The Annual Review: 2018

So, here we are – on the verge of 2019. Although I’m currently unemployed and still living on the dole, I’d say it’s been a great year for me. The job hunt can’t linger around much longer. And although job hunting takes time, I’ve kept this blog going for quite a while now. Improving the lives of disabled people has been an ongoing thought, and I’ve joined new, friendly groups with similar intentions too.

I’ll mention the key points that have occurred in December in this post. As a whole though, I think it’s best to round-up 2018 and give you the gist of what’s been happening throughout the year.

2018: New Projects; New Friends; New Plans

As I’ve said before, ambition grabs me pretty hard. I’ve wanted to further my impact towards the lives of others; and in a good way, of course. In 2018 I decided to create, explore, discover and take part in projects around Greater Manchester.

My own project idea is known as Disability Central. It isn’t up and running just yet, but I can see it beginning in 2019. The truth is that people who know enough about it seem to like the sound of it. These people include the charity work staff at Trafford Housing Trust. Although they give most of their money to charities, a little money is available for projects too. However, I want to research the ways to use it properly before giving Disability Central another go.

To put it briefly now, Disability Central is all about uniting people with disabilities. It’s about getting carers involved too. It’s about explaining and discussing the issues exploited by society upon disability. These discussions will begin in smaller numbers, possibly in Manchester city centre.

One reason for discussion is to eliminate seclusion. However, advice about how each person can contribute to improving our situation will be given as well. The less isolated we are, the more confident we will be. As time continues, more word should spread about our efforts. Eventually, disabled people will have a voice; a strong voice that can be heard properly.

Right now, people don’t understand our lives, and we need to explain how they work in greater numbers. Although we’ll be campaigning for human rights, I think Disability Central will become a charity. It could perhaps provide personal support to disabled people who have been hit by depression; we’ll have to wait and see.

A Group of Quality

I’ve also joined the GMCDP; the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People. I’ve taken part in projects that they run, and have gained useful knowledge throughout my time spent there. Every member of the GMCDP is disabled, and I’ve met some great people there, committed to their organisation. Just like me, they want to amend the social model of disability that exists today.

The GMCDP wants to be better known, and I want that as well. If Disability Central takes to the stage then I’ll point disabled people towards the coalition. I had to go searching for it before I joined. There are quite a few groups like this in different locations across the UK. But they’re not popular enough to be noticed by many people in society.

The social model of disability

Disability is neglected by society, including the government at large. Protests against their poor efforts to give us the human rights we deserve need to be motivated. In April 2018 a new figure of 13.9 million labelled the amount of disabled people in the UK. Today, that’s pretty much 22% of the population.

If you care for your family and friends, it’s so likely that you care about some disabled people too. So, when we speak louder than ever before, it’s only logical to listen to what we have to say.

Searching for Employment

This has been a tricky task to complete, but I’m so close now. In fact, a new job may well just be around the corner…

We’ll talk more about what has happened in December 2018 here. One big pre-screening took place before an interview I felt pretty positive about. I had a cold through two of the three days I spent copying information gathered from a textbook in front of me. That was the task, and it was all done to gain a Level 1 Certificate in Introductions to the Facilities Industry.

The interview took place and it went well. Discussion within the company must have taken place recently, because I’ll be hearing back about the opportunity in the week after Christmas. A part-time 25 hour per week admin assistant role sounds almost ideal for me. So, my fingers are crossed; I’ve got a good feeling about it.

Finding Work: The Journey This Year

Although I’ve managed to make my way forward and find my method to get interviews, it took a while to get to grips with it. I started the year by getting a short-lived job. It was through a recruitment agency as a temporary processor for some company I can barely remember. I was let go quickly – just one or two days after I had an epileptic seizure. It was also after I revealed I had a bit of trouble memorising information.

Discrimination may well have taken place, but I didn’t choose to take action against the company or the recruitment agency. Of course, if it happened today, then I would take action. Never forget that you’ve only got three months to hit back against discrimination in the workplace.

That all happened back at the start of February. Afterwards I was left sitting on Universal Credit, but it isn’t destroying me. I’d probably prefer to be back on Jobseekers Allowance because it was released on a weekly basis. That was a little easier to manage, but I’m getting the same amount of cash without any problems. I should be grateful for that. My best wishes go out to anybody who isn’t receiving what the government owes them.

In terms of work I also had a short month’s stay at Home Fundraising Ltd as a door-to-door charity fundraiser. I can’t do that job with ease, and I’m not the first person to find it difficult. You’ve got to have the right body language and voice to work it well, and it’s not a job for me.

Barnardo's Store
When working for Home Fundraising Ltd my focus was set on raising money for Barnardo’s

After being let go from that I was planted on the Work and Health Programme. I head there every week, and my advisor Mike isn’t a bad man. We’ve explored the types of job that would suit me best, and I think we’re on the right path now. He’s done what he can to provide me with the pathways available for people with health problems. There aren’t too many, but he did get me involved with the company I’m waiting to hear back from soon.

So please, keep your fingers crossed for me! I know I’ll have feelings of happiness, joy, relief and gratitude to explore if the opportunity arises.

My Epilepsy

When it comes down to my epilepsy, I don’t think anything has really changed. I was submitted in to Salford Royal Hospital for a stay after some sort of dodgy, ongoing seizure near the start of the year.

Since then I’ve tried to alter my AEDs to my own advantage, but it hasn’t helped. The drugs won’t work well enough, and this has finally set my mind strongly on one thing: VNS surgery. I’ve still got to see a surgeon to discuss it, but we’ve talked before. The reason I decided not to go ahead with it last time was because my epilepsy started to improve a bit.

But then it got worse again.

It keeps going up and down, left and right… I’m going to give VNS surgery a go now because it takes up to two years to kick in, with settings needing to be adjusted. It could help me from having so many seizures, and may even improve my memory. That really does sound appealing to The Epileptic Man!

Scattered AEDs
I’ve tried so many different combinations of AEDs now. Every time you try a new drug, it’s also 5% less likely to be effective.

It takes one hour to complete the surgery. I might be in and out of the hospital on the same day; next day at the latest. I’ll need to call in to a hospital once per month afterwards. This is for a seizure frequency review and to have my settings adjusted. This process is totally painless though, and can even be done through my clothes.

I’ll have a pacemaker-like device inside my upper-left chest area. It’ll look a little weird with my shirt off, but I don’t care. More than anything, I just want to hit my epilepsy harder than ever before…

More Confident?

As the year has progressed, I’d say I’ve grown more confident, and I’m still growing in confidence now that I’ve released this blog post. One thing that makes me different from a lot of other people I know is my belief. I don’t follow a religion, but I am spiritual.

I can’t say I felt too comfortable revealing this to people to begin with. I was worried that people might think I’ve gone a little crazy or something. I wouldn’t say that Phoebe Buffay showcased the personality of a good spiritual person on Friends. This is only more obvious after befriending many more people who share my belief this year.

This year I’ve needed to remember that you often shouldn’t worry about what other people think. Judging others isn’t a healthy thing to do. If you’re not causing any problems, then people should just accept your opinion. And if they don’t, then who cares? It’s their problem to deal with, not yours.

I started practicing meditation, reading mantras, receiving reflexology, and followed a few other useful routines too. Right now, I can honestly say that I seem to enjoy life more than ever before because of it. But aside from a change of emotions, it’s had very little effect on my personality. I’m more positive now, but have the same sense of humour, and as many friends as I used to too.

Confidence in my own skills and abilities seem to be building. This is just due to the acclaim I’ve gathered from the ideas I’ve spread word about. I also think I’ll make a great admin assistant for a company in the future. I’ll put great effort in from the start, and I’ve got the skills and the work experience to do it well too.

This year I’ve joined more groups that I contacted independently. I talked with my local MP Graham Brady about the difficulties of finding employment with a disability. I’ve met more people with open arms, and I’ve made many more friends too. Who wouldn’t feel more confident after that?

An Annual Overview

So, as I said earlier, I’d say it’s been a pretty positive year for me. Don’t get me wrong; I know I’m no Superman.

Not all of my ideas and projects I got involved with have flourished with immediate effect. I’ve got more skills to learn and knowledge to gain next year. Disability Central needs to be more professionally managed and I can see myself getting some help along the way. But there are no worries about that. Help has been offered, and will be graciously received with benefits for the supplier too.

The Epileptic Man Business Card

One thing I can say is that I am The Epileptic Man. I’m voluntarily working hard to help people with epilepsy and disabilities, and this work isn’t due to end any time soon. Lessons have been learnt from the mistakes I’ve made this year. My life only seems to be improving more and I only feel I’m getting stronger as time continues.

I’m ready and raring to move forward in 2019. I send only my best wishes to my readers and followers for the new year. Thank you for reading this, and take care.

ATB in 2019 X





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