Becoming A Chronically Ill Freelancer – My Story So Far

pippa sat at desk wearing stripy shirt and silver noise cancelling headphones, writing in a diary with open laptop in front of her and books in the background

Time and time again, people ask what I actually do for a living… and I’m yet to find a concise way of answering this question. If they’re familiar with my online life, I’ll tell them I’m a writer and a blogger. If they’re aware of my health situation, I’ll tell them I work from home in digital communications. If it’s somebody I don’t know well, I’ll simply tell them I work in the charity sector. And all of these answers are true.

My Background

I graduated from university in 2016 (finishing my postgraduate diploma in 2017), and thanks to the joys of an unrelenting chronic illness, I had no idea what the future would hold. As I discuss in more depth in this post about being an ‘in-betweener’, I knew I was well enough to work in some capacity, but far from able to pursue a typical 9am-5pm occupation that involved leaving the house and being around other people every day.

Still adapting to the constraints that my health had imposed on my day-to-day life, back then I didn’t think I would have the luxury of choice over what job I went into; I thought I’d simply have to take whatever I could secure. By then, my self-worth had taken a serious battering. Everything had been overshadowed by my condition and the struggles of navigating an inaccessible society, and I was yet to realise that I still had all these valuable skills to offer.

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Employing Disabled People Isn’t An Act Of Charity

girl in jeans and t-shirt in wheelchair on an outdoor balcony

After being diagnosed with a chronic illness halfway through my time at university, one of my biggest achievements to date has been continuing my studies, and graduating with a 2:1 BSc degree from a Russell Group institution in 2016. What I didn’t know at the time was that this was only the beginning of the battle; that the subsequent search for accessible employment opportunities would be even more difficult to navigate.

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