Mental Health & Me

Evening Everyone!

I hope all of you are having an incredible week?…

It’s easy to wake up everyday and put your game face on but when you’re living with CP, sometimes it really isn’t that easy. Mental health is another taboo subject brushed under the carpet by ourselves and the public eye. This makes me so angry.

In tonight’s blog I want to talk to you all about how I’ve really bounced back and how I’m still smiling with the help of my incredible family. Strap yourselves in!

As a child, I was always smiling, but I cried a lot too and still do now. As I’ve mentioned previously communicating verbally didn’t come naturally until I was 5. All I could do was make sounds and say words now and then, I was so little but bloody hell the amount of frustration was unbelievable, However, with close guidance from nursery, like a sponge I managed to soak everything in and I made amazing progress. See, giving up has or never  will be an option and by speaking up about mental health issues, I hope people who read my blog can finally start to do the same

As you gently phase out of your early years, you begin to familiarise yourself with everything an adult can but with a child’s bird’s-eye view.

For example, I had my first care agency when I was 3 and various other ones  have come and gone but having so-called professionals trying to dictate your future and making unnecessary changes especially when you have full mental capacity really does take an emotional toll regardless if a child with CP can speak or not. It doesn’t matter if your child needs equipment to learn to communicate, but the priority in this case should be a voice has to be heard.

I think this is a major thing we all need to remember when it comes to our own mentality. We are not designed to have superpowers and we don’t operate by the touch of a button either. Recharging our batteries  is vital.

This year was my final year studying Level 3 Business at Blackburn College for 2 years when I received the devastating news I was unable to continue studying because I’d reduced my modules due to struggling with workload in my  1st year.

I can’t actually begin to describe it. It was like everything had completely shut down and all I kept thinking about were the memories I created with the people who really took me under their wing including my support assistants and my personal tutor. I still have days where I cry and I feel like I no longer have any fight in me but it’s still very raw. All I have to do is grit my teeth and show the world what I’m truly made of.

If you or somebody you know is suffering with mental health. Please don’t suffer in silence. Tonight give your friends or family a phone call, make dinner,  chill out or give somebody a hug if they need it because it takes ounces of strength to smile underneath the cracks.

Francesca x

Advertisements

Stand Up And Speak Out

Welcome to a brand new week!

In today’s blog I want to speak about a subject that we’re all guilty of shying away from and this is something very close to my heart. Multiple Sclerosis. What has MS got in common with CP I hear you ask? Well they’re very much alike in many ways you may think. With any prognosis the news can be utterly devastating but as I’ve always said with excellent know-how anything is truly possible.

If you or somebody you know has this condition, has CP too and you don’t have the slightest clue about MS then please read this.

What Is Multiple Sclerosis?

  • MS is a condition affecting the nervous system and can start in your mid-20’s or 30’s.
  • Myelin protects nerve fibres which control messages to the brain
  • Right now in the UK alone.  100,000 people are diagnosed with MS. The condition affects 3 times more women than men.
  • Once diagnosed, MS remains with you forever but specialist treatment is available to help with symptom progression.
  • In everyday circumstances, your immune system banishes any unwanted infections. However, Myelin mistakes this as a foreign body and uses this as an attacker. Whilst this happens the myelin is damaged and gets rid of any nerves more commonly known as lesions.
  • This causes disruption to brain messages, therefore the messages are distorted or they’re unable to get through whatsoever. The damage to the brain causes the increase in symptoms resulting in a steady decline over time.
  • Vision, Balance, Dizziness and Fatigue are the most common physical symptoms of MS. You may have difficulty accomplishing small everyday tasks we all take for granted such as going to the toilet, muscle tremors , speaking and swallowing.

I was 4 years old when my mum was diagnosed with MS. When you’re so young it’s an extraordinary thing to have to deal with regardless if you have Cerebral Palsy. But as far as I was concerned I thought my mum was going to be just like me and I was going to do anything I possibly could to help her,  because that’s the way you perceive things through the eyes of a child.

Rewind, 10 years ago before medication and technology became fantastic. My earliest memories of MS were seeing my mum use a walking stick, using a step to get in and out of the bath, watching her being pumped full of  intravenous steroids. Looking back now you wouldn’t think all  this took place because my mum manages her condition superbly and I’m so proud of her. The only main side-effect she encounters is fatigue but she really does blow me away.

Oritse  Williams from boyband JLS  did a documentary on  Channel 4 about his mum battling MS. Just aged 12,  he sacrificed everything to become a full-time carer whilst juggling a normal life and the dream of a career in music and I’m so proud of him for finally opening up and speaking about such a taboo subject. One day I would like to work with Oritse more closely on this. Oritse’s mum Sonia is just incredible.

Please don’t suffer in silence. Speak up and speak out.

Francesca X

The Trouble With My Dad

 

Hi Everyone!!

I hope all of you have had a fantastic week?…

With Christmas just around the corner I wanted tonight’s blog to emphasize the importance of families regardless if you’re blood related or not. Yes we all have smiles, tears and strife but life’s a rollercoaster and we should all grab opportunities as they come our way.

Tonight I wanted to share my thoughts on a documentary I watched back in September that has and will stay with me forever. This documentary is about 21 year old Kyle Tucker who lives in Derby.  Image result for kyle tucker actor

During a heated argument the man who Kyle believed was his real dad accidentally blurted out that he wasn’t Kyle’s biological father. Finding out such momentous news like this at such a young age is jaw-dropping.

After this devastating piece of news, Kyle made the remarkably courageous decision to track down his dad Dennis.

In my opinion, Kyle made huge efforts to have contact with Dennis on a weekly basis however, this was short-lived. Soon after this, Kyle started feeling upset and started really contemplating and questioning who he really was  after receiving such a massive bombshell previously even though he still had his immediate family close by.

Kyle went to visit his Auntie Halima where further surprises were revealed. Kyle discovered he has 12 auntie’s and uncle’s on dad Dennis’s side of the family all originating from Jamaica but lots of them moved to America to look for work. Kyle also has a half brother named Isaac who lives in Manchester.

During the documentary Kyle flew out to Miami to visit Auntie Carol and Uncle Winston and all his other relatives who welcomed him straightaway with open arms.

During filming, Kyle bravely admitted he was excited about seeing his extended family but you could tell just by the look on his face, he was worried about rejection but Kyle needn’t have worried. Auntie Carol, quite rightly so told Kyle to stop worrying about everything that’d happened with Dennis and told him that he would always have his family in the USA to fall back on.

Whilst watching Kyle visit family in America, I could already feel a massive outpouring of love for Kyle already felt by his newly extended family but the visual changes in Kyle were phenomenal just by looking at the smile on  his face, all those wasted years of rejection, isolation, hurt and anger just melted away and the fact that he finally has a real sense of belonging by people who really do truly care about Kyle really does make me sleep well at night.

Overall, I found the documentary very emotional to watch and I cried. But at the same time, I felt a huge sense of relief because Kyle could finally put the last pieces of his very messy jigsaw back together and finally put the past to bed.

There aren’t enough words to describe how proud I am of Kyle for showing such incredible maturity tackling a common subject and not being afraid of wearing his heart on his sleeve.

I do hope Dennis is ashamed of himself by not wanting to communicate fully with such a genuine guy. If anything he should be proud of the fact that Kyle’s refused to let his past  defy him.

If you share a lively household please give your loved ones a much tighter hug than usual because you never know what’s around the corner.

Francesca X

 

 

 

 

CP-A society’s perspective

Hey guys!

Sorry for my lack of blogging!! Hope everybody’s had a fantastic week?

When you’re young and handed the devastating news that you or a loved one has Cerebral Palsy, no matter how hard anybody tries nobody can prepare you for it. Your whole world is turned upside down and you’re constantly untangling the what’s and why’s. Yes, there are massive hurdles to overcome as we all have to do on a daily basis but with plenty of determination, a fantastic support  network and huge smiles anything is possible.

But how do you explain Cerebral Palsy to a younger sibling who is happily playing with toys blissfully unaware? or rude people who just walk straight into you or they talk to another family member instead of you just because they think your whole spin on how you live with a disability isn’t important or they think you’re completely incapable of standing up for yourself.

Well, in today’s blog it’s my turn to set the record straight. Strap yourselves in everybody!!

Now, I love going shopping or a day out just as much as the next person but, there’s nothing I despise more than some condescending motherfudger leaning over and saying to one of my family members ‘Aw bless what’s wrong with her?’ It’s not rocket science, the answer to your question is in pure black and white. I use a wheelchair but let’s get this crystal clear shall we? I have a voice and I’m so glad I can be an advocate for young people who may be afraid to speak up or they may not be so lucky to experience a prolonged quality of life.

As for explaining CP to a young child or a younger sibling, the key is to just make it simple. Get them to play together or let them help carry out age appropriate tasks. If you use too many complicated words they may become anxious and scared. By tackling this early they will understand their sibling or family member is no different to anybody else

People really do need to take a step back and just focus on the bigger picture. If you see someone who uses a wheelchair in a shop or wherever you may be today and they’re struggling to accomplish the smallest task, don’t be afraid to offer assistance or reassurance because you can make somebody’s day without even realizing it.

Employers need to evaluate this too and really open their eyes. Everything is so focused on having fantastic exam results or you can’t carry out a certain role because of your disability,  lack of facilities for carrying out personal care ,or poor disability access upon entering and leaving premises. Life should be all about grasping opportunities and loving every single second instead of crappy pieces of paper.

‘Dream, Believe,  Achieve’

Francesca X

Francesca’s Playlist

Hey Guys!!

I’m sorry I haven’t blogged for ages my schedule’s been crazy!! Hope everyone’s ready for the weekend?…

As I’ve said on numerous occasions at times, CP can be a very exciting but very confusing jigsaw puzzle with a few odd pieces missing. But from diagnosis onwards if you make sure you have a healthy, positive mental attitude and your head’s firmly screwed on life with CP can be amazing. Yes, we all cry and life can be crap but we have to remind ourselves we’re not machines. When this happens, there’s a beautiful thing helping me to smile again. Music.

In tonight’s blog I’m going to take you through some of my favourite artists, so strap yourselves in and away we go!!

Craig David- Craig burst onto the garage scene back in 1999 and was just an ordinary boy next door from Southampton at age 19 with classic hits including ‘Rewind, ‘What’s Your Flava? and ‘Walking Away’. After a long hiatus he’s made an astounding comeback and in my opinion, he’s better than ever before. His new tracks such as ‘One More Time, ‘When The Baseline Drops, and ‘Ain’t Giving Up’ are just absolute bangers and they always leave me with a big smile on my face and yes I do get caught dancing away. When I’m in need of a pick me up, Craig’s music takes me to a completely different place.  Image result for craig david

His new album ‘Following My Intuition has been released today and I’m OBSESSED with it. I’m going to see/meet him in Manchester on Wednesday, not only that I’m seeing him perform his TS5 set on October 21st at Manchester Academy and on tour at Manchester Arena in April and I can’t wait!!

JLS-This squeaky clean boyband exploded onto our screens in The X Factor in 2008 and were an instant phenomenon. Their hits ‘Love You More, ‘Hottest Girl In The World’ ‘She Makes Me Wanna’ ‘Do You Feel What I Feel?’ and ‘Beat Again’ just blow my mind. Even though they’re no longer together they still get me in the mood for dancing.

On a serious note I am so  immensely proud of Oritse Williams  who founded the band because he’s spoken so passionately and openly about his mum’s ongoing battle with MS and finally raising awareness about such an awful condition,  My love for Oritse is beyond anything you can ever imagine and I’m so proud of him for staying so strong, Oritse is also flying solo with a new single which I’m praying to GOD drops soon because I can’t wait to see him in action!! Image result for jls  Dixie Chicks- This band reignited country music back in 1998 with their debut album ‘Wide Open Spaces’. My dad bought me the album when I was 4 on holiday in America and 18 years later I still can’t get enough of it because the whole album is all about standing up for what you believe in. I saw them live in March this year and they were amazing!!  Image result for dixie chicks

So there you go… A little insight into my favourite music. Music has got me through some horrendous times and I honestly don’t know where I’d be without it, but 22 years later I’m still singing and smiling!!

Francesca X

Francesca- The Bookworm

Hi Everyone!

I hope you’re all having a beautiful week so far?…

Today’s blog is as the title suggests all about celebrating the wonderful world of books!! Growing up and now as I’ve made my transition into adulthood I still absolutely love nothing better than reading a book and shutting myself off no matter how excellent or crap life is.

I absolutely LOVED reading at school but I also loved sitting down on the carpet with my friends at primary school letting my imagination run wild whilst our teacher recited a story.

When I moved into the junior section of primary school. I had a wonderful Year 4 teacher named Mrs Kirk who absolutely adores books.

Even though we were learning about compulsory subjects like English and Maths, Mrs Kirk always found a way to make learning in the classroom  creative, inspiring, jaw-dropping but the most important thing is we all had fun!! I certainly did anyway!! Mrs Kirk still works at school a but she is now a children’s author which I think is absolutely incredible and she should be so very proud of herself.

Very soon I will be taking part in an e-learning course on how to write stories for children and I can hopefully become a children’s author  and publish a book about living with a disability. I’m very nervous but I can’t wait!!

I believe reading sets us all up for life and we should all be encouraged to read even if our lives are frantic. It doesn’t just revolve being superglued to an IPad or a singing and dancing brand new smartphone. Reading also helps us to get a firm grip on reality and some pretty nasty situations happening all over the globe because let’s face it life with or without CP isn’t always full of smiles, sunny days and rainbows 24/7. Come and join me as I take you on a journey of my top 5 all- time favourite books.

Here we go!!;

The Story Of Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson. I   absolutely adored this book as a kid and I still can’t get enough of it now. Jacqueline Wilson tells the story of 10-year old Tracy and her adventures whilst living in a children’s home.I think the illustrations are absolutely stunning as we get a huge insight into Tracy’s humorous  but sometimes slightly bonkers imagination. Jacqueline Wilson delivers the topic of living in foster care with such ease and poise on both sides of the coin, because foster care in my opinion is such a taboo subject but she has brilliant perception of what is fantasy and what is sometimes very harsh reality for a lot of young people.

  • Matilda by Roald Dahl. This book tells the story of an incredible little girl named Matilda. Her parents Mr and Mrs Wormwood hardly take any notice of her but get quite a shock when she starts school because as she grows up, Matilda is extremely advanced for her age and starts to develop magical powers as payback for the Wormwood’s appalling behaviour. The illustrations are flawless.  It’s amazing what can be accomplished with a ginormous imagination and plenty of self-belief. This is another book I read again and again.    Image result for matilda book illustrations
  • Pandemonium At School by Jeremy Strong. This is another one of my favourite’s but Mrs Kirk absolutely adores this book as she used to read this to us as a class and she actually dressed up as Miss Pandemonium on World Book Day and  I absolutely LOVED it.  Dullandon Primary School is overseen by a very strict head teacher but utter chaos begins when a supply teacher named Miss Pandemonium arrives to teach the Year 3 class  but her idea of teaching involves making paper planes and Friendship Cake. For me this book is still an absolute pleasure.  Pandemonium at School: Jeremy Strong
  • The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy. This book tells the story of a  rebellious young girl named Mildred Hubble and her friends as they settle into their first term at Miss Cackle’s Academy. Mildred tries her best to fit in but taking lessons in broomstick flying and making potions is just a disaster from the very beginning. The book is just one of many of the Worst Witch titles. For me these are another children’s must-have.  Image result for the worst witch book series

Charlotte’s Web by E.B White. This book tells the story of a little piglet named Wilbur. A young girl named Fern Arable begins to look after the young piglet but Wilbur is sold to Fern’s uncle and he shares the farm with other loveable  animals. Wilbur, then starts to become friends with a spider living in the barn called Charlotte. Unfortunately, Wilbur is at risk of being slaughtered at the farm so Charlotte begins to write Wilbur, incredible and motivational messages using her web such as “Some pig”. Another children’s classic.

Image result for charlotte's web book

If your child has CP but doesn’t have the ability to communicate lift-the-flap books are a great way to enhance role-play, encourage  sensory development and the chance to really explore their environment. If you are a teacher or teaching assistant looking for ideas to spice up your classroom then ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ would be perfect as the caterpillar is always hungry so with this story you could do a fun, blindfolded taste test or ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt’ are excellent books to perform with children  in a classroom setting whether if that’s in a mainstream or in a special educational needs school if they do not have a fantastic attention span or get bored easily.  Image result for the very hungry caterpillar book Image result for we're going on a bear hunt

 

As you can see my love for books is clear to see but my story is only just beginning.

Francesca X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My hobbies

Hi everyone!!

Sorry for my lack of blogging recently!! I hope everyone’s ready for the weekend?!! I know I am! Life with CP sometimes feels like you’re a really small fish but living in a massive ocean but with plenty of determination, giggles and a healthy positive, mental attitude living with CP isn’t too shabby.

In today’s blog I’d love to let you explore what I like to do in my spare time and what really drives me to stay focused and kick arse, but most importantly where I see myself now and in many more years to come but let’s get one thing  absolutely crystal clear, as most of you are aware I’m a feisty bitch and I  will not be told what my limits are, and I get back up.

Here we go!!

I love those adult colouring books as the designs are so random, intricate but absolutely stunning. Normally you choose specific colours if you colour a face or an everyday object but the beauty of adult colouring books are you can let your imagination go wild. If you’re sad or angry these are fantastic for reducing anger, any unwanted stress or anxiety without the overuse of ridiculous 21st century technology frying our brains.  Image result for adult colouring books

I also love to go on the internet. When used appropriately the internet can be wonderful but mind-boggling all rolled into one

When I do log on I love to interact with friends on Facebook but I must admit Facebook just doesn’t float my boat anymore as there’s too much bullshit happening in this world anyway, people plaster their whole lives on there. and update their status because it’s raining or they’re hungry. I mean.. really?!! I also like to use Google to work out how our world really works. I surprise and make myself laugh sometimes by what I find on there.

Give me strength!!  If you need to argue with somebody what happened to just picking up the phone?  A phone call just to make sure we’re all ok once in a while can really go a long way. The only reason why I still use Facebook is to just advertise this blog. I’m more of a Twitter addict now as I have really nice celebrity followers and get lots of replies!! I talk to Oritse Williams from JLS all the time!!  and he’s one of my nicest followers who always likes my tweets I send him, and more than anything I would LOVE to meet him.I’m no stalker… Honestly !! 🙂

Cooking and baking are my other favourite pastimes but the truth is I really don’t do it as much as I should as the last 2 years have been solely dedicated to my college course and working my arse off through blood, sweat and tears in the process, when I used to cook and bake I used to love baking cakes, once I even made my dad a roast dinner followed by chocolate cake and he absolutely LOVED it. If you’re reading this from anywhere in the world a roast dinner usually consists of beef, pork, chicken or lamb with vegetables such as carrots, broccoli or sweetcorn followed by roasted or mashed potatoes and gravy. One of my favourite meals!!

Another thing I love to do is listen to music.

No matter what your mood it really is a wonderful thing. I’m a massive Craig David fan and so far I’ve been so impressed with his new music but I still love his old classics like ‘Fill Me In’ Rewind, and Walking Away. Whenever I’m in a very bad place his music makes me feel like life will always be ok as long as you learn to always get back on the saddle. I absolutely adore JLS and I was devastated when they split. I love their songs ‘Beat Again’, ‘Do You Feel What I Feel?’ ‘The Club Is Alive’ ‘She Makes Me Wanna’, ‘Love You More’ and ‘Take A Chance On Me’ The founder of JLS Oritse Williams is also going it alone as a solo artist and  I can’t wait to see him in action.

He is such a sweet, down to earth guy despite everything he’s been through and I can’t put it into words to describe how proud I am of him. I just love music in general and I would be lost without it.

I love going to Blackburn Youth Zone too. I attend their Diversity Club sessions every Sunday from 10am-1pm. The Diversity sessions are for anybody with physical or learning difficulties from the ages of 9-25 and we do a variety of fun activities each week but what I love about Diversity Club is each activity is tailor-made to each individual so nobody’s excluded. To become a member it costs just £3 where admittance into youth zone and all activities just cost 50p.

I only started to attend Blackburn Youth Zone in June this year and since then I’ve never looked back. Each staff member is committed to each individual and they really do care about getting to know all of us on a close but very professional basis. Blackburn Youth Zone is one massive family and I feel so privileged to be such a huge part of it.  Image result for blackburn youth zone

Blackburn Youth Zone.

So there you have it… An insight into what really makes me tick I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Francesca X