things which must be kept in mind:

1. Be confident 

 Don't freak out when they ask about your condition/wheelchair. Calmly explain that it will not get in the way of your daily activity and that it does not affect your productivity. If they see you that you're nervous, they might think that you are trying to make it seem as something that it's not, and it will make you look like someone who easily lose their calm. Smile, keep your head up and calmly answer all of their questions BUT don't go overboard: keep it real. Don't tell them that you can do things that you can not actually do on your own, because the lie will surface sooner or later and it will come back to get you. But since you're there, it would make sense that you know exactly what you will be dealing with day by day and that you know that you can handle everything.

2. Don't act defensive 

 I know lots of people get offended when asked about their condition. Remember that the employer must know for sure that they are hiring people who can do the job. Not everyone knows exactly what you can do and what you can not do only by looking at you. Issues such as moving around the office, commuting to/from work or going to the bathroom (which if you can not handle on your own I believe that you can have your personal assistant help you with, but it depends on the country and company).

3. Focus on your skills

If you were invited to the interview then you should have the necessary skills for the job and what you should do is present those skills the best you can. Make your value as an employer shine, and most interviewers won't even care anymore about your condition. A valuable set of skills is so important these days! And nothing else will matter...

And with these being said, good luck! Don't lose hope if you don't get a job on the first try, it took me 1 full year. Keep trying and trying and you will not regret it. Believe in yourself and everyone else will do too!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Adaptive sports and the Paralympic Games

The combination of terms “limited mobility” is pretty much self explanatory. And most of the time it leads to a not too physically active life for most of us, which is so bad for our health. The good news is that there are tons of sports designed for people with limited mobility, and depending on the way your limbs are affected, you should have enough choices. It’s a great way to pass the time, it will improve your health and it will give you a sense of achievement, making you feel more independent, it will reduce your stress level by making your brain release more endorphins, it will reduce the pain and many more awesome benefits. Who knows, maybe we will even see you at the Olympics! So let’s take a look at 3 of the most well known options. Hopefully this post will help you decide what you should start with.

1. Paralympic Swimming

As the name states, it is a sport governed by the International Paralympic Committee, so it’s also part of the Paralymic games. But of course, it can be practiced by anyone and at any level (starting with beginner, of course). Physical disabilities of Paralympic swimmers include single or multiple limb loss (through birth defects and/or amputation),cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries (leading to paralysis or disability in limb coordination), dwarfism, and disabilities which impair the use of joints. So if you think this is the right sport for you, stop wondering how you’ll manage to not drown due to the limited mobility of your limbs, and start looking for a place where you can safely practice it. Swimming is great! And you’ll be less scared of boat rides too!
Famous athlete: Eleanor May Simmonds (photo), is a British Paralympian swimmer competing in S6 events. She came to national attention when she competed in the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, winning two gold medals for Great Britain, despite being the youngest member of the team, at the age of 13. In 2012 she was again selected for the Great Britain squad, this time swimming at a home games in London. She won another two golds in London, including setting a World Record in the 400m freestyle.

2. Wheelchair racing

We have marathons, car racing, motorbike racing… so why not wheelchair racing? Even though the racing wheelchair may look slightly different from what you’re used with… but if you’re bound to use one and think that your arms and spirit are strong enough for the competition, why not look into it? Wheelchair racing is open to athletes with any qualifying type of disability, amputees, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy and partially sighted (when combined with another disability). Athletes are classified in accordance with the nature and severity of their disability or combinations of disabilities. Like running, it can take place on a track or as a road race. The main competitions take place at the Summer Paralympicswhich wheelchair racing and athletics has been a part of since 1960. Competitors compete in specialized wheelchairs which allow the athletes to reach speeds of 30 km/h or more. It is one of the most prominent forms of Paralympic athletics.
Famous athlete: David Russell Weir (photo), CBE (born 5 June 1979) is a British Paralympic wheelchair athlete. He has won a total of six gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games, and has won the London Marathon on six occasions. He was born with a spinal cord transection that left him unable to use his legs.

3. Wheelchair Basketball

If you’re a fan of basketball and wish that you could practice it, there actually is a version of it which can be practiced by people in wheelchairs. The rules are pretty much the same and it is as dynamic as you would expect basketball to be. Wheelchair basketball sees tremendous competition and interest on the international level. Wheelchair basketball is included in the Paralympic Games. The Wheelchair Basketball World Championship is organized two years after every Paralympic Games. Major competition in wheelchair basketball comes from Canada, Australia, the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Japan.
Famous Athlete: Ade Adepitan (photo) MBE (born 27 March 1973) is a British television presenter and wheelchair basketball player. He uses a wheelchair as a result of contracting polio as a child which led to the loss of use of his left leg. Adeptitan is an accomplished wheelchair basketball player, for his club Milton Keynes Aces and as a member of Great Britain team that won the bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens and the gold medal at the 2005 Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, United Kingdom.