April

— Emma Doughty

From my earliest memory I have had to battle prejudice due to being born with mild Cerebral Palsy, which has affected the whole of my right hand side. There was the standard bullying of kids at school because I was so called different. 

At nineteen a lovely caring company employed me. It wasn’t a problem that I could only type with one hand, was unable to physically change the ink cartridges in the printers or photocopier machine or unable to put a folded letter neatly in an envelope. Three years later it came to an end as the company moved out of the area.

After that I had a few other temp jobs although I was months without work; I’d get the interview but as soon as I mentioned the ‘D’ word they didn’t want to know. One company they wanted me to do a work trial before they would offer me the job. For that week I worked my socks off proving I could do the job. At the end of the week they said that the job was mine but, they would only pay my travel expenses which was around £20 a week as they didn’t know I was disabled and they had image to think about.

I haven’t worked since 2010 when I was forced to leave my job as an admin assistant for the second time. It all started in 2008; I applied for a job-got an interview-explained how my disability affects me and still got the job. Not long after I started my new job, senior management started to harass me. Saying I had to find a way to make both hands work. The Manager would scream in my face telling me to work faster and everyday would tell me he had a problem with disabled people and how we weren’t worth anything. I left then went back on a 12hr contract to try break me back in.

Once I started finding my confidence I asked if I could have a few more hours since there were some going. He told me he be reluctant to give someone like me extra hours. He started to blame me for others employees’ mistakes, gave me unrealistic deadlines. I would phone other employees to check if he was on my shift. My weight dropped to six stone.

A year later, I decided that I should stop feeling sorry for myself and I joined a creative writing group. I had always enjoyed writing since the age of ten. Writing has been a good therapy throughout my life.

Five years on I still get panic attacks when I think about going back to work.

I have now been published in several magazines. I truly believe writing has saved me and seen me through the good and the bad times. I will close by saying whatever your mood is, even if you think your rubbish at writing, pick up that pen or open that laptop and write, write, write.

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