Monday, 27 March 2017

Disability and Social Media

Most of the time I hate my disability with a passion but I realise it could be a whole lot worse. This would be especially true if social media did not exist. With the condition I have it sometimes makes it very difficult to go outside and socialise. This happens more often during the winter when the slightest chill in the air can make my hands cease all conscious control. It is also a problem in rain or wind. Also, more recently I have been getting a really sore arse (I am probably due a new cushion) which has made sitting in my wheelchair stationary for a car trip out of the question. One or two days where I cannot go out is not really too much of a problem however, when those one or two days turn into a week then that can play havoc with your state of mind. I find I start getting bored, thinking too much and generally getting myself into a state. This often results in more days without socialising and the vicious cycle continues. Because of this social media and in my case more often than not Facebook is a godsend. I realise that social media can be a bit of a double-edged sword. I suppose it was originally designed as a way to connect people and bring people closer together. I think in some cases it often seems to have the opposite effect, I mean how many times have you got to see friends and most of them are completely absorbed by their mobile phone and doing the opposite of connecting with people. There is also the problem of people always being on display and in the case of some young people at school being bullied 24 hours a day seven days a week. The bullying often ending up with self-harm and in worst cases suicide. However, with all the pros and cons of social media out of the way I still think that it helps a lot if you have a disability. If with the state of my disability now I did not have access to Facebook then my life will be so much more difficult. I would not be able to easily organise events and I would not be able to meet up with my friends as often as I do now. I realise that email was a thing long before social media but unless all my friends were at their computers it was not really all that useful. Now I can do a Facebook message and it will instantly go to their mobile phone. This means I can all of a sudden decide to meet up with people if I so wished. It also allows me to communicate with people on those occasions when I cannot go out myself. The other big benefit of Facebook is that I can connect with a wide audience of people and in particular people across the world with the same disability. We can offer each other help or even just friendship. If I wanted to I can't even get them to water my crops but I don't think many of them like doing that. It is also very useful for me to share information about my disability those people which can often help them out in a pinch. This makes me feel so much less isolated with my condition than I would otherwise be. I am one of the lucky ones that have actually made it to my 30s but all of my friends within a reasonable distance are no longer with us so it is very easy for me to feel lonely. However, once again thanks to Facebook I have friends all over the UK, USA, India, Australia and Canada. I no longer feel lonely and what's more I feel like I can contribute to the Duchenne community.

I know that Facebook can often be a pain in the arse but if it helps me and others feel less isolated then I think it is a good thing to embrace. I realise that it is not perfect but technology never really is in its youth. I remember getting the first version of DragonDictate and it being absolutely dire but now I am using it without a problem to write this article. I suppose at the end of the day if you have a disability then social media is a good way to take the edge off it.

Bert out.

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