Today’s RFD Question Time guest is disability and lifestyle blogger Ami Ireland who runs her blog Undercover Superhero.
1. What inspired you to start blogging?
The person who inspired me to start my blog was Sam Cleasby, I had been reading her blog since I joined Scope’s Online Community and I loved how genuine she is. Sam also offered me the opportunity for writing a guest blog for Scope about my recovery and how volunteering had helped me.
I really enjoyed writing about my experience and wondered if I should give blogging a go. So, I did, and here I am two and a half years later and still enjoying it!
2. What advice would you give to other bloggers starting out?
My advice would be to focus on writing about what matters to you and what you are passionate about. Don’t ever force yourself to write, writing should be enjoyable and not feel like a chore. It’s easy to compare yourself to other bloggers, which can be disheartening. However, you will eventually find what is right for you.
Blogging is a learning curve – I’m still learning to this day.
3. What is your disability and how does it affect you on a daily basis?
In short, I have Sensory Ataxia, Transverse Myelitis, Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss, Optic Neuropathy and a possibility of Mitochondrial Disease – along with a few others but they are my main one’s.
Sensory Ataxia affects my walking, co-ordination and balance. This means I am a full-time wheelchair user and have limited mobility.
Ataxia also affects my fine-motor skills which means my grip is absolutely terrible. If something hasn’t got a sturdy handle on, then I have no chance of being able to hold something. Muscle weakness is another symptom I experience daily, along with my poor grip, it’s a great combination.
Transverse Myelitis means my spinal cord became inflamed. This happened in 2018, and I still deal with the aftereffects to this day. The main symptom I have now is altered sensations, especially in my hands.
I tell people that it’s like I am wearing rubber gloves, because of the rubbery bumpy texture inside, that’s what my fingers feel like. Like I can feel the insides of my fingers, it’s both weird yet fascinating.
Hearing loss, now this could be self-explanatory but there is actually more to it. I can hear to a degree, but along with Tinnitus, I struggle to understand what someone is saying unless they are facing me and speaking slowly and very clearly.
Music used to be my everything, but since I started experiencing hearing loss at the end of 2016, I’ve not been able to listen to music and it breaks my heart.
Optic Neuropathy, although I refer to it as central vision loss. For example, if I was to look at a clock, I can make out what colour the clock is, but I can’t make out what the small details are or be able to tell you the time.
Unless your face is inches away from my face, then I won’t be able to recognise you. The only good vision I have is my peripheral vision (side vision).
Last but not least, Mitochondrial Disease. This is an umbrella term used to describe a group of disorders that are caused by mutations, in the mitochondria in our cells, which leads to the cells not producing enough energy, thus causing a spectrum of symptoms – I really do mean there are so many different symptoms, which makes the disease difficult to diagnose.
I’m still undergoing tests for Mitochondrial Disease three years on. Specialists believe that this has caused my Sensory Ataxia, hearing loss and central vision loss.
It’s so much fun to explain how each of my conditions affect me every time I meet a new medical professional…
4. What do you love about being disabled?
The people I have connected with, without a doubt, has changed my life. It’s nice to have people around you who just ‘get it’, who completely understand how you’re feeling and why you’re feeling like that. Also, the opportunities I have been offered have given me the confidence to voice my opinions and try to make a difference.
5. If you were given a pill to cure your disability, would you take it and why?
This is a really tough question. I truly believe that I was meant to be disabled because when I was able-bodied, I felt like a nobody, I hated everything about me.
But my disabilities have taught me who I am, what makes me tick and I’m now able to accept me for being me.
Plus, in the four years since I became disabled, I’ve gained so much more out of life than I ever thought possible.
But to take a pill that would cure them all and become who I used to be again? No, I wouldn’t take that pill.
6. What has been your favourite concert or festival you’ve attended?
It definitely has to be a Westlife concert – they know how to put on a show! But which one? As sad as it was, I’d have to say their Farewell Tour in 2012. So much nostalgia, memories and tears.
I was heartbroken when they split up but I’m glad they have got back together again, although it makes me sad not being able to listen to any of their new music.
7. If you were organising a music festival, which three acts would you book as your headliners?
Boyband central – Westlife, Boyzone and McFly.
8. If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I’m not keen on travelling so I just stick to anywhere in England. Although, I would love to go to Disneyland Paris. Mainly because it looks like so much fun and I’m a huge kid at heart.
9. If you got stranded on a deserted island, what three things could you not live without?
My tablet, medication and baked beans.
10. What is your favourite film and why?
Avengers Assemble because it ignited my love for superheroes… and Loki. Mainly Loki…
11. Who would you like to play you in a movie of your life?
Elizabeth Olsen because she is awesome as Scarlet Witch. Especially scenes that are related to trauma, loss, and grief – she absolutely nails it.
12. What is your favourite book and why?
Not for the reason you might think, but I absolutely loved Fifty Shades of Grey (the first in the trilogy) because I loved being captivated by their excitement and lust, while exploring the depths of Christian’s past.
13. If you were to write an autobiography, what would you call it?
The Making of… Undercover Superhero
14. If you could go back in time, where would you go?
The nineties or noughties, because everything seemed carefree as a kid, and I miss that sometimes.
15. If you could be an animal, what would you be and why?
Technically not an animal, but I would love to be a Butterfly. I love the variety of colours they can be, and they look so elegant when they’re in flight.
16. What is your worst habit?
Being indecisive. It takes me forever to decide on something.
17. Are you an early bird or night owl?
I used to be an early bird but since Daisy was born, I have to be both now.
18. Which is your favourite season and why?
Spring because I love watching all the flowers come into bloom and that brighter days are ahead.
19. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a teacher, and a singer, but realised I didn’t like speaking nor singing in front of people. A make-up artist until I discovered that I only have the talent of making myself look like I had black eyes.
20. What is your dream job?
I genuinely do not know anymore. It changes so many times that I would be happy to try any job and see where it takes me.
You can also check out other RFD Question Time interviews.
I also wrote a guest blog titled The Reality of Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and Acute Retinal Necrosisthat you can read on Undercover Superhero.
If you would like to feature in my “RFD Question Time with…” series or publish an original guest post, please contact me.
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