University worries

Please help me! I’m in need of advice regarding my disability and university.

I have now made up my mind and come to the conclusion that I want to go to uni to study french and business. However, there is one important issue… my disability. Due to my cerebral palsy, I struggle with my writing – it’s quite slow because of my lack of fine motor skills. This means that I will need a support assistant to take notes for me as it would be impossible for me to take down the notes as the lecturer speaks. Additionally I will also need extra time in exams. I will also have to disclose my slight speech impediment and the fact that I was exempted from the oral examination. So I would really appreciate it if anyone who has been to uni or are going, and have a similar disability, could answer these questions for me:

  • Did you mention your disability in your personal statement?
  • Did you call/e-mail the universities before applying?
  • Did you actually visit the universities beforehand?
  • Did your school take care of it?

Thank you in advance, I am really worried! I really want to go to to university and want to prepare and disclose these issues to the university as soon as possible so that they accept me but I don’t know how to 😩 Therefore if you have any advice I could really use it right now.

My summer holiday!

Scotland! Been looking forward to it all year round. Well, it came and went ever so quickly 😩

It turned out to be one of the most ‘hectic’ holidays for me (it was great though!) as my leg decided to start hurting the moment we arrived. We were fully booked with tours, site seeing, long walks in order to get the best out of Scotland during the few days that we were there. I kept trying to motivate myself by being positive and reminding myself that exercise is good for me and it will only make me stronger. Everyday seemed like a struggle, but you get the best feeling ever when you’ve made it through the day that you thought you couldn’t. The weather didn’t help either; as most of the time it was raining and really cold.

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I was quite proud of myself for not giving up and pushing myself whenever I felt like stopping. I even surprised myself as I climbed up the famous ‘King Arthur’s Seat’ which required a lot of effort and caused my legs and now hip to ache a lot- nonetheless, I continued until the highest point and back down again. I felt so relieved when I took the last step down and so happy to think that ‘I did it!’ 😀

Despite my pains, I absolutely loved Scotland as it had wonderful sceneries and incredibly beautiful highlands! So much so that I didn’t want to come home. It was an unforgettable holiday – if we leave the pain to one side.

Experiencing more pain recently than ever…

Recently I have been feeling very tired and experiencing a lot of tightness in my muscles, especially in my calves because of the way I walk. About a year ago, I had the same problem so I went to physio and I was told to do some stretches everyday in order for my muscles to grow properly (as my body was growing, but not my calf muscles). To be honest, I started doing them everyday for a few weeks, but it came to a point where I either forgot or was too tired and not bothered to do them. After a month or so, I was fine and wasn’t experiencing any pain…

However, several months ago my CP really started to annoy me. My right leg (weak side) was really hurting and so it limited me from doing what I wanted to do. I had to lie down and ‘massage’ my leg as it wouldn’t go away. I’ve also been feeling incredibly tired and found it hard to make it through a day without taking a nap – I never used to take naps when I was younger! This got me thinking, will everyday tasks get harder with age? Will I be experiencing more pain as I get older?

Only after walking a fairly short distance, which caused no pain before, I now feel really lethargic and my right leg just sort of ‘gives up’ on me. However, I always try to ignore the pain and carry on.

But, after a few days, I can’t take the pain anymore! I get mad to think that I’m always so tired and I have no energy as well as sad to think that I am limited and restricted to things that I would like to do – if this is now, how will I be in thirty or forty years time?

Society and CP are not a good combination.

About a month ago I was told I had social anxiety and it is clearly caused by my mild cerebral palsy. As my cp affects my speech slightly, among other things – such as my startle reflex and my poor motor skills, I was constantly stared at and sometimes made fun of. I will always remember this young girl who was about 4 or 5 at that time, I must have been 8. Anyway, we were at the beach and she overheard me while I was talking to my cousin. “She talks weird” was what she told my cousin when I was RIGHT BESIDE her. I had to keep it in at the time and deal with it. However, these words really tear my heart apart as there is nothing I can do about the way I speak – although when I was younger my speech was worse. 

At the beginning of this year was when all those ‘saddening’ memories came back. I sat alone in my room and cried my heart out – wishing I could speak like other people and why I spoke differently. Here, I wished I never had cp and was constantly asking myself the question ‘why me?’ I even had extreme thoughts of which I would never have thought of before this. You can probably figure it out! Thankfully, my mum noticed early enough to get me some help.

I was offered the opportunity to see a psychologist – at the beginning I was worried about going as I didn’t know what to expect. My first appointment was a little awkward as I wasn’t quite familiar with the situation and I couldn’t express all my feelings openly yet. However, appointment after appointment I became much more open with my therapist as I knew that all she wanted to do was help me – and was not going to judge in any way. After sharing my thoughts and worries, she came to the conclusion that I have social anxiety.

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This is true as I am incredibly self-conscious everywhere I go. When I am in a big group of people and asked a question, I instantly sweat, my body goes all shaky and I choke on my words – with the addition of the ’embarrassing’ unwanted actions that cp brings. This makes me feel weak and intimidated by society as I can’t control the way my body moves – as much as I want to. In order to avoid these social situations, I tend to hide away in my room, but I am working towards getting rid of that anxiety and shyness together with my therapist.

I am so glad I made this step in my life because, slowly, I am overcoming my social anxiety. If I hadn’t gone, I would have been stuck in my house all day and would have never had the courage to expose myself to society, Thanks to the support of my psychologist among many other people, I am slowly beginning to accept myself for who I am and view life with a positive perspective – some days more than others, but hopefully I’ll get through it!

Massive thanks to social media!

At the beginning of this year, I felt like my life was falling apart; I felt very lonely, useless, extremely sad and my head was full of negativity – I couldn’t find positivity in anything! After keeping it in, faking a smile and holding my tears back for quite a while, so as not to make my family worried, I finally had to spit it out – I just couldn’t hold it back anymore. I told my mum one night, while in tears đŸ˜„ – she could tell that something was wrong as I was very anxious and very jumpy (not like myself!) – and she kept on telling me how there are worse things in life than cp and how people with disabilities can be whoever they want to be if they set their mind to it. She then told me to focus on the things that I am good at and push the things I couldn’t do aside.

After a couple of days I was still the same – my mum didn’t know what to do with me anymore. So, she called one of therapists, who said that I could contact her whenever I had any problems. My mum booked an appointment for us to have a little chat with my therapist and to see if she could do anything to help me. And she definitely did! She told me to look online and join CP Teens UK chat, where I will find many people with cerebral palsy sharing experiences and making friends. So that’s what I did – and i have to say, I recommend it to anyone with cp, because it’s just an amazing and friendly community where you don’t feel alone anymore.

Personally, I’m incredibly happy to be a part of this amazing community as I have had the opportunity to share my experiences with people with the same condition. I would also like to thank the members of the group who made me feel welcome and supported! If it wasn’t for social networking sites, e.g. FB, I would not be as confident as I am now and as happy as I am now. Therefore, I would like to say a massive thank you to my mum for her endless support and also to social networking sites and the members of CP Teens UK chat – you have definitely changed my perspective of living with a disability.

Thank you for changing my view of life!

A bit of everything!

Hi everyone!

The reason why I have not been posting much lately is due to the fact that I was preparing for my ‘nerve-racking’ AS level exams. My head was fully blown with vast amounts of revision as well as worries. So yeah, you can probably guess that I am somewhat a worrier! Anyway, now that exams are over the celebrations can begin! 

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This is a blog about my recent experiences and feelings about living with cerebral palsy (cp). I have mild cp, which means I can do pretty much everything but at a slower pace or slightly different to others. My right side is weaker, and may not always act quickly (especially when I want it to). When I was younger I had a limp in my walking but now you can hardly notice it – except when I’m tired. In the past I was faced with vast amounts of stares – and I still get some. This makes me feel very frustrated as there is nothing I can do about my disability and that’s what most people don’t understand. I will be happier if people would ask me questions (obviously in a polite manner) than to stare at me from top to bottom – that really hurts me.11037556_993670623994619_8407952340464195641_n

This type of cp means that when I am under pressure my movements are really difficult to control – personally, this is one of the most embarrassing things, as well as my startle reflex (which I absolutely hate). 

Don’t get me wrong – my life is not all negative! I’m glad that I have cerebral palsy (in a way) just because it’s given me the opportunity to meet very special people and to achieve some pretty amazing things – which I’ve had to push myself for! If I wouldn’t have cp, I wouldn’t be the same person, as I received incredible amounts of help and support all throughout my childhood and so this has led me to have an interest in helping people with disabilities – this makes me remember some amazing memories and achievements. I have also had the pleasure of meeting amazing and inspirational people through the CP Teens UK chat group on Facebook. Through this, I have had the opportunity to share experiences with people with the same condition and I have found lots of support (the group has given me a more positive view of the world and has picked me up when I felt down – thank you for that!).

That’s it for now – I would love to know what you think about my blog and please feel free to ask anything or suggest a topic for my next blog 🙂 

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Time to reveal the truth!

I have always been that shy and quiet person who always wanted to hide the truth in order to ‘fit in’ with society.However, I’ve come to realise that now is the time to share my story…

My name is Alexandra Perera and I have cerebral palsy. I am now 16 years old and live in Gibraltar, UK, I am currently in the sixth form doing my AS’s in french, spanish and psychology. As you can imagine, most of my days are spent studying with the hope of achieving the best grades possible. Apart from these studies, I have come to this phase of my life where I have many insecurities about myself (including the insecurities that any other teenage girl would feel). So hopefully this will give me the opportunity to take a break from my studies and at the same time open up and express all my feelings.

I have a very mild form of CP. I am a twin, I was the second to be born and my birth was rather rough! I was clinically dead and resuscitated when they found that I had a pulse on my umbilical cord. And so I was called a ‘miracle baby’! As from a very young age, I attended OT, PT and speech therapy on a regular basis; it was part of my weekly routine! I was dismissed by my therapists by the age of 8. Thinking back now, although I dreaded it at the time, I am very grateful for everything that I have achieved, thanks to my therapists (although there’s always room for improvements, especially with my speech!)

Although I have always been positive about my CP, I have now reached an age where I am more exposed to society; therefore I am very conscious of my weakest spot – speaking. I’m also worried about my future, thinking whether I would fit in at Uni. I try to push aside these worries and think on the bright side of things, but sometimes it just gets out of hand :'(. Last month was the worst I’ve ever felt – I had very negative thoughts and felt very lonely. However after going into some websites, I have now realised that I am not the only one living with this condition.

Despite my CP, I live an ordinary life and can do the things that any other teenager does. I have always been afraid to tell the truth, but so I’ve been told that there’s nothing wrong in doing so. I’ve had lots of ups and downs in my life but now I have learnt to accept myself for who I am and focus on the positivity of life. I have accomplished so many things and will continue doing so! My favourite quote is “never give up, no matter how much life throws at you!”

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