Why the way Christianity is taught is important

Disclaimer: I am not referring to the way Christianity is taught to young children who don’t yet have the cognitive awareness to deal with anything that is any more than black and white. 

Putting these young children aside the way children and adults are taught about Christianity could very well influence whether they start to believe in god or continue to believe in god as they grow up and life happens. I definitely remember going through phases in my life where I either didn’t believe in god at all or was heavily questioning his/her existence purely because of all the shit going on in my life.

And I know many people go through the same. I can’t help but think this may be because of how it’s taught and this is for two reasons.

  1. Life is not black and white and Christianity is the same – for those with the cognitive capability to understand the grey areas the grey areas must be taught.
  2. Life happens. Not everyone gets healed, natural disasters happen. Even children are able to see these inconsistencies with some of the bibles teachings and reality. We need to welcome and allow questions, and answer them in the best way possible. I know some of these questions are really hard to answer but evading them is not the answer! The classic “What do you think?” is a better approach to evading them.
  3. The bible is inconsistent and any intelligent person can see that. This itself can contribute to people doubting in Christianity and I have definitely been challenged by people on this.  Although this is a difficult one it is important to try and guide people to the conclusion about all these inconsistencies that fits with their judgement.

I guess what I’m trying to get from this is that the words you use, your body language, the people, music and everything else can have a huge impact and it’s something to really think about whenever you talk to anyone about Christianity. It’s easy to get defensive when people challenge aspects of it but try really hard not to!

Working full time with a chronic illness

 

Work Work Work Work Work….

Working full time with a chronic illness is rough and if you cant then that’s okay.  I also think whether your employer is supportive enough to make the necessary reasonable adjustments or indeed if those adjustments are reasonable. (I’m just about to read about that actually as despite being out of law school I’m still a law student at heart and law is power. Especially knowledge of employment law if you ever end up with a shitty employer.)

But anyway this blog post is going to give you some tips as to how to manage it if you’re at all in a position where you can. But firstly I’m going to say that if you’ve been in one place if employment for a while you are likely to be treated with more respect and given more leeway. Office politics. They are your best friend when in your favour and worst friend otherwise. If you see inequalities in those ways then unfortunately you’ll just have to deal with it if your coming back into the workforce.

On to the tips:

  1.  Be honest with your employer/line manager but not too honest – this is an interesting balance to strike but essentially if your not honest they’re not going to know if you need extra support and if you’re too honest they’ll start thinking your not up to the job, not trusting you, being completely and utterly irritating and just cause major anxiety.
  2. Only apply for jobs you have a reasonable chance of being able to do successfully. I.e if you can’t stand up all day don’t apply for a job that requires that.
  3. Ask for the adjustments you need and if they don’t give them to you take it up to the employment tribunal (Not straight away cause that shit costs money. Understand why not and if you can’t go to citizens advice for advice as they will know more of the nitty grittys of the Equality Act 2010.)
  4. Work in a way that works for you as much as you are able to.
  5. Appreciate that your going to have good days, bad days, average days and everything in-between. This is okay and it doesn’t mean your failing.
  6. If you can help it, don’t work for an agency – I don’t know if it’s real or imagined but I definitely feel a disparity between me an agency worker and so called “real people” (the not agency workers). Also although agency workers are gaining more legal rights they’re not 100% on par yet.
  7. Health first – by this I mean please take a day if you need to. I am useless at this myself but I help others are less so.  You need that time to rest and recuperate and you shouldn’t feel guilty for it.
  8. Meal prep, meal prep, meal prep. Otherwise you’ll be ordering a hell of a lot of take out.
  9. Believe in yourself, god, the universe etc. – I feel like people with chronic illnesses are often overly hard on themselves and overly critical. Try not to be, you can do this, you are enough. I believe in you.
  10. Final tip is to prioritise. You won’t be able to do all the things. Working full time is exhausting and so to successfully balance that with your other responsibilities, family, friends, hobbies, volunteering will be near impossible and will require successful prioritising and allowing time to rest.

I hope some of these were useful and helped if you’re in the position where you are currently working full time or looking to work full time whilst dealing with a chronic illness or two.

 

Why I can’t stand it when people think we’re faking our symptoms.

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Chronic illness is a fight. That’s why.

Let me tell you a story. A story of my life right now.

Way back in May I was given a provisional offer for a job up the other end of the country. Meaning living independently and working full time something I’m not really well enough to do so I need all the adjustments I can get. In the lead up to this becoming official I filled out many a form. One of these was a health questionnaire in which I detailed the adjustments I need to be able to do the job and why. I then attended an appointment which recommended said adjustments. However I still get an email asking me what adjustments I need and get a response saying I must apply to access for work AND that I can’t have flexible working allowance until successfully completing a period of probation.

And maybe these things are reasonable, but hear me out.

It takes 3 weeks to hear back from access to work. I start in 4. Had you told me before I had accepted my offer and started looking for houses then fine I get that adjustments cost employers money and they need that money back in some way. Access to work is a way to do that. BUT we know how poorly governmental disability help treats ME/CFS and associated conditions and guess what I have. ME/CFS and associated conditions. I applied for a blue badge when I was so poorly that I could barely walk around my house without finding myself on the floor and got rejected because that wasn’t enough. I wold never get PIP because I seem to function seemingly well yet I can’t keep a clean and tidy space, I can’t stand in the shower, I don’t shower, wash or brush my hair anywhere near as much as I should. I have to sit down to cook and have to keep it really basic as I struggle to coordinate and because brain fog is a barrier.

So what if I get rejected from access to work. And in their defence I didn’t say as much as maybe I should of but I quite seriously will not be able to do the job if I don’t have assistive tech and my ability to get into work may be too difficult too often if I don’t have a taxi allowance. Especially considering I’ll also have to cook, maintain a clean space, maintain a clean body and ideally try make some friends up there.

As for flexible working what about when my endo pain is so bad I can’t get into work until 10am or I partially dislocate my hip 2 minutes before I have to leave in order to get into work on time. Or when my ME is too bad to  actually sit through work all day and produce quality work but I’m still able to work from home and will likely be more productive than if I was in the office. What about those periods where medical appointments are seemingly never ending because I need them. This is anticipated upon moving to a new part of the country. I can anticipate a fight to get gabapentin up there and as my main pain medication I wouldn’t be able to work at all without it. I wouldn’t be surprised if that requires an appointment for one. Not all GP surgery’s are open outside of 9-5 hours. All of these things could prevent me from passing probation but could be remedied by a flexible working allowance, yet I can’t have one until I’ve passed probation.

You see the issue! Why would I be faking something that is causing so much stress. Relocating is stressful for anyone. Relocating with a disability just amps up the stress because there’s so much else to consider. Do I need this extra stress no? So why on earth would I be faking?

I honestly think the more awareness raised for these illnesses the better. So a) people are less inclined to think faker but b) so these barriers are easier barriers to cross.

I hope someone can relate to this issue of the barriers upon barriers and extra stress. As always I’m grateful for being functional as I am but it certainly isn’t without challenge.

 

 

How to write a first class law dissertation.

 

So this weeks post is going to be a law post instead of a chronic illness post. And more specifically a post for law students who are either currently trying to write their dissertation or want to get a head start on the whole process.  Now my only qualification is that I myself got that magical first and in doing so I saw that there were few blog posts dedicated to legal dissertations.  So what I want to do here is give the graduates perspective on getting a first in your dissertation.

The first place to start is with choosing your topic and more specifically the question that you want to answer. The number one most important thing here is to make sure that you are passionate about what you want to write about. As much as you can anyway, as at least with my university you need to write three proposals and the uni gives you one. If that’s the case then spend a lot of time thinking about the three proposals you put down. Ensure that you can really see yourself spending a year working on any one of them. Passion makes the whole thing so much easier – I found that I actually wanted to work on my dissertation and enjoyed doing so because the topic was so me.

When choosing a topic you also need to do your research and I mean proper research not just reading the relevant textbook chapter or lecture notes but actually start looking into journal articles and case law. You need to look out for whether there is enough but also to make sure that there is a gap in the scholarship and the law for your dissertation. It also helps if your topic is current.

Don’t be shy. Ask for help. Be that friends, family, professors. Sometimes just talking out your ideas really helps. I also mention this because from my knowledge it is common for people to need to refine their questions and if your supervisor says this do not get disheartened and work with them. Easier said than done I know. I wasn’t asked to refine my question and I didn’t refine my question but I can imagine it feels a bit like falling at the first hurdle. But you haven’t fallen and you have got this.

But Hannah, my problem isn’t my topic. I have my topic, I have my question. I just don’t know how or where to start. 

I definitely relate to not knowing where to start. It can all be so overwhelming but I’m going to share some planning and writing tips that should help you get over that block. Although it’s important to remember that we all work differently and ultimately you need to do what works for you.

Firstly it’s necessary to make a brief and flexible plan, utilising your initial research. Essentially, write down each overarching concept, idea or argument that you want to cover. This will really help you break your dissertation down into chapters and sub-headings within those chapters. This and be done in mind map format or in a word document or you can handwrite it and stick it upon your wall/place it at the front of your dissertation folder, on your desk or whatever works for you.

I had a mind map, I had random scribbles in my notebook whilst I tried to work it all out in my mind, but for this I used a word document, as then I could add research to it as I went along either by writing in my own words, copying and pasting or just “see y at line 34.” This really helped me keep my research, which there was a lot of, organised and help see the links, as well as where I maybe needed to do some more research, and what that research needed to consist of. It is so essential that you keep your research organised in whatever way that works for you and your dissertation.

Set a schedule, set deadlines. Be that “I’m going to work on my dissertation on a Wednesday,” or something else.  That will definitely help you get from the overwhelmed stress procrastination block and mean you don’t leave it all to the last minute.

So what do I do now I’ve started?

Immerse yourself into your topic, but if you need to take time out that’s okay to. It’s a marathon not a sprint and wellbeing is a key component to success.

Use your supervisor to your advantage. Use them way more than I did. You are not a burden it is quite literally their job and if you have a good supervisor they can be a real helping hand.

Keep a notebook or a section of a notes app or both with you at all times for those random thoughts. Most of them will be useless but some will be gold.

Make use of a wide variety of sources for your research, don’t just look at legal journals, books, cases and legislation.  Use videos, podcasts, or even journals from other disciplines if these may be relevent. This can definitely help with motivation as well as give content that is laking in the legal resources.

Keep challenging yourself to go deeper, get others to challenge you. Writing a first class dissertation isn’t easy for most of us and I certainly submitted it knowing that that piece of work was reflective of the top end of my academic ability at that time. To add on to this believe in yourself. A first is not out of reach.

Proof-readers are essential. Especially if your chronically ill and suffer from brain fog. Once you’ve spent that long on something an extra pair of eyes or two are useful to let you know when you’ve made a typo, when something doesn’t make sense, is repetitive or where there’s a grammatial error.

Finally, make it original. Come up with an original solution, an original justifiation. Add a bit of personality to it. Some level of originality is needed for a first and adding a bit of personality to it will help keep your examiner interested.

This is longer than I wanted it to be but to close, you can do this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When your doctor doesn’t take you seriously…

God has it been a long time since I last wrote here. Work and trying to become a lawyer seems to have taken everything in me. But right now I don’t have the energy to study. My brain not atall comprehending the information meaning I am unable to answer the questions at hand. I have also had a lot of medical appointments and something I have come up against again is idiotic doctors. Doctors not being educated enough or just thinking they are not worth your time.

It’s difficult. Being told your just deconditioned. Being rejected from rheumatology. It makes you feel like people somehow think your faking. Like your not ill enough. Like it’s just all in your head.

And no I’m not here to have a pity party. I know how blessed I am. To be able to work full time, to be attempting to go to the US. To Be trying to lawyer in the UK. To potentially be moving up north to live independently again.

Here’s the thing. That shit is really hard. So bloody hard. I’m getting worse at the LSAT not better due to the brain fog from my ME. And that aside, aside – I think most of why I manage is my sheer will power, and the guilt – the expectations. Alongside that it’s the tolerance and attitude I’ve built up after being unwell for so long.

I want to sing (and dance) in the rain. 

And maybe that’s why I’ve been up against this lately. It must be hard to understand how one is able to be seemingly so healthy when in reality she is so unwell. Not that it makes it okay. But I know a lot of people go through this shit so I want to provide some solace and give some advice.

You are not alone! And if you are in this situation, here is what I need to say.

  1. You are not faking it; it is not all in your head and if it is that is also a serious mental illness and requires help.
  2. Think of all the things you want to do – would do, have tried to do. Think of how debilitated you are. If you were just faking it you would not be debilitated in these ways.
  3. So maybe the tests don’t show you are super sick. Maybe they show nothing atall. But you are still valid! We are all different, we all have different illnesses, manifistations, pain thresholds, tolerences and limits. You are valid!
  4. Have you tried kidding yourself that your not ill? Yes? Has this ended in you still being ill? Yes. Maybe this even ended in a bad flare up. YOU ARE NOT FAKING IT.
  5. Find different doctors but also remember that it takes time to build relationships.
  6. Last but not least. You are not a burden. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. You are not a waste of NHS time (if your UK based). Your illnesses are just as valid as anyone else and you deserve to get help. You deserve adequate treatment. You deserve symptom relief without spending a small fortune. You deserve to go out and live the life you want to live.

You deserve to sing in the rain. 

I hope this helped someone. Or at least was an entertaining read and, as my LSAT will be over soon, I aim to be posting at least one day a week again.