Loneliness and trying not to compare my life to others — Scope | Disability forum
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Loneliness and trying not to compare my life to others

s999999999 Member Posts: 5 Listener
Hi everyone, 

It's a little strange writing this because I don't usually share my feelings (especially not with strangers on the internet) but I wanted to know whether my feelings were unusual and perhaps talk to people who might be able to understand. I'm 23 and this has honestly been the hardest year of my life. I graduated in july 2019 and haven't done much since; before graduating I was very social, i had lots of friends and I felt like had a purpose. However, after graduating everything changed for me, in the months that followed I applied for many jobs and received many rejections. the process of applying for jobs was petrifying, I remember feeling so intimidated in assessment centres because I was the only person in a wheelchair, I also have a speech impediment and was often only there because my disability allowed me to get a guaranteed interview. There was one particularly horrifying experience that comes to mind, I had to be excused from an assessment centre and left in tears because it was so overwhelming and I felt like i was only there because my application was fast tracked. This experience really affected me and I've know stopped my job search. i graduated with first class honours in accounting and I feel like that comes with a lot of expectations, friends and family often ask about my employment status and as a result I find myself avoiding them. 

I also have a twin sister, my sister is abled bodied and I often compare myself to her. She graduated this year and secured a good job even before graduating. The fact that she is abled bodied means that she is able to get out, be social, meet people and be young while I'm unable to leave my house alone. Every time she is out I find myself feeling very jealous and resentful but also very lonely.  

I don't know any other disabled people so no one really understands how i'm feeling and I feel very alone. has anyone else experienced this?



  • Cher_Inactive
    Cher_Inactive Posts: 4,402 Scope online community team
    Hi @s999999999

    Firstly, welcome to the community.  I can appreciate sharing your story would have been difficult so thank you for opening up about how you are feeling.  I am sure our members will be able to help you.

    I wanted to say a lot of what you speak about resonated with me.  When I was in my late teens/early twenties I was having a particularly difficult time health-wise.  I had to drop out of higher education and watched as my peers progressed into careers while I stayed at home trying to recover.  I felt incredibly lonely and like things would always be that way.  It was so hard and also like you, I watched as my sister led an active life, out socialising which quite frankly rubbed it in :D  But, it did change and it will for you.  Circumstances are fluid and what is happening now is not how it will be forever.  

    Keep applying for jobs, keep turning up and know that you are an asset to any company, I mean, you have a first class degree with honours!  Any negative reaction you get (and I'm not underestimating how utterly awful that is for you) is not a reflection of your capabilities.  It's a reflection of employers lack of understanding about how to reasonably adjust jobs for wheelchair users and disabled people.  I am sorry you have to put up with this, you shouldn't have to and I have everything crossed that you find a great job with great people.

    How are you feeling today?  Are you still applying and looking for jobs?  

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  • janer1967
    janer1967 Member Posts: 15,941 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome to the community, I understand how you must be feeling it must be hard seeing your sister getting on with life. Have  you asked her if you could join her sometimes on her outings.

    As for looking for work you may find some useful tips on our section about employment and getting into work

    Maybe contact the local job centre as they often have disability work coaches who may be able to help
  • s999999999
    s999999999 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi cher, 
    Thank you for your sharing your experience and for your kind words; it was extremely comforting to hear you have experienced something similar and I'm so glad your situation improved.  

    i'm feeling a little low today, my sister is currently on a date and i'm at home watching the chase with my mum. I'm embarrassed to say that i have given up applying for jobs and I can't seem to find the motivation to resume, I think i'm scared. My GP suggested talking talking therapy but I've found taking to her hard because with somethings she can't relate.

  • s999999999
    s999999999 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi @janer1967

    Thank you for your reply, my sister and I have a good relationship and she always invites me out but 3rd wheeling her and her boyfriend can get a bit awkward lol. 

    thanks for telling me about disability work coaches, i'll have a look. 
  • sweet4sweat
    sweet4sweat Member Posts: 4 Connected
    Thanks for sharing. I hope it all turns out OK. 

    Disabled and looking for friends.
  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Member, Community Co-Production Group Posts: 12,465 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @s999999999 - Welcome to the community. I just felt like I wanted to respond.
    My story is completely different to yours, but I'd like to say a little. I studied to be a physio, trying to hide my problems. A combination of things caused me problems before/with my finals. I realised my Mum was terminally ill with cancer; a friend 'jokingly' put my right arm in a half-nelson (which resulted in permanent damage), & the only thing my city hospital didn't specialise in was chest physio, which was the main topic I got in my finals, unlike anyone else in my year.
    I failed my finals, & my friends went off to start their careers.
    i couldn't re-sit my finals for 6 months. My main interest was neurology, but placements in the other city hospital which specialised in this were rare, & no-one in my year had had one. I got a placement in this hospitals 'burns unit' instead. However the Superintendent Physio of the hospital came down to visit me, saying I'll show you some other wards. In the lift, I mentioned my interest in neurology, which happened to be hers. She then took me to the neurology ward, asking me what were different patients conditions after we'd seen them. After that, for the following 6 weeks she took me to the neurology ward, where she taught me so much; without failing my final I wouldn't have had that.
    I not only passed my finals, but was the only person outside of London to get the highest award.
    Out of what are perceived negatives, I found there were positives. Your confidence has been knocked, as mine was years ago. Like yourself, I was not to know what the future held. My physio training stood me in good stance when our youngest daughter had severe breathing problems; it helped me research & find out not only the genetic disorder my family had, but also another condition our family likely also had, despite the 'wisdom' of our UK Drs.
    It's likely easier to give in, but I feel with how much you've achieved, which you have, you're a fighter. You will find an employer that appreciates you, if you can be positive. Don't apologise for the problems you have, say instead what a great asset you could be. Just to add, my best wishes; you can do this. :)

  • s999999999
    s999999999 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi @chiarieds

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, it was amazing to hear about how you managed to turn your negatives into positives. congratulations on passing your exams and achieving the highest award. I know things will get better for me but i'm struggling to know how best to make this happen. I used to be a very hopeful and positive person but I feel like over the past year i've lost myself.  
  • Ross_Scope
    Ross_Scope Posts: 7,098 Scope online community team
    edited August 2020
    Hello @s999999999 and welcome to the community :) 

    You're definitely not alone, employment can be a very tricky hurdle to navigate for disabled people and it's completely normal to experience feelings of loneliness and a lack of hope. 

    I understand what you are going through, I have been through most things you describe there. I'm of a similar age to you and when I was unemployed and looking for work there were times when I questioned if I was going about it in the right way, there were times when I considered giving up, and there were times when I felt like I wouldn't get the breakthrough I wanted. 

    In my experience it's normal to compare yourself to family and friends, it's something that's hard to avoid because you're so familiar with their day to day lives, even more so considering you have a twin. However it's so important that you always remember that you are unique, you have your own skills and knowledge that they don't have, and it's those skills and knowledge that you can offer to employers. 

    You have a fantastic qualification behind you and there are jobs out there for you. The process of finding, applying and interviewing for jobs can be daunting, but there are ways you can make it easier. 

    - Think about what skills you have, what experience you have, what qualifications you have, and try to match those things to certain job roles that you're interested in. I would also draft a list of employers who you would love to work for, and ensure that you are subscribed to job alerts from them. 

    - Letting the job boards do the searching for you can really reduce the amount of time you're spending looking for jobs. If you use Indeed, LinkedIn, Reed, Gov or any of the others, I would set up saved searches and notification alerts so that you get the exact jobs you're looking for.

    - I'm severely sight impaired and use a cane, so I frequently found myself considering when I should tell any prospective employer about my disability. You can decide whatever works best for you, but I found that telling them as soon as I was offered the interview worked better for me. It gave the employer time to make any adjustments to the interview process to accommodate my needs. For the most part, employers will be understanding with you if you struggle to do certain tasks they might ask of you, or if you might have difficulty getting to an interview location.

    - Lastly I found that getting into a routine was the best way to go about my job hunt. Again, you might find other methods work best for you, but I allocated X amount of time each day to search and apply for jobs, usually at the same time of day. It helped keep me organised and because I generally did it at the same time each day, I knew what to expect and what I needed to do. 

    Of course, you don't have to do this alone. If you want to work there is help out there for you, including from Scope. I would also suggest researching specific organisations relating to your disability, they also may be able to provide support.

    It's a shame to hear you are finding socialising tricky, it must be difficult to go through. Others will be able to advise better than me on that point, but from personal experience I find that adapting the way I socialise can lead me to having a social life that I'm happy with. There are so many resources available online these days that it's never been simpler to connect with people. I understand though that it's hard to beat the feeling of socialising in person, which is why I hope that others will be able to advise you on that point. 
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  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Member, Community Co-Production Group Posts: 12,465 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2020
    Hi @s999999999 -  I can appreciate how you've felt 'you lost yourself.' However 'you' are still there. It may be that you need to take time before considering job options, but the longer you leave it, the harder it may become.
    @Ross_Scope has given, I feel, great insight in tackling this bit by bit, & at your own pace, just looking at with whom you'd like to work. Resources like Linkedin, etc. are definitely worth looking into, & I would agree that your disability should be mentioned sooner rather than later.
    Scope does additionally help people with a disability as far as employment goes as mentioned above.. There's also some info here: https://www.scope.org.uk/advice-and-support/work-careers/
    Hoping this may help. Again, my best wishes.

  • Han_
    Han_ Member Posts: 151 Pioneering
    Hi @s999999999,

    I would first like to thank you for sharing with us, I know it must have been quite difficult. I am so sorry to hear about your experiences when searching for jobs. I was wondering if you have heard of Change 100? It is an intership scheme for disabled students and graduates. As it is only for disabled people, every applicant in the assessment centre is disabled and so there is definitely more of a feeling of belonging, rather than intimidation. The charity that run the scheme is also very accomodating and sensitive to the needs of applicants. I believe the scheme could boost your confidence and it would help with networking, as you would not only be working for an employer but the charity hold monthly professional development days where you get to meet all the other interns. Here is the link to the website.  

    Do let me know if you have any questions, I'm happy to answer them via private messaging. 

  • newborn
    newborn Member Posts: 741 Pioneering
    I'm wondering  if you  can turn disability into your u.s.p?
    And, if you can exploit the advantages of Covid ?

    A friend who is an accountant had pleaded to work from home, to get to see her baby in daylight.  "Out of the question, completely impossible,  our rich famous v.i.p.  clients cannot  possibly have their information dealt with by a home working employee ", she was told. Then came Covid. She now works from home, so does everyone in the firm!

    You have a good degree, in a profession which doesn't  demand physical presence in an office building.  Being disabled doesn't make the slightest difference to accountancy (or any other office work)  done by WFH.

    Check on union and employment sites  and disability  equality sites to inform yourself, but my u.s.p. idea is this:  No doubt all firms have a policy which states they will make  every effort not to break the law, and therefore ensure they could not be guilty of having discriminatory employment practices.  (If not ....oh dear....see the lawyers rubbing their hands!) 

     No doubt that is something they measure, by collating figures to show equality of opportunities within their organisations.  No doubt the appropriate  number of women are engaged, the reasonable  proportion of Bame, and, naturally,  of course, they will easily  be able to show they do not discriminate against disabled people? 

    You are such an easy way to tick the compliance box.  Since Covid, they don't even have to lift a finger to make 'reasonable adjustment';  if every office worker works from a home office, your wheelchair suddenly vanishes, as far as they are concerned.  They don't  need special Buddy training to get you out in case of fire, nor special disability awareness training,   nor widening the doors of the loo, nor a ramp to the steps. Not any more. You are a free tick. Win Win.  They say "if you've got it, flaunt it"....and in this case,  you undeniably have got  it, so sell it.

    P.S.  Be ruthless, and crafty as you can to exploit your advantage.   We get plenty of the drawbacks of disability,  so if there's a perk, grab it. Local authorities and other public bodies often have extravagant declared Equalities recruitment policies.   Easy target. Hoist them on their own petards.  But even firms who never gave Equality a thought, are a bit of an open door in recent years, with first the b.b.c. women winning equal pay court cases, then the metoo movement making bosses look over their shoulders uneasily, then the transgender rights activists, , followed  by the black lives matter, all making people jumpy.  

  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,555 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @s999999999, I really hope others have been able to help. You most certainly are not alone. Just wanted to check in to see how you are today. :)

  • WorldsoldestNEET
    WorldsoldestNEET Posts: 42 Connected
    Young ppl learning how little their lives are worth to the government. So sad.
  • Cher_Inactive
    Cher_Inactive Posts: 4,402 Scope online community team
    I'm sorry you feel that way.  Just a reminder of our Online Community Guidelines, please try to keep your comments friendly and supportive, even if you do not agree with users viewpoints.
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