Greetings, Thanks and Catharsis

I was on a podcast this week.  You may have heard about that.  In fact, I suspect that many of you reading this are here because of that, if that is the case, my thanks and welcome!

This is likely to be the first of a couple of posts (if not more) on the things that have come up for me, and resurfaced after hearing myself back, in the car on Tuesday night on the drive in to rehearsal.  This is the shorter post, with just some initial reactions because I can’t contain myself any longer!  Also, I realised belatedly that my last post was a rather snarky satire on the poorer sides of ‘Mental Health Awareness’.  I feel I should say at this juncture that, as the subheading of this blog says – it’s more complicated than that, and indeed so am I.

I’ve received some amazing feedback in both my personal circle, and more widely in the cyberverse after the podcast dropped, it was amazing to read people’s responses to my words and terribles and I feel privileged that so many have shared with me.  One of the striking things has been the high proportion of people with cerebral palsy (it’s pronounced more than one way?!), saying that they recognised some of the conflict in the way CP is seen, by those with disability, those without, and our society as a whole – three different angles that often cannot agree.  The validation that I’ve felt through those responses has been more than I could ever have hoped for.  I remember the first session I had with my current therapist, when I decided to go back into therapy because my relationship with my body was newly toxic.  I had never heard a disabled person express the sheer rage, confusion, fear and grief that I was experiencing – and at various times still experience – though much has changed over the 18 months I’ve been working on this.  I remember vividly saying “I don’t even know if this is a thing!”  I can now say with increasing solidity, that yes, this relationship with my own body that is so very complicated and often awful – is something that I am allowed to have.

I was stunned when Hans contacted me about an episode, but I’m so glad that I responded to that interest.  TTFA has been a major part in a gradual, ongoing process of me finding ways to understand myself through sharing.  I really think there’s an incredible value in spaces to tell your story.  I think that people understand on a surface level, how catharsis can be important.  That feeling of relief, release and internal pressure.  But I think that is often to undersell just how valuable such experiences and spaces can be.  Catharsis is not simply a primal scream of emotions long repressed.  It’s an admission of our truer selves, our identity, our whole being.  Our golden and our broken.

I will have more in the coming days, but I just felt it was right to put something out into the blogosphere at this time.  If there’s anything you want to ask/vent/talk about, on my perspectives on disability, identity, mental health and the intersections of those or anything else! – just drop me a line here or on twitter.  Or y’know – there’s a whole load more on this blog!

Author’s note I: This may be the shortest entry I’ll ever write in this space – note this for rarity value.

Author’s note II: It seems a lot of people like an English accent, if my student debt situation gets out of control in the next few years – I’m strongly considering a Patreon page where people can pay for me to say random shit in my undeniably English accent.  



5 thoughts on “Greetings, Thanks and Catharsis

  1. I really enjoyed the podcast. I have a son who is on the autism spectrum and his disability is invisible but he struggles with so many of the same things. He’s 17 and having a horrible time with self-loathing right now. All he wants in the whole world is to be just like everyone else and it’s pretty hard to watch as his mother. We have him in therapy and we do everything we can to help him but I think he’s really lonely. I’m going to play the podcast for him because while he doesn’t have CP, he has a lot of the same emotions about his own mind.

    I think your idea about having people pay to have you say random things as hilarious! I literally laughed out loud. 🙂

    Wishing you all the best,
    Bobbi in Virginia


    1. Thanks for sharing this Bobbi. Self-loathing is a really horrible thing to have to wrestle with, I hope therapy and all the other things you’re doing to support your son help get him to a place where he can feel more comfortable in his own skin and his own company.

      Glad to have caused a laugh as well,
      Much love,


  2. Very much enjoyed the podcast and gaining some understanding about the perspective of an individual dealing with a disability in our crazy world. I was curious about how you view the manner in which your parents raised you. In what ways was it helpful and maybe not so much? Do you think there were ways in which you might have been better prepared to handle the realities of living with C.P.?
    Thank you for sharing, and yes, I love that accent😊
    Sherry in California

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment Sherry, and thanks for a really interesting question…

      I view the way in which my parents raised me as almost entirely positive. For all that I criticise the social model of disability in this blog and more widely, it does give you a certain amount of space to push against a system and try to make your own way. My parents also blessed me with a great amount of determination and bloodymindedness, which in my early years was certainly championed and praised.

      If anything, my gripe is with the disability community and those that work with disabled children. Because we (rightly) spend so much time on positivity, overcoming, disability equality etc. – there is no space to talk about the inherent negative sides of disability. Breaking down prejudice is all very well, but if you removed ableism tomorrow, there would still be no world in which I could run the 100m at any speed!

      My parents were not to know any of this, but the problems come because although I knew there would be physical decline from my teens onwards, I had no method, framework or space to talk about that.

      I hope this answers your question, if not – holler back!



      1. Thank you for your input. This is such important information for you to share. I hope it gets out to people who can help kids (and adults for that matter) to allow their voices to be heard and their fears and frustrations to be shared. I applaud you for your honesty, humor, and strength. Very impressive!


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