Bryony Moss is a 22-year-old disabled blogger with cerebral palsy, learning difficulties and mental health issues. She is also an aspiring model and actor, as well as influencer and disability advocate. Bryony is currently studying performing arts at college and loves horse riding.
In her article, she shares her experiences on how she has overcome challenges, becoming a disabled student, and how she hopes her blogs and future plans will inspire other disabled people that anything is possible.
My love of acting and horse riding
I am currently studying performing arts at college and am a youth theatre member of the theatre company The Theatre Shed. Last year we went on tour and performed our production CapeAbility at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
I love going horse riding at my local Riding for the Disabled Centre (RDA) every week. I have been riding with them for about 10 years, and I enjoy doing Dressage competitions at regional and national levels. I was so pleased to be one of the faces for RDA campaign called 50 Faces last year. The campaign was to celebrate RDA’s 50th Anniversary.
Being diagnosed with my disability and overcoming challenges
I was diagnosed with my disability when I was in year 2, so around age 6. I’m not going to lie, it’s been hard, with many ups and downs. I’ve had to go to quite a lot of hospital, doctors and therapy appointments through the years.
I was also diagnosed with anxiety; depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, dissociative seizures and hearing voices at the age of 14.
I was bullied all through my school life. I found this particularly challenging as members of staff didn’t believe me, and some even bullied me too. This led me to want to end my life. I was bullied for a number of reasons – my disability, being adopted and the way I looked, to name a few.
I used to have more friends, but when I was diagnosed, lots of them didn’t want to know me anymore. However, even though what has happened to me was horrible, I am proud of myself because I kept going to school and facing the challenges every day.
I also get comments that I’m too pretty to be disabled. This has always puzzled me – just because someone is disabled, it doesn’t mean they aren’t attractive or any less than anyone else. We are all more alike than you think. We can still have friends and be in relationships.
Support network around me
Despite these difficulties, I have since made some amazing friends through having a disability, and I don’t think these wonderful people would be in my life if I was able-bodied.
For example, most of the friends I have made at The Theatre Shed have disabilities or long term conditions, so are understanding. Well, I say friends, were more like one big family!
I have also learnt from my disability that it’s better to have a small true friendship group than a big one where they bully you.
Deciding to go to college
One of the big challenges I have faced was getting onto a college course that I wanted to do. I am now doing the course I dreamed of learning to act, but it took years for me to be accepted. Some of the tutors were scared and unsure they could adapt the course, while others simply didn’t want to adapt it for me at all.
But now, speaking to my tutors about it, they say it has been very easy to adjust to my needs. I might take longer breaks or have a chair ready for me by the stage – nothing dramatic. I think we all definitely need to work together and talk about these topics more as it can feel scary for someone if it is unknown to them.
Why I started my blog
I started my blog Defeating Disability because I wanted to share my experiences of living with a disability and mental health problems. I want to help others to not feel alone, as well as raise awareness that not all disabilities are visible.
I also want to help others understand more about what it was like living with these conditions as I get quite a few questions. In a strange way, starting my blog also helped me feel that I belonged and people understood me.
When I get really positive comments from people about what I do it makes me feel. For example, I have messages from people all around the world saying that they don’t feel alone anymore. I also get comments from people saying that I’ve educated them in topics they knew nothing about.
My future plans as a disabled influencer
In the future, I would love to be an actor in well-known TV programs and films. I’d maybe also like to do a bit of presenting for my own documentaries on topics that mean a lot to me, such as mental health.
I would also love to write my own sitcom. I want children to see people like me on TV, because when I was growing up I didn’t see much of my conditions portrayed in the media.
I would love to work as a model for well-known fashion brands, challenging perceptions and helping these brands make their clothes more accessible.
Public speaking, having my own book, working on my YouTube Channel and maybe one day having my own clothing and jewellery range are all also things I dream of doing.
If you would like to work with me or checkout my blog, please visit the links below. I can’t wait to connect with you.
By Bryony Moss
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