This year, we asked you to share your stories of how disabled people have been involved, included and helped create a kinder world in 2020.
“This is not an unusual number; it could be a door number, a persons age or a piece of art. I had not taken much notice of it, until now!
Also, new words emerging, that weren’t in the dictionary, and not identified on spell checker! Words such as Corona, I thought that was a beer. Then new reports about a virus, and the name Covid 19 appeared.
Like so many, when Covid-19 first came into my life, I didn’t take too much notice. There was a virus, nothing unusual in that, I’d heard of SARS and Ebola. We have flu and lots of viruses, and vaccinations. I’ve had flu, chest infections and viruses. Due to my asthma, I have a flu jab every year.
I noted the news reporting on Covid-19, but didn’t take a lot of notice, I caried on as normal.
I was arranging auditions, rehearsal’s for my plays and making plans for my show for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival called “The Amazing Dyslexic Poetry Show” which was well received the previous year. This year I was also taking two of my plays and looking forward to seeing other shows, as well as doing a presentation for Dyslexia Scotland.
I am also a lawyer, preparing cases and attending meetings. The weekends, spent seeing friends, my boyfriend, going to parties, doing workshops, my life was busy but that was “My Normal”.
I have been working from home, for about 3 years. This is ideal for me as I can concentrate better. I found office environments too noisy. I am dyslexic, dyspraxic, Dyscalculia. I work better at home with no distractions, on my own.
I miss social interaction, that for me is the hardest part of this pandemic, I miss hugs, and just seeing people, having a chat a laugh, and seeing my family as we are scattered about. I used to pop to my friends, and now I have to make an appointment to meet outside, with one or two to comply with rules. No more pizza, video nights or cinema trips.
My “New Normal” is having to walk around parked cars to avoid interaction, with others who wish to pass on the street. I haven’t worn a suit, or put make up on for ages, but I quite like that.
I live in gym kit and joggers, lipstick is hopeless with masks, so have saved money on lipstick! My mask is rainbow coloured to represent inclusion. I also have a visor and gloves, and never leave my house without hand sanitiser. It used to be my lipstick and inhalers, now it’s PPE!
Before Covid-19 I would go to the gym, theatre, and dance at parties, see some bands, have the occasional meal out, and go to a country pub with my boyfriend, after a walk or bike ride. Suddenly with the chimes from “Big Ben”, there was a new term, “Lockdown”. This was the “New Normal”.
With Lockdown, everything stalled. It was like I was the star of a dystopian film. The rules were you could only go out, for food and if you were a key worker, you could travel to your job, at least I could exercise once a day.
I had arranged for 200 actors to audition for my plays, on the 21st March 2020, a few days later the country was shut down.
I had to write to each actor to cancel, and then the domino’s effects; every gig I had planned was cancelled. Bam! I now understood what lockdown was and that Covid-19 was serious; it was staying. I had to learn to live with it and kept my distance. I did not want to meet Covid-19.
As a lawyer, I was one of the lucky ones who could still work. I had to learn to navigate Zoom, Teams, and others too. The world had gone virtual.
I thought, give it a couple of months, and this will pass, things will be back to normal, especially with the warmer weather. The streets would sing again, instead they were ghost towns.
I have an elderly neighbour, so would check on her, and went shopping for those with signs on the doors that read “Self- Isolating”, another new term. I was sure I’d wake up and the world would just be carrying on as normal, I’d realise that I didn’t need to cancel any shows, and now had 200 angry actors!
As a person with a disability I miss socialising, I miss hugs, and seeing my family, I live alone and find it hard sometimes, as I was always out, now I am always in. The good thing is I have tried to decorate and sort my clothes out, but nothing is finished. I’m still trying to organise things in the house.
Being neuro-diverse, I sometimes struggle with tech, working memory and sequencing, I have no one to help if I need things proofread, I use Dragon, but it can still miss things. It is nice to have the internet platforms to see people but it’s not the same as in person.
I am asthmatic and have to be extra careful, as Covid-19 is a respiratory illness. It was nice when we thought things were becoming “Normal” with lockdown easing, I managed to visit my family after 10 months apart.
I don’t feel comfortable getting public transport, I’m fortunate that I drive, and it was wonderful, spending time with them. I had my own sanitised room, wore gloves and masks in the house, as one of my family members had caught and recovered from Covid-19.
This caused a lot of anxiety, as they thought they were going to die and made a Will, they are still having treatment.
My family and I usually try to have a holiday every other year abroad, but now we don’t make plans as so many things are uncertain. We don’t want to pay a deposit and then find that we lost it, as the holiday gets cancelled. I did do some walking in the West Country with my boyfriend which was lovely. It was just nice to have a break away.
Covid-19 for those with disabilities can be isolating, as there is no interaction, that’s certainly what I miss, having human contact, I see my friends outside in a park occasionally, no greetings with hugs anymore, and see my boyfriend as he is in my bubble, I guess it’s ok to hug him.
I know we are still not out of the woods yet, but I have a lot to be thankful for, I have a place to live, I’m working and am relatively healthy, and mobile, and see some of my friends who are local to me and can communicate via social media.
It’s older members of the family who have disabilities that I can’t see due to mine and their vulnerabilities, which is frustrating. One of my aunts is 100 and brushes Covid-19 off as she lived through WW2, she still dances and goes to the local market. I suppose when you get to that age, you have a different outlook on life.
I don’t know when Covid-19 will leave but I hope it goes soon, and there are no further numbers because 19 is enough for me. ” – Sam Rapp, The Dyslexic poet