Since When Was I Disabled?

From the left, Mark has rolled his chair into picture. He is wearing a black top with smiley emojis down the arm. He is leaning far forwards and looking at the camera. To the right is a Spring garden background…
My theories about the Spoon Theory
27 March 2023
A motorised / off-road wheelchair use in a field. He is wearing his red Wheelchair Rugby kit

A proud disabled person, yesterday

July is Disability Pride month. For the record, if you hadn’t already figured out, I’m disabled. And very very proud to be so.

83% of disabled people aren’t born so. For the majority of us then, it’s a convoluted journey to accept our disability. Some  never get there. It’s a further scramble to learn to be proud of our disability. Society and attitudes aren’t particularly helpful there.

On July 2nd I attended…(in Windsor Great Park). As an ambassador. As a participant and fundraiser. And hugger of lots of other disabled and non-disabled people.

It was a fabulous celebration of disability and inclusion. Disabled and non-disabled people *together*. Enjoying company, achievements, celebrating, laughing. Hi-Fiving. Almost as if we’re normal. Which we bloody are.

So since when was I disabled?

Technically, I guess 1992, with my first symptoms. Intense pins and needles all down my left side for three days. I ignored them. They went away.

When I started having a leaky bladder, mid 90s? Erectile dysfunction (floppy willy!) soon after? A sensation of running through treacle, 1998?

When I was diagnosed with MS, May 1st 2007? Probably then, though I launched heavily into denial as a coping mechanism.

A couple of years later, I confessed to the barista in Leighton Buzzard I was ‘partially disabled’ in asking her to bring my coffee to my table. I was still avoiding any contact with anyone using a wheelchair. Not for me. Never!

When I first walked into the office using a walking stick? Then crutches, then a Walker? Yeah, defo disabled. But I didn’t often say the word outside disabled parking rows and glares…

Since when did I accept disability as part of my life and ultimately become proud of it?

I think I can point to two moments:

1. When I launched into a secondary career of public speaking and instantly, invariably owned the room.

On stage with text behind him, mark is seated. And dressed smartly!

A proud disabled speaker, yesterday


2. Discovering and falling in love with Wheelchair Rugby in my late 40s. I could play a contact sport. And I wouldn’t have dreamed of the possibility of bashing and being bashed had I been non-disabled.

Wheelchair Rugby opportunities. Me front of pic in my red rugby kit. Behind me, a match is going on…

Wheelchair Rugby friend-bashing, yesterday

I’m raising money for the wonderful Trying to walk 100 metres – with support. And rests. It’s gonna be my personal marathon. Or Everest… please please help me being disabled and proud….



Medically retiredly and proud disabledly…







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