Storytime | Life Lessons ♿

Years ago, during a university art class, a fellow student sat idly, pissing and moaning about how awful and unfair his life was. (He wasn’t literally pissing, by the way. That would be odd!).

There, in my powered wheelchair, with teeth clenched, I chose to remain quiet while he complained about his superficial, so-called ‘problems’.

As I recall, he’d depleted the bank of mum and dad on nights out and booze, meaning he couldn’t afford to go clubbing again that week.

Oh dear, what an awful shame!

A lad opposite, who I didn’t know well, kept looking at me with a shared expression of annoyance – I remember it vividly. He finally interrupted,you know what mate, we’ve all got problems! Maybe look around sometime.

I couldn’t help but smile and offer a nod of respect.

I was 20 at the time. Now 33, my tolerance for ignorance and entitlement has dissipated with age.

Truth is, everyone, at some point in life, will encounter problems, challenges and setbacks. Indeed, we all feel stressed and depressed from time to time – these feelings are completely valid.

Of course, feeling depressed is NOT the same as suffering from depression itself. (That’s a whole other topic, which I won’t go into here).

I’m sure we’ve all been told, others have it worse off. While I find this phrase unhelpful and somewhat dismissive, I must concede, it is often true (sorry, not sorry!).

Not to undermine anyone’s struggles or experiences, I do think it’s fair to say that the problems of some people are far greater than those of others – to gain a little perspective, all you need to do is switch on the news!

Admittedly, over the years, I’ve allowed myself to indulge in moments of self-pity (not an attractive trait). The dark pit of despair is easy to fall into, and difficult to climb out of.

That said, I’ve never sulked or felt sorry for myself over what I consider petty complaints, such as missing out on a social gathering or event. Honestly, I’ve no time or patience for that sort of nonsense. Again, it’s about perspective.

For context, I live with a very rare, progressive, muscle-wasting condition (Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy). Unable to weight-bear, I use a powered wheelchair and rely on carers to assist with physical activities. In addition, associated health issues affect everyday life.

On my darkest days, I would ask – Why me? What have I done to deserve this crap?

Funnily enough, no higher power ever answered. Which later lead me to ask – Why not me? What makes me so special?

Shit happens! And yes, some of us face more than our fair share of it. But like it or not, we must learn to accept, adapt and deal with it – limitation, loss, grief, disability, pain, trauma, illness…

What’s the alternative? Hide under the duvet covers and wallow? Trust me, that sort of self-destructive behaviour can only create further problems.

If I’ve learnt anything, it’s that life isn’t fair.

I continue to battle with frustration due to my health, physical limitations and circumstances over which I have no control. So, I now try my best to practice gratitude and remind myself of all the good things I am blessed with. I don’t always succeed, but I try.

I also find it hugely beneficial to avoid self-indulgent doombrains like the aforementioned art student!

Product Review | Independent Living

I was recently sent a few products to try, by the lovely folk at Manage At Home and PETA [UK] LTD.

The Easi-Grip kitchen items are designed to help older people, and those like me with a disability, prepare and cook food independently.

Easi-Grip Food Preparation Board

Easi-Grip Food Preparation Board
Easi-Grip Food Preparation Board

This stylish food preparation board, made from sustainable Rubberwood, is a multi-purpose, top quality kitchen aid.

I was so impressed with this piece! It is really attractive and doesn’t look at all like a standard disability aid.

Easi-Grip Food Preparation Board
Easi-Grip Food Preparation Board

It is designed for those with weak hand function, including impaired grip, poor hand control and tremors.

Slicing a sweet potato using the multi-purpose Easi-Grip food prep board
Slicing a sweet potato using the multi-purpose Easi-Grip food prep board

Using only one hand, the Easi-Grip board allows you to grate and slice food effortlessly. The spiked area ensures food is kept in place for peeling and cutting.

Easi-Grip Food Preparation Board
Easi-Grip Food Preparation Board

Several essential items all-in-one: Stainless steel fine/coarse graters, slicers, collecting bowl, spiked area, and long-lasting wooden board.

I have muscular dystrophy ~ contractures, poor grip, and very little strength. Despite this, I found the Easi-Grip food prep board really easy to work with, and a huge asset. I no longer need to ask for any help, which is a big deal for me!

My mum, who has osteoarthritis, loves this equally as much as me! Suffering with joint pain and stiffness, she found it significantly easier to use than regular kitchen tools.

Easi-Grip Knives

Easi-Grip Knives 1. Bread knife 2. Carving knife 3. All purpose knife
Easi-Grip Knives 1. Bread knife 2. Carving knife 3. All purpose knife

This popular trio of knives has undergone a recent design revamp – the ergonomic handles are now thicker, making them easier and more comfortable to use.

The bright lime green areas indicate the “soft-feel” non-slip areas, as well as making them a bit more modern and aesthetically appealing compared to standard kitchen knives!

Demonstration of the Easi-Grip knife being used to cut a vegetable on the Easi-Grip food prep board
Demonstration of the Easi-Grip knife being used to cut a vegetable on the Easi-Grip food prep board

I would highly recommend all of these products to anyone, regardless of (dis)ability. They are top quality items and I am so thankful to Manage At Home and PETA [UK] LTD for sending them to me. I love to cook, and these kitchen aids have made life a little easier for me.

*Disclaimer*

This post is in collaboration with Manage At Home and PETA [UK] LTD. The products were gifted to me in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed are entirely my own.


Many thanks to Manage At Home and PETA [UK] LTD

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