Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year…

I can’t believe another year is almost over, I can’t believe that in two days we will be celebrating Christmas 2016! 

This year for me has been a whirlwind, but one of the hardest years of my life. My mental health has got the better of me and in all honesty, I’m just proud I’ve survived it. It’s seen me hit my lowest, it’s seen me cry over food, it’s seen me lay awake at 3am with my phone on airplane mode so that I don’t have to have contact with the world. I’ve gained my eating disorder voice that claims to be my friend, the friend who talks to me when anyone mentions food and makes me shout at the real person who’s talking to me, I’ve reached breaking point.

But, this year has also brought me laughs and smiles, some of the best opportunities of my life. I’ve started college and left college, I started weekend work and left weekend work, but I have started my apprenticeship and I’m loving every second. I’m determined to get my level two qualification in childcare this time next year to be able to start my level three! I’ve turned eighteen and celebrated three weekends in a row throughout November, apart from being allowed to do all he things an eighteen year old can do, the novelty wore off quiet quickly. I’ve lost people that I called my friends once upon a time, I’ve gained friends that are amazing and have shown me the true meaning of friendship and I’ve had all the amazing people stay in my life and by my side for yet another year, I am able to wish all those people an amazing Christmas and New Year for another year running and without them I’d be nowhere.

All in all, I look back on 2016 as a bit of a blur, but I am proud that I’ve survived it! Here’s hoping 2017 will be the start of my proper recovery and the beginning of the well and happy Iesha. The last thing I can say is a very merry Christmas and a very happy New Year to you all, my followers on this blog, my friends and my family. Thank you all for the support and courage you have given me to get through this year, without you all I have no clue where I’d be right now! 

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL, I HOPE 2017 GIVES YOU ALL THE HAPPINESS IN THE WORLD! I’ll look forward to blogging to you all next year, for more of my journey and adventures. 
Lots of love, 

Iesha 

❤️💚❤️💚

Dear Eating Disorder…

 *Don’t read if you’re easily triggered* 
Dear eating disorder, this letter is for you..
 Dear eating disorder, can I have a break yet? Can I just have one day where you leave me alone, where I can have a normal life. I’m bored of constantly having to please you, or to do every order you tell me. I’m me, I’m Iesha I’m an 18 year old who should be enjoying her life but instead I’m being completely controlled by everything you’re telling me to do, you make me feel exactly how you think I should and I can’t change that, do I not deserve a break yet?
Dear eating disorder, can I have some energy yet? I’d love a day where I can get up in the morning and actually have the energy to complete just a simple task, like brushing my teeth without having to feel like I’ve got the weight of the world on my shoulders. But instead, I can only just manage to sit up or press the controls on my chair to make myself move, even that you tell me I should be crying because it’s using too much energy. I have an apprenticeship to start next week, I just pray you won’t mess that up for me too. 
Dear eating disorder, can I make my friends and family proud yet? To them I’m just being “rude” or “lazy” when I say I can’t face a family dinner, but you know yourself that isn’t the case. It’s you controlling me so much that I can’t face sitting around a table and eating dinner, you’ve made me think that’s my worst nightmare, so now it is! I wish they could see how you’ve taken over me, so to “think positive” or “be proud of myself” is just out of the question. You’ve made me look like I don’t want to try or like I enjoy being sad, which I really don’t… they just can’t understand any of this!
Dear eating disorder, can I tell someone how I really feel? All you let me say is “I don’t like eating” and then when I get asked why you make me reply “I don’t know”. But the truth is me and you both know why, you just won’t let me say. We both know that we don’t like having food inside my body, because it’s a failure and the sad thing is I’ve learnt to believe you. I want my calorie intake to have gone up a bit so that my weight goes up, but you make me believe it’s better if it’s lower and it’s bad if I eat more so I can’t maintain a weight and at 18 years old I’m the weight a 10 year old should be, please just let me be myself?
So yes, eating disorder this is for you. You’re not my friend at all, you already have done and will continue to ruin my life. I want to be me, but you’ve convinced me that my life is better with you in it. I know you won’t give me anything that I have just asked you for in this letter but I wanted to try. I guess you won’t stop until you’ve won, but trust me you already have and soon we’ll end up in hospital together if you don’t stop, but I guess that’s what you want. Everyone tells me to beat your voice in my head, but they don’t know it is constant battle I have with you. In a sad sort of way you’re the only one who will ever understand this battle, but that’s because you made the rules up yourself… I just wish you could make everyone else understand them too, so that they can help me a bit more! But hey, eating disorder this is me and you on this battle. For now it’s you in control, but trust me one day it’ll be me in control, just you wait… Dear eating disorder.
Not so much love,
Iesha

Constantly Feeling Like A Faliure…

* DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE EASILY TRIGGERED BY MENTAL ILLNESS*

First of all, I need to apologise for not blogging in ages. My life went from what most people would consider normal, to very abnormal very quickly. But, I’m back and I’m here to share more of my story, so sit back and relax, it’s time to read again!
The last time I wrote to you guys was when I had just got myself a job, well after months of campaignning for my job launch that all went a bit wrong. I only managed about a month with working every weekend and I couldn’t understand why all of a sudden I couldn’t cope, then it all became very clear. All of you who follow my blog will know that I have Cerebral Palsy, but I’ve never let that change who I am, I thought that without a doubt that would be my worst card dealt in life and I would be able to cope with anything else life decides to throw at me… but I was wrong! 

I have struggled with Depression and Anxiety since early last year and it’s got me down but I’ve always been able to stay in control, until now. I have been diagnosed with an Eating Disorder and it’s changed my life forever, I’ve never really been a big eater, but it’s never really been an issue until earlier this year, but especially the last few months. An Eating Disorder is more than just not wanting to eat now and again, an Eating Disorder is a battle and a battle with your own mind. It’s not wanting to eat food because you feel bad for eating, it’s being petrified anytime the idea of getting weighed comes up, it’s feeling like rubbish every single time you do eat, because you feel like you’ve lost control or a few more calories change your next weigh in. 

Everyone knows that when you don’t eat enough during the day, you have no energy to even do a simple task like hold a pen or take notes. So my eating disorder resulted in me having to leave college, because I didn’t have the energy and it also has had a really knock one effect with my depression and anxiety. The thought of leaving the house to go to college got too much to handle because I can’t let people see me like this, then I left work because I felt the same and answering the phone got too much to handle and I couldn’t cope. Still now to this day I can’t cope, someday I feel like I can conquer the world whereas other days I need to stay in bed and sleep the day away, because the world is too much of a scary place! 

I feel like a constant let down to my family, because to them mental illness is like a cold, so you should just “get over it”. I’m the family member who left college twice, I’m the family member who couldn’t keep a job. I know it’s not their fault though, mental illnesses are a nightmare to understand and I’m really appreciative of everything they have done for me through this so far and still are doing. Also, apologies to all my friends that I’ve shut out, I’m just trying to fix myself and not drag you all down with me.

I’m determined to get to a better place though, I’m determined to win this on going battle. Thank you to everyone reading this who have supported me so far, it means so much! If it’s not okay then it’s not the end❤️

Childhood Cancer Awarness Month🎗

I don’t think many of you who actually follow my blog on my website knows this, but I know so many of you who follow me on social media know about the support I give to Cancer Research Relay For Life Bournemouth and East Dorset. I never normally blog twice in one month, but this is something close to my heart after being part of the Relay Family, especially this year onwards. Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, here’s my view…

Until I joined the Relay For Life Family I never really understood how much work goes into finding cures, celebrating, remembering and fighting back. Cancer is petrifying for the adults that have to face it, how do children fight back too? The only thing children should be thinking of is if Peppa Pig is going to be on TV when they wake up in the morning, or how their first day at school is going to go, or even in their adolescent years the biggest stress for these young people should be getting the best grades they can in their GCSE’s… Having to fight cancer shouldn’t have to come into this! 

So how can these incredible children stay so strong and start beating cancer? All those treatments, the needles and injections, the Chemo, all the anaesthetic they need for the endless operations they need, the endless overnight stays in hospital and so much more. It can all change overnight, from going to bed healthy and well to wake up feeling the worst they ever have, it’s a whirlwind. But, they are able to understand more than we think, they know what’s going to happen  and they Physically, Intellectually, Emotionally and Socially teach themselves to battle through each day with Cancer. 

Then there’s the parents, they sit in every appointment, are in that anaesthetic room watching their child get put to sleep, they sleep on a tiny camp bed or sometimes even an upright chair whilst their own flesh and blood lay in a hospital bed attached to beeping machines and IV lines. They have to stay strong for their children and act like they’re not worried even when they lay awake and  even when they finally let their guards down without their children having a clue. Let’s face it, they’re heros in themselves and give their children hope to fight the next day. 

So, that’s why at Relay our Survivours are a huge part of the event, we recognise childhood Cancer specifically being as part of our opening ceremony when they walk with a character  like Elsa to give them they congratulations for staying strong. One of our laps is childhood Cancer based, we show this by carrying a teddy bear round a lap with us. Then of course there is our Candle Of Hope ceremony in which we Celebrate, Remember and Fight back to Cancer!

By Relaying for 24 Hours we show that Cancer never sleeps, so thank you to everyone involved in Relay for helping to beat Cancer sooner. Because of you, one day there will be a cure to all of this, if you would like to get involved next year go on our website or remember you can donate as well!

*A HUGE WELL DONE TO ALL OUR CHILDHOOD CANCER SURVIVORS, WE SALUTE YOU!*💛💛💛 

Celebrations Are In Order… I HAVE A JOB!

Firstly, I apologise that I haven’t blogged in ages. But, I’m back and I have an exciting new story to share with you all…

Following the success with my campaign launch on social media, Mags4Dorset, the Daily Echo and BBC Radio Solent… I HAVE A JOB! The new chapter in my life has started at the Norfolk Royale Hotel in Bournemouth, it’s amazing and I couldn’t be happier!

As most of you would’ve read on my previous blog, I am a whizz at computers. So following this, I am now part of the admin team and I’m currently learning how to book people rooms in the hotel on the computer system. The more I learn the more I realise that for this time in my life, this is the perfect job for me! I enjoy helping people, so by booking people in for their stay it really links in well with that. You would’ve also read that I have grown up in the hotel industry, so apart from the different ways of doing things this is all quite second nature to me anyway!

I finally got the chance to go further than an application form and I got the chance to show what I’m capable of. This time round, people didn’t run away at the first idea of my chair, I got seen for what I could do instead of what I couldn’t do and  that was such a nice feeling. I’m now excited to see what the future brings and I know that people now see me as a person instead of a piece of equipment!

Lastly, I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank every single one of you. Thank you to the people who made my campaign go viral, thank you to the people who contacted me moments after they all found out what was happening. Thank you to the people who wrote the words like “inspirational”, because every little thing meant a lot! Again though, thank you to Mags4dorset, Daily Echo and BBC Radio Solent because without this I’d still be jobless. Last but certainly not least, a massive thank you to the Hotel for employing me and letting me have the normality feeling of having a job as well!

P.S, keep a look out because follow up stories most likely will be out very soon! 

Thank you,

Iesha Manns

Job Hunting Hard Enough As it is? Try Having Added Extras, Transport Not a Problem….

Every teenager wants a job right? Every day any of us try application forms and write an impressive CV. For me though, this is even harder, so sit back, relax and read it from my point of view…
I am 17 years old and I have Spastic Diplegic Cerebral palsy, but what does that mean employment wise? It means like everyone else my age, I’ll sit here just like my peers and apply for jobs. I’ll think to myself ‘this time I’m actually going to get a job’, as I get to the end of an application. I’ll get an email saying I’m being considered, then I’ll get the dreaded question in the next questionnaire… “Do you consider yourself to have a disability?” And of course, as soon as I tick the ‘yes’ box it’s game over, that’s the end of that.
The worst part is I don’t even get a chance to give them an impression of me, you know why? Because my chair scares people away, it’s too much hassle and a health and safety overload! My friends get jobs in shops and as waitresses, but I can’t do that. There’s not space behind the counters in a shop to serve customers and, me and my chair are a risk to work colleagues. Oh, and I obviously can’t be a waitress because people’s food would be all over me, the floor and of course my chair. But we all know there’s so many jobs I can do!                                                                     
Please excuse the unorthodox approach, but I need a job.
I am great with computers.
A natural with people.
I am plucky, hard working and I won’t let you down.
Plus I am used to bussing between Bournemouth, Poole and even Christchurch for College.
And I’ll even bring my own chair!
Stairs are a problem of course.
But I am surprisingly speedy and open to all offers😊
Please email me on Iesha.manns@outlook.com
I’ll be happy to send you my CV and pop along to see you.
Iesha.

The stares, the “no” the lack of control…

One of the things everyone takes for granted is to be able to take steps, to be able to go up and down high curbs instead of dropped ones, to be able to sit on any seat on the bus, to be able to climb stairs, to go down the road without getting stared at the majority of the time, the list goes on. 

But, with a disability you don’t have control, you don’t have the freedom and in a way you don’t have your rights. Unless you’re in a walker, you don’t get to feel what a steps feel like, you don’t feel the floor, the wheels on your wheelchair feel the floor, you have to go further down the road just to find a dropped or lowered curb. You don’t get to choose your own seat on the bus, in fact half the time you have to argue with bus drivers just to let you in the designated wheelchair space instead of letting push chairs stay there. As for the stares, well it’s horrible but it just turns into life and the people that love and care about you notice it more then you do yourself! 

Then there’s jobs, as soon as you put down on an application form that you have a disability you’re straight away put to the bottom of the employment list. (Well it feels that way anyway!). You can’t do the jobs your friends do like waitressing, so you try and apply for the jobs you know yourself you can do. Even then though, the people that employ you don’t give you a chance to express yourself properly, to go in and meet them. They just automatically stereotype you, that’s one of the worst parts.

So now, as I lay here writing to you all I notice how much control I don’t have, but I fight for all the things that I am or can be in control with. Everyone with a disability will agree with me I think when I say that we try to change “every no it’s not possible for you to do that” into a “yes I will watch me prove you wrong!” And as for the stares, we embrace them and know that kids around us are learning about people not so much like them.

“Nothing’s impossible, in fact the word itself says I’m possible”

When a Parent Hears the Word Disability for the First Time… 

Let’s take it back to the beginning and think of that very first moment again. That moment, that us as the children of the exceptional special needs parents won’t remember, but the adults will. However, I’ve heard all the stories as I’ve grown older so I’d love to explain it how I think it is. 

You get told time and time again that there’s nothing wrong, despite how many times you go back to the hospital and doctors and say there is. It’s not just that “the child is a slow developer” it’s something more. Finally, you get listened to and medical tests are undertaken. Even though you have to play the waiting game  the results are back, then it’s the moment of truth. But, it’s not the result you were hoping for, for the first time you hear the words “your child has a disability”. The world just breaks around you, this is your new life!

Then what goes on? You meet different people with names you didn’t even know existed.”Physiotherapist”, “Occupational Therapist”, “Paediatrician”, the list goes on! But, soon these people become like a second family. The hospital also turns into your second home,  it just all turns into life.

The fight is far from over though, it’s only the beginning. The phone calls that get you nowhere, the emails with no reply and those letters that your anxiously waiting to come through the letter box! That waiting game that was once unknown turns into normality.

Parents, we salute you. Parents that have children with disabilities and extra needs, we double salute you! 

Iesha Manns

In This One Moment

It’s funny isn’t it? We’re all sat here now doing different things, sitting here watching TV, relaxing with the family, doing homework and revision. I’m sat in my room writing this blog, in a while you might all be reading it. But, do we ever stop and think that there will never be a second, a minute, an hour, a day, a week, a month or a year the same as right now?

For a child who has special needs or some form of disability everyday is a challenge. It does not matter what day it is, the thing we live with isn’t going away. Young children with these needs are confused, but they don’t really understand any different. You then grow up and become older and everything starts to make sense, we accept the fact that no matter how hard we try this ‘thing’ we’ve got isn’t going to go away. We start to realise that we might never walk or talk unaided, we get to grips with the facts that with some disabilities we might not be able to understand the world like everyone else does. Dealing with change for any child can be difficult as well, adding a medical condition on top of it is just out of the question.

For any child, adolescent, young adult or adult with a mental health illness, they feel at their lowest, trust me, I think I’m still in this point but writing these helps me! Change or anything that is out of what we know as our comfort zone will most likely cause severe anxiety. I can tell you that it is like walking down a never ending black tunnel and you’re frantically searching for that light that everyone talk about it. Sometimes, you think you are reaching that light, then you get triggered by anything and go straight back to square one!

But it’s life and that’s just the way it goes, just enjoy this moment and smile even if things are rubbish at the moment. It does get better, for anyone!

Wishing you all a day or night filled with sparkles, never give up.

Iesha💜