Education & Chronic Illness

Earlier today, I was sat in the window of a small tea shop in our local town, sipping a mixture of melted cream and hot chocolate with my mum. Tomorrow is a very important day, not only for myself and my family but others exactly like me. We began discussing the topic, and as predicted I got irritated and angry. Tomorrow we argue the importance of my education and the adjustments needed to achieve what I should already have. In short terms, I have to prove I’m sick enough to be helped.

We all watch films about lifestyle and love, drama, action and even illness and death. However our society has been fed a trail of lies, shielded from the harsh truth that is very much my reality. I was led to believe being sick only ever went two ways – you recovered, or you died. Never surfaced the idea of neither, health nor death. Instead, in its place a life long, debilitating illness that neither threatens your life or allows you to live it. Ladies and gents – chronic illness.

Being ill has it’s handful, wait – bucket… no, digger tonne of problems as you can imagine. Feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus, dragged for several miles and then left to die is more or less expected. What I never expected with the many diagnosis’s given, was the most simple of human rights to be questioned and threatened. Asides from my family and my health, education is my absolute priority. Not only am I faced with something so much more complicated than ill or not, they just have to go and throw yet another struggle and another tiresome battle into the mix.

Tomorrow my mum and I have to enter a room and argue my human rights to people that see me as nothing less than money spent, all because I wasn’t originally seen as fit for help. Battling for an education with any illness is beyond hard, but knowing I’m not the right sort of ill or I’m not ill enough for their standards is a total different ball game. I don’t have any learning difficulties yet learning is still very much difficult. My physical situation impacts on my learning. I can’t think straight or speak properly, my thoughts become jumbled and lost among the words on the paper. The searing pain up my back, legs, arms and neck make sitting and writing near enough a work out. The headaches become unbearable; my vision blurs and my head burns. All of which is on a standard day, but hey, I’m not sick enough for any extra help right?

First of all its incredibly insulting to think my pain and suffering for the last 4 years is invalid and through it all, I still can’t get help for something that was never my fault. The educational system is so narrow minded when it comes to health and pupils needs, in my experience anyway. There’s this little box where they can help you if you fit perfectly, all four corners. If you don’t fit, you don’t get the help regardless of whether you’re desperate or not. It’s a joke. Help for students should be offered straight away regardless of the reason behind it, they shouldn’t be adding to the ongoing fight many chronic illness fighters and their families experience.

Yet again chronic illness, in my opinion, is being pushed aside and over looked, not taken seriously for all its seriousness. The world encourages diversity and difference yet refuses to help the disabled unless its battered out of them; like a dog with a bone. Every debilitating aspect of the poison, yet it’s not something worth helping a 17 year old out with. I’m not asking for anything to be given, I’m not asking for the impossible; I’m asking for the chance to better my knowledge and understanding and learn like every other person can. I’m asking for the chance to give myself the future I so desperately want, yet I was denied help and now we’re here.

My point is that being ill is hard enough, chronic or not, and we should all be helping each other to make anyone’s life just that little bit easier, even if its only a little, tiny bit. Teenage kids shouldn’t have to prove themselves worthy of help with their education, just like adults in the world of jobs and employment shouldn’t have to prove themselves in need of necessary help within their work. Fingers cross, tomorrow goes well.

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