Living with a hidden disability.

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Hidden disabilities are not obviously visible to the glancing eye and as a result can provide the individual with various different complications.
Hidden disabilities encompass a range of disabilities, such as chronic pain, depression, anxiety, autism and ADHD. The frustrations include wanting to be seen as an individual, but also having to accepting your differences and trying to seek the help you need.

Communicating and seeking help can be extremely difficult for someone with anxiety or autism, whom might struggle to make their point confidently or clearly enough. It is great acknowledging that you require that extra support, but sometimes it can be a little overwhelming trying to arrange it. Some people may never get diagnosed whilst those that are diagnosed, may be treated unfairly if those in charge are unaware.They might just expect you to get on with a ‘simple’ task (such as answering a question), but without truly understanding your needs, this could well be your worst nightmare.

Those with a hidden (invisible) disability may experience that sympathetic feeling less often than those with a visible disability. For instance lifts and ramps are in place for wheelchair users, as their limitations are made apparent. Whereas those who have sensory impairments may require similar support of private space, such as in avoiding noisy and uncomfortable environments. Regardless of whether or not a disability is visible or invisible, it is important never to invalidate someones feelings or troubles, as they are equally important.

But how can we as a member of society conceptualize ideas for understanding these needs?

Could we enforce more testing methods in schools to search for and unearth hidden disabilities? The child and parents may even be unaware themselves. For instance Anne Hegarty, (quiz master and former I’m A Celebrity contest) was only diagnosed with aspergers syndrome in 2005 – making her 46/47 years of age at the time. This can be a confusing and stressful time without a diagnosis, as it is too easy to misinterpret one’s behaviours and feelings. The easy yet ignorant option could be to assume that the individual is poorly behaved, but this doesn’t build rapport or help them unearth their potentially justified compications.

In my opinion, all teachers and parents must be incorporated with the skills to understand hidden disabilities and the individuals who experience them. Some are congenital whilst others are acquired, which is why it is important to be appropriately equipped early on. A child and their parent must build trust with one another through understanding, which can foster their development. No one wants to be treated unfairly in society, whereas this knowledge can be beneficial in integrating a disabled person successfsuly into society.

5 tips for improving your mental health.

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Mental health is an important aspect of an individuals well-being, that must be cared for thoroughly. Particularly throughout work and education, which I believe as a university student myself can fluctuate quite quickly. Therefore a lot of this will be based around that context, as I share five things (there are countless more options that work for different people) that personally help me or could help others in being healthy.

  1. Exercise – Regardless of ability or fitness level, the intensity can be adapted to suit the indiviudal. It is easy to stress when caught up in a great workload, but even walking outside (in hopefully bright sunshine) can be enough to take your mind off of whats troubling you. This can also be done with a friend to offer a social aspect and motivation, so you avoid becoming buried in your textbooks experiencing burnout.

2. Diary / Mood tracker – If like me, you can struggle to see the positives of a day sometimes, then downloading an app such as ‘daylio’ can be an excellent method of logging and assessing your days. You can rate your days with one click of an emoji, click what activities you did in the day and write notes. It logs it all so anytime you’re questioning yourself, you can go back and view what you did well.

3. Music – Sometimes as much as we enjoy socialising, we just need to be on our own for a while to recover and recharge. This is perfectly okay and music can come in different genres to suit your different moods. When I’m in a good mood I tend to listen to indie rock or pop music, anything catchy enough to spark my attention. Whereas when you’re down in the dumps, perhaps ‘sad’ or uplifting songs can give you hope through relating to the lyrics.

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4. Speak up – If you’re speaking to the right people then they will be happy to help you, but to do this you must help yourself first. It is okay not to be okay and the first step is communicating. This can be tough but relieving when you find that special person who understands you. Bottling up your feelings will lead to them eventually pouring out. So whenever it gets a little too much, take a step back and reflect, then reach out. You do not have to face anything alone.

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5. Try new activities – Try not to get stuck in your comfort zone. We all love it for a reason! But it’s so healthy to branch out and try new things, you may even meet new people. I try to be as open minded but I do admit some things can be a stretch too far (such as me having to do Dance with absolutely no skill whatsoever), so it can help you if its in an area you are somewhat familiar with. For me this is sport and exercise, which has numerous societies where you can meet new people with a common interest. These societies also exist for non sport too, and I seriously joining at least one if you can.

Football hooliganism: What can be done to reduce its prevalence?

On 10th March 2019 in a football match between local rivals Birmingham City and Aston Villa, a Birmingham City fan encroached onto the St Andrews pitch. He headed for Aston Villa talisman and captain Jack Grealish with malicious intent, targetting him with a potentially jaw breaking punch. The hostility in a derby match like this was expected, with Birmingham midfielder Kieftenbeld being booked inside 4 minutes for a rash tackle on Grealish. The hostility should never result to violence and hooliganism, or any athlete fearing for their own safety.

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Grealish being targetted by the spectator, who has now been arrested according to West Midlands Police.

Thankfully the instrumental player of the claret and blue faithful was well enough to continue, later scoring the only goal of the game in the 67th minute. After starting with a horrific scare it soon became a day to remember, as he has now scored in both league fixtures against the Blues this season. It was also the Englishmans 2nd appearance as Villa captain, being a boyhood dream to lead out his favourite club.

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Jack Grealish celebrating after his goal led Villa to a one nil win over bitter rivals Birmingham City.

Some would say karma caught up with Birmingham City after the antics of one individual, whom they’ve now issued a life time ban to. The standard reaction to football hooliganism generally involves arrests and bans, but is this alone enough to combat such a prevalent issue? Gary Neville (@GNev2) calls out for a points deduction or a stadium ban for 10 games, to act as a deterrent. In my opinion it is difficult to punish an entire football club for the actions of one person, but something must be done so horrific issues like this can be eridicated.

The individual won’t be stepping foot into St Andrews again but who is to blame? Should individuals be educated further? Potentially through explaining the serious reprecussions they could be faced with. Or could those in charge of security be more protecting? We do not have fences in the stadia to block pitch access, with fans safety a priority. Stewards are in place in their numbers for derby matches particularly, to guard the pitch and monitor crowds. Although when issues of pitch invasions are a persistent issue, should safety concerns be revisited?

I’m interested to hear your views. This kind of reckless behaviour can not be tolerated on a sports field or anywhere in society. Do comment your views and opinions on the matter of football hooliganism, and how you think the safety of players can be improved.

A blog for documenting my personal life experiences and thoughts featuring a pun from my avid interest in sport.

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