Posted in Blog

Battle Royale: Fighting for Survival

Battle Royale

(Image Source)

I’m so thankful that I have such an incredibly supportive partner, who’s here to prop me up when I can no longer stand.

I’m crying as I write this, because yet again I’ve been forced to be the Katniss Everdeen of my course.

3 fingers katniss

(Image source)

During my Teacher Training – particularly at the beginning, I was forced to stand up for everybody because we were all unhappy and stressed and now again I feel like I’m in “Groundhog Day”, as I’ve been forced to stand up for not only myself but other people in order to protect myself, because of my invisible disability.

I feel like when you have an invisible disability, nobody speaks up for you and therefore you are constantly forced to shout, cry, kick, scream for yourself, to protect yourself, to fight for yourself because nobody else will.

I’m currently in my second module in my MSc and we have a horrendously unsupportive professor. During the first couple of weeks of the module, she wasn’t even responding to emails and we all noticed that even though she was giving us different grades, she was doing a cut and paste job of giving us feedback – therefore you can imagine how frustrating it would be to not receive a response to emails, particularly for a course which is completely based online. Furthermore, she wasn’t engaging in the discussion forum online.

However, the other students studying the same module with different professors are having a far better experience: their professors are engaging with them, helping them. There’s also another disabled student on the course who even has her professor’s mobile number! When I made a complaint about the lack of support I was receiving as a disabled student, I mentioned this and explained that all I wanted was an email back at least!

The Disability Centre just don’t get seem to get it. This professor has a poor history (I’ve “Googled her) and yet, has been employed by a University which claims to have high standards, but have clearly fallen short because instead of being taught or supported by a professor they’ve employed, their students are receiving hand-me-downs through a student Whatsapp group. Instead, they’re blaming my poor time management skills.

If I had a physical disability, I wouldn’t be spoken to in such a way.

They did say that I could make a complaint, which I will and I’ve also contacted my Student Support Officer – who hasn’t even had the courtesy to reply, yet at the beginning of my academic year when I was sick from having seizures was incredibly rude when I didn’t respond to her calls or emails, so she better have a damn good excuse for ignoring me, otherwise she’ll be included in my formal complaint too.

Since I made my concerns known however, things have changed: she may not reply as quickly as the other professors, but she does now reply to our emails and her feedback to our assignments has also improved as has her engagement in the online forum. Therefore, the Disability Centre were clearly gaslighting me to abate my complaint as well as my needs.

Furthermore, I receive DSA (Disabled Students’ Allowance) and when I asked about being reimbursed for a footrest due to leg issues because of my seizures, I received the rudest and most ignorant reply from one of their advisors. My response back was incredibly blunt and I asked for details so that I could make a complaint. Their lack of support has been offensive.

Having an invisible disability is so fucking time consuming.

I feel like society is becoming more and more willfully ignorant, and I’m becoming more and more exhausted. I have a migraine tonight, just from battling with my professor, because as well as that I was also doing interviews for my Final Project and research and kind of sort of forgot to eat.

Oops (Image source)

If I have another seizure, I’ll be set back again (I’m already behind the rest of the class) and this professor has already been unsympathetic towards my health issues during this module (even when I nearly died! No extra time and I got a D for the assignment that was due that week!)

Perhaps if I do have a seizure, I’ll cut off a leg too and see how much sympathy I get for that…..

XOXO

Author:

I’m Cece Alexandra and I have Epilepsy. Since being diagnosed, my life has changed significantly. After studying and teaching Humanities and Literature for all of my adult life, I was bullied and lost my job a month before qualifying to become an English Teacher. Once you fail the Teacher Training course in England, you cannot ever retrain; I then became too sick to work because of my Epilepsy. I am now currently studying an MSc in Mental Health Psychology with the University of Liverpool. My disability provokes me into raising awareness for invisible disabilities, which I also actively partake in with Epilepsy Action. Part of that awareness is to help fight against invisible disability discrimination - I believe that this behaviour is not cognitively unconscious; modern society is actively partaking in a hierarchy of disabilities and I believe that there is not enough psychological research to prove this. I am also clinically interested in Cultural Psychology - particularly Collectivist Culture, and wish to pursue this further in my academic career.

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