hannahshewanstevens hannahshewanstevens

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Hannah Shewan Stevens  Irregular blogger with an irregular immune and nervous system. Figuring out how to use my voice. Bare with me.. YAB @wearesruk Producer @barcroft_tv

What really counts as a disability?
According to Equality Act 2010, you have a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial & long-term negative effect on your ability to do daily activities.
I’ve lived up to that definition since I was 15 but it’s only within the last year that I’ve embraced it. I ran away from it all the way through education and even after finishing uni, I kept rejecting the word.
My understanding of disability at that age was, to put it simply, ugly and wrong. I thought being disabled was something to pity, to desperately avoid. The only disabilities I had seen in real-life, or on TV, were paralysed people, or those with amputated limbs, or the deaf children my mother taught.
My limited scope of disability convinced me that I was unworthy of the word. How could I fit into that category? I believed that I had to be visibly disabled in order to qualify.
Now I’m taking the word as my own. From the outside, I look like an able-bodied person but on the inside my body is falling apart. Through my own experience, I’ve finally learned that disabilities do not have a uniform appearance. We come in countless beautiful shapes and sizes, some immediately obvious and others completely invisible. I just wish I hadn’t taken so long to come to that startlingly obvious conclusion!
The word disability isn’t weak, scary or something to be pitied, it takes immense patience and power to endure and disabled people are nothing but fucking fierce. Being disabled will never define me but from now on I will wear the word as a mark of pride.
Link in bio for a new blog post!
Kinda want this as a tattoo, thoughts?
#spooniesisterhood #fightlikeawarrior #fibromyalgia #scleroderma #chronicillness #chronicpain #explainyourpain #fibromyalgiwarrior #chronicfatigue #pain #disabilityawareness #disabled #disability #happyanddisabled #chronicandhappy #sclerodermawarrior #selfcare #yoocandoanything #disabledandproud

It's been a little while since I posted on here. I haven't wanted to share anything on the internet because I've gotten trapped in a cycle of only sharing the positive moments. And, if I do share those moments, they're often accompanied by photos that don't give anyone an accurate portrayal of what the hell is going on.
So I decided to finally be a bit more honest on here. I've been on sick leave from work while I figure out how to deal with an excruciating flare up of nerve pain and a new mental health diagnosis (which I'll come back to another time). I took this photo a while ago but it's an accurate representation of just how haggard I look now. Recently I've been surviving on just a few hours sleep a night, experiencing brutal nightmares, neverending nausea and muscle spasms/cramps/pain so bad I'm often immobilised.
Normally I'm able to manage flare ups without much disruption to my daily life, but it requires a lot of grit to compartmentalise agonising pain and get on with your day. I'm sure I'll be able to get back to it soon but right now my brain feels too shredded to handle it all.
I simply don't have the mental fortitude to wake up in agony and push through it to get to my office. I don't have the physical energy to overcome the constant stream of pain that has taken over my body.
So here's my face, just as it is, no filters, no make up, no hiding behind the camera. This is what chronic illness can really look like behind closed doors. I don't even remember what my face looks like without those blue shadows under my eyes.
That face doesn't define me though. I may be beaten down right now but I'm getting back up. I'm finding my balance again and I'll beat it back once more.
There is so much I want to share and I think it's time I start to peel back the veneer I've been using to put a shine on things. I have a lot of things I want to talk about and I'm done censoring myself.

#spooniesisterhood #fightlikeawarrior #fibromyalgia #scleroderma #chronicillness #chronicpain #explainyourpain #fibromyalgiwarrior #chronicfatigue #pain #disabilityawareness #disabled #disability #happyanddisabled #chronicandhappy #sclerodermawarrior

Two years has been far too long 😭
Things are about to get teary and then drunken.. 💜

I've talked a bit on here about the journey I've taken to embrace myself head to toe, but it all started with just one thing.
When I started avoiding the mirror altogether, I knew I had to latch onto something good or I would never get out of this trap of self-loathing. So, I sat myself down in front of a mirror and made myself look until I could find something to compliment myself on.
After realising that I could barely look down from my face, I chose my eyes. And I described them in infinitesimal detail until I couldn't think of a single negative thing to say about them.
By choosing just one thing I was able to start tearing up the deep roots my self-loathing had dug into my brain. I cemented countless negative thought patterns about myself from a young age, but starting with just one thing to deconstruct I was able to begin learning how to like myself again.
Now I try to challenge myself to a new thing every few months. Over Summer, I finally gave up wearing tights all year round and embraced my vampire white legs and I finally stopped covering up my upper arms 24/7.
I'm still encountering old hang ups every now and then, but coming back to my old trick helps me reset my brain and compliment myself instead of constantly berating my body.
What was your just one thing? Or do you need to choose one?
Wrote about this in more detail in a new post on my blog. Link in bio. 📸 @gdd843
#bodyconfidence #selflove #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #bodypositivecommunity #selfworth #midsizestyle #loveyourcurves #morethansize #thebeautyofcurves #patience #effyourbeautystandards #spooniesisterhood #fightlikeawarrior #fibromyalgia #scleroderma #chronicillness #chronicpain #inbetweenie #bodyacceptance #fashion #curves #loveyourbody #bodylove #plussize#bodypeace #justonething

Why do I still take twenty photos to only post one? Why do I wait over a week to post it?
Because I am still self-conscious and I like to post the "best version of myself". Every now and then I fall into the trap of thinking that all my hang-ups have disappeared forever. We all know life isn't that simple.
I would love to wake up one day and be the perfect body confident babe who never thinks twice about how she looks, but that's just not realistic for anyone. Yes, I am way more confident than I have ever been in my life. I've pretty much stopped wearing makeup, I wear whatever the hell I want and I couldn't care less about baring my scars anymore, but I still pour over photos before I post them.
I still get self-conscious about the way my chin looks when I turn to the side (unless I have a convenient scarf to hide my lack of a distinctive jawline) and I sometimes still struggle with showing off my upper arms in public.
As much as I love the community, it can occasionally feel like the body positive world is just full of people who love themselves from head to toe 365 days a year. Logically I know that isn't the case but it's hard to compute sometimes.
Learning to actually love yourself isn't a quick fix and forget it sort of deal. You have to put the work in every day and be patient with yourself.
That's my plan anyway, maybe next time I'll only take 18 photos before I post one... #bodyconfidence #selflove #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #bodypositivecommunity #selfworth #midsizestyle #loveyourcurves #morethansize #thebeautyofcurves #patience #effyourbeautystandards #spooniesisterhood #fightlikeawarrior #fibromyalgia #scleroderma #chronicillness #chronicpain #inbetweenie #bodyacceptance #fashion #curves #loveyourbody #bodylove #plussize#bodypeace

Having a weekend of self-care (fuck the flu). It's far too easy to fill up your schedule and forget to set aside time for your own care. Being social is important but so is taking a weekend just for you. 💜

#chronic #chronicfatigue #chronicpain #chronicillness #disability #chronicpainwarrior #chronicillnesswarrior #chroniclife #chronicpainawareness #fibromyalgia #fibromyalgiaawareness #fibromyalgiawarrior #fibromyalgiafighter #selfcare #relaxation #selflove #selfcarematters #selfcareday #selfcareweekend #photography

It's #nationalcomingoutday and I just backed out of coming out as queer to a family member. And that's okay!
For the longest time, I didn't think I was "gay enough" to be LGBTQ+. I thought I had to fit a rigid set of parameters in order to "fit in". I always knew I wasn't straight but I hid away from my queer side. I broke the heart of my first love because I wasn't ready to come out to anyone. Afterward, I stuck to heteronormative relationships and suppressed any feelings I had for people who weren't cis men.
It wasn't until I attended my first London Pride in 2016 that I finally let go and embraced all of myself. I spun between identifying as bisexual and pansexual before settling on QUEER and I finally realised that there was no "right way" to be LGBTQ+. The most wonderful thing about the LGBTQ+ community is that it includes an array of rainbow people who claim a full spectrum of labels.
However, while today is a celebration of all the people who have spoken their truth, it's also so important to remember the people all around the globe who are silenced by either the law or the restrictive households they've been raised in. We are not all privileged enough to speak openly about being LGBTQ+. Plus, it's okay if you aren't ready. There is no set time for coming out and when you are ready, there will be an entire community waiting for you with open arms.
And thank you @bodyposipanda for posting this dress - I had to get it! 📸 @gdd843 🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈

Today is #worldmentalhealthday and we need to do more than spotlight mental health problems for 24hrs.
Mental health problems are serious and our country is failing us when it comes to providing services.
Countless people are being priced out of therapy or left waiting so long for treatment that it does further damage to their health.
We absolutely need to be reaching out to the people in our lives and sharing our stories but that's just the beginning.
Today isn't just a day to share stories, it's a day to make a choice. Are you going to continue to support a government that has slashed the budgets of our NHS, social and community services and mental health provisions to bits? Or can you make a better choice?
Keep sharing and talking to the people in your lives. It's always helpful to provide support where you can but remember that you are not a mental health professional. It is not your job to "fix" the people you love. It's our government's job to provide support and services that can actually help people.
Every day is mental health day for people like me. We don't get to have just one day a year to think about it. It is our every day reality so please don't just forget all about this tomorrow. There's always more you can do.

Things to remember when you're stuck in bed because of chronic illness:
1. It is not your fault.
2. Silence doesn't mean people are angry at you for being sick.
3. You are not defined by sickness.
4. It's okay to feel sad about it.
5. You can never have enough pillows.
6. It is not your fault.
Playing these on repeat today. I miss having a regular life.
Anyone else have any tips for keeping it together when you're stuck at home?
#chronicillness #chronicpain #chronicfatigue #scleroderma #fibromyalgia #fibrowarrior #sclerodermawarrior #spooniesisterhood #fightlikeawarrior #spoonie #spoonielife

My insanely talented sister @abistevens_illustration is creating a series to visualise what it's like to live with debilitating chronic migraines and boy can I relate. Living with any sort of chronic pain condition can feel as though your entangled in an unstoppable wreath of agony.
Sometimes its touch is so light you can barely feel it but it's always there. Lying around until it feels like ramping up the pace again.
I would give anything to actually shed the layer of pain I've been living with since I was 14 (and solidly since 21). But this image is enough relief for now. Just looking at it gives me a taste of the freedom I dream of.
And yes I've already asked her to create some that echo what fibromyalgia feels like 😍

Sis - can I steal your artistic talent please?
#chronicillness #chronicpain #chronicfatigue #autoimmunedisease #scleroderma #fibromyalgia #fibrowarrior #pain #illustration #freedom #migraines #chronicmigraines #digitalillustration

Hospital free for another week and only two days away from this 💜🍁

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