Since finishing my studies I’ve been experiencing the loss of occupational role. I spent so many weeks counting down to when I would finish at university and being super excited for the summer but now it’s here and I still am looking for a job I’m not enjoying my time off as much as I thought I would as I much prefer to be busy.
I’d be lying if I said that I’ve accepted that I may be in this position a while as it’s not easy finding an accessible job and the last few weeks have been hard. But, this got me and Margaret (yes, another idea I can’t take full credit for) thinking about my transition into adulthood and exploring this in more detail, therefore I asked Mum and Dad for their thoughts.
So let’s begin the Q&A, I’ve been wanting to do a Q&A with my parents for a while now so I am very excited (this is also part of something exciting I’m working on behind the scenes).
1. How did it feel when I was discharged from paediatric services?
“Our personals feeling is that it was cut immediately with no support in place. There wasn’t even any support out there to assist us as parents to help you into adulthood. Your needs are still the same but you have extra needs physical and mentally as you start to mature.“Mum & Dad
My parents and I have had this conversation countless times in the last 5 years and I agree when I’ve had regular input from a multidisciplinary team and someone at the other end of the phone for 16-years for that to be gone it was very daunting. It’s always interesting to hear my parents perspective and it was mentally challenging for me so it must have been for them.
2. If I had continued with occupational therapy during the last 5 years, what would you think would be different?
“We think you’ve missed out on the 1-1 services personalized to your needs. Luckily you have the experience, knowledge and support with all your family.”Mum & Dad
Yes, as mentioned in question 1 adjusting to not having this support has been difficult especially considering the change in my personal needs. I remember when my friends and I first started doing what was to me ‘big events’ like going away it was strange to not consult an occupational therapist or physio considering how much planning used to go into such events.
Now the pandemic– it had taken me a good few years to gradually build that independence and confidence up and since it’s just been me and my laptop for so long it’s suddenly really daunting again. As my parents mentioned my wider family is supportive- we have multiple disabilities in my family so we aren’t afraid of tackling those ‘difficult’ conversations.
3. Do you think occupational therapy could help me now?
“Yes, we feel that occupational therapy can help you now as you transition into this next chapter. But you will always have insight and the knowledge to assist yourself.”Mum & Dad
I agree with my parents, I mean I’m a lot more independent in myself than I was a few years ago. But thinking about my future is scary. Mentally I feel ready to start the next chapter of my life and I am ready for change but when I think of my daily physical challenges all the ‘grown up’ stuff suddenly that life and new chapter feels like a million miles away. Yet, I have a little more confidence knowing that I’ve got the tools from my degree to help me navigate this adventure.
4. How confident do you feel on a scale of 1-10 when you think of me successfully:
Getting a job
“We are very confident that moving house and getting a job is definitely a 10 Georgia! These things will happen, things need to be put into place correctly so you can achieve these happily and safely therefore it may take more time than others.”
Mum & Dad
Firstly I’m aware that this is a very long blog so thank you for sticking with me and thank you to my parents for their optimism on this question I certainly need it as this blog is providing to be a challenging reflection.
I do agree with what my parents are saying because as much as love them I am certainly ready for a bit more independence and I will make sure this happens. I won’t be doing this despite my disability I’ll be doing this for me, yet thinking of doing this without any professional support is challenging. I already have so many questions.
5. What support do you feel I need to move house and get a job?
“You will have to have some adaptations in the workplace. Maybe depending on where your job is you do have to consider travelling which can make you more fatigued, adding to your working day. Working from home would be different but you still need everything put in place.
Every transition has been different in your life and moving house would be the same. We would assess each step to support you and these will slot into place (always teething problems), we have got through challenges before.”Mum & Dad
As mentioned previously in this ridiculously long post (sorry again) I am very lucky that I have a great support network around me to figure out these next steps. Transitions are hard and I do have a lot of things to consider therefore I have to be realistic about my capabilities when thinking about my future. Again thanks for the optimism Mum and Dad I do hope that things will ‘slot into place’. I am quite impatient and it would be nice to think I could do this without getting caught in the red tape but after 21-years of experience with a disability I am preparing for a few twist turns in this next chapter.
6. To support me to achieve both these next steps, what support would you like?
“Advice from professionals would be beneficial, we will always continue to use our own support networks i.e family and friends. We want you to be treated equally and fairly to ensure equity and enable you to become independent.”Mum & Dad
It’s not surprising that both my parents and I feel like we need support as a family and not just me. I do think about how different me having more independence must be for my parents. Whenever I’m at an event that enables me to be more independent I keep them in the loop and to be fair I probably message them more than they message me.
My parents and I have a good relationship in terms of managing my disability and of course, my occupational therapy knowledge has enhance my techniques but we’ve always made it work and will continue to do so. Yet, it would be wrong for us to think that as I move to my next chapter we won’t be faced by these not so ‘unexpected battles’.
Thank you for reading what has been my longest blog in a while.
I want to finish off by saying that this isn’t a pity party because that isn’t my style and I’m excited to think about the future. This is just a raw reflection as I’m figuring out my next steps. I shouldn’t feel the need to justify when I do a ‘negative’ blog, I know, yet I always do. I am passionate about my future and I do have the drive but as this blog has uncovered from my perspective thinking about my future does heighten my internalised ableism.
Are you at a similar stage to me and if so what are your thoughts?