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For the first time since I became disabled, I'm not missing out

Ciara O'Connor


Over the last 10 years, illness has conspired to keep our columnist Ciara O'Connor at home most of the time. She knows what it's like for life to change beyond recognition and for there to be nothing you can do about it. This is her take on life in lockdown

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'For the first time, my experiences are relevant to normal people'. Ciara O'Connor at home last week during the coronavirus lockdown. Photo: Tegid Cartwright

'For the first time, my experiences are relevant to normal people'. Ciara O'Connor at home last week during the coronavirus lockdown. Photo: Tegid Cartwright

'For the first time, my experiences are relevant to normal people'. Ciara O'Connor at home last week during the coronavirus lockdown. Photo: Tegid Cartwright

For the first time since I became disabled, I don't feel like an alien: I'm socialising in the same way as my friends, with the same points of reference. I'm not missing out.

A global pandemic has made my at-home life seem suddenly worth enriching with music, art, livestreams, theatre, panels, classes. There's all the content I've ever wanted or needed: I'm spoiled with articles about self-care and mental health in isolation, lists of hacks and tips and encouragement. Daily, I'm advertised ever softer and lovelier clothes made for the home-life.

It's easy to mistake this feeling in the euphoria of opportunity as an accessibility boom. But that's a child believing that the sun came out especially for her birthday - I'm still a bystander and the world is still being made for the abled. I have to prepare myself for it to disappear as suddenly as it arrived.