My 2017 in Review

Emma Purcell

I know people say this all the time but where has this year gone? Only feels like yesterday we were saying hello to 2017 and now we are saying goodbye to it in a matter of days.

For me this year has been the discovery of how difficult adulthood is with a disability. I moved into my first home in July which was fantastic after a painstaking 12 months of waiting. I have then had to deal with 6 months of adaptation assessments and building work to make the house suitable for my needs. This did result in more waiting and improvising my care routine. For the first 8 weeks, I had to go to a care home for showering until my wet-room was complete.

Emma moving into new home

My biggest battle this year has been my mental health. At the end of last year I was put on antidepressants and suggested Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). Unfortunately there was a 3 month waiting list and so I had to rely on the internet and self help books to get me through. They then offered me online therapy where you chat to a therapist via a online chat service which I took. It was somewhat beneficial but I found it hard expressing everything by typing in an hour. In October, I was then referred to face to face CBT sessions at my local health centre. I can see some improvement but with developing changes still occurring I am continuing support on a weekly basis.

The greatest trigger of my depression is the changes and lack of quality care I’ve been receiving this year. I’ve been accused of being “rude” a majority of my life but I put it down to childish, teenage behaviour and it would get better as I get older. But now at the age of 23 and still being told I’m rude, has made me think there is something wrong with me and I need help to fix this. I’m not saying I’m perfect and denying my rudeness completely but I feel it is caused by frustration and mis-communication between me and carers. I have the mental capacity to do everything myself but do not have the physical ability and it becomes extremely hard relying on people all the time. In addition, I’ve been given several carers who are unsafe to care for me, have no understanding of young adults with disabilities and just have no common sense at times (See My Top 20 experiences of weird, stupid and shocking behaviours of people working in the care industry). The situation got so bad that my Mum had to give up her job to care for me and soon my parents will be moving to Hampshire from Somerset to be closer to me. At my age and have lived independently the last 10 years, I’d never thought it would come to this. I still hope I will secure some carers in the near future but fr now I Ned to persevere and keep waiting until then.

Another mission I attempted was to secure a job. I was surprised I got 3 interviews but unfortunately none were succcessful. I applied for hundreds more but no luck. By April, my care situation had changed and was unable to attend interviews/job placements etc. However I did secure a job working from home as a independent distributor for Kleeneze. It was quite fun and interesting the first couple of months but it soon dragged and I was unable to commit to it. I eventually quit in November as I wasn’t producing enough sales and felt I was spending more money than earning it. Until my care situation stabilises, I’m keeping the job hunt on hold. Although I do have voluntary work which I will continue to be involved in. I do contributing writing for online magazine Disability Horizons and I’m a member of the Content Advisory Group for the charity Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK). Plus I will of course continue blogging for Rock For Disability. Moreover I did enter in the Mencap Journalism Awards and won second place which was a great achievement.

Winners of the Mencap Journalism Awards 2017 Credited: Mencap

My highlights for this year is definitely attending the mammoth gigs, shows and festivals. My new year’s resolution was to attend a minimum of 10 gigs. I managed to attend 10 but should have reached 12 but one gig I was unable to attend due to no care available and another was cancelled due to band member illness. This is still the first time I’ve stuck to and completed a new year’s resolution.

Emma & friends at Reading Festival 2017 Credited: Kristy White

Also I got to enjoy following Portsmouth FC’s memerabble 2016/17 season winning the League 2 title and finally promoted to league 1. Yes I know it’s not te same as the Premiere League but it is a step in the right direction – Play Up Pompey!

Emma Purcell

My new year’s resolution for 2018 is to gain a good quality care team and secure a job – soo if anyone is looking for care work or seeking new employees within the media and marketing industries, contact me!

Overall this year has been challenging but also gained some fun memories along the way. I wouldn’t have got through it without my friends and family and for that I’m internally grateful!

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