Guest interview with Caz from InvisiblyMe
First we had an interview from Gemma. The next in my series is Caz from the InvisiblyMe blog – you may have already seen her name as she’s a regular commenter on this blog. Thanks to Caz for answering my questions and I definitely recommend that you check out her blog. She’s kind, helpful and I always enjoy our chats. And yes, chocolate tester or golden retriever dog minder are also up there on my list of top jobs!
1. What is the name of your blog and how did you come to decide on that name?
InvisiblyMe – At the time, I wanted to emphasise invisible conditions and I thought the personalisation of ‘me’ was a subtle nod to ME/CFS, a condition I have.
2. Why did you start writing a blog?
Shortly after having my first stoma surgery and starting the next chapter of my life with a bag in tow, I wanted to reach out to the online world. After continuing sick leave, I was then let go from the job I loved because of continuing surgeries and ill health, leaving me with more time and the desire to focus on something positive. I’d hoped to share things I was discovering and learning along the way, to connect and let others know they weren’t alone. I realised that, as my health continued to go downhill, I had a general niche of chronic illness and pain to explore, not just stoma shenanigans. From there I branched out and InvisiblyMe is now a more general blog to cover lifestyle, health, wellbeing, finances and awareness.
3. If you could change one law to improve life for people with disabilities, what would it be?
The law of fair & free access : It would be illegal for any person to not be able to receive adequate medical care, diagnostic tests and treatment and it would be illegal to be charged for such services. You didn’t say the law had to be realistic!
4. A friend is coming over for a relaxing evening. What will you be doing/eating/drinking/watching?
I don’t have friends to hang out with so it would just be me flying solo, but that also means I can commandeer the blanket, can fidget as much as I like, and I would be free to devour all the snacks to myself. There would be tea and an endless supply of chocolate, preferably Maltesers & Lindt for special occasions, or a tub of Breyers ice-cream. With the current coronavirus situation, I’ve not been able to find Maltesers at a reasonable price so all snacks are officially on ration.
5. What’s something that you’ve learned since becoming a blogger?
You don’t have to squeeze yourself into a box and there’s no rulebook for how you run your own blog. There’s etiquette and tips, but your blog is your own space and you should feel free to run with that and not feel confined to a niche, schedule you’re not happy with, or other ‘rules’ that don’t suit.
6. If you could do any job for a day, what would it be and why?
A psychologist sent to interview serial killers, because I watched too many FBI documentaries as a child.
Alternatively, a Lindt chocolate tester or golden retriever dog minder would be perfect.
7. What’s one thing you would like people to know about your disability, or people who have the same access needs as you?
Of the things I deal with, such as the stoma bag, chronic migraines, autoimmune connective tissue disease, fibromyalgia, bronchiectasis etc, there’s no one thing that defines how well I’m doing. Many of those with chronic illness have more than one condition and we all experience things differently. Just because someone with a stoma travels the world, doesn’t mean I’m up for that or capable of it, and you need to consider the other issues a person may or may not have. It’s not a race and there’s no comparison. We all have a unique experience of any given illness / disability, not to mention different levels of support, other things going on in our lives, and so on. Each person’s experience is unique.
8. When was the last time you tried something new, and what was it?
Putting a loaf of bread in the freezer. It’s nothing wildly amazing but it’s rocked my world. Trying to lengthen the time between shops because of the coronavirus means we’re all having to adapt, and tricks like this can be very helpful in making your supplies go further and last longer.
9. What does accessibility mean to you?
Any place or type of activity could throw up an accessibility problem in the online and offline worlds. Being accessible should mean that nobody is excluded from doing, visiting or using something, and they should be able to do so with a similar amount of time and effort as those without a disability.
10. What activities make you lose track of time?
Reading and commenting on other blogs, falling into a really good TV series at night, or turning the pages on a dangerously good book until you realise you’ve spent the last hour desperately needing to pee and now it may be too late..!
11. What’s one blog post (written by you) that you would like people to read?
To use a more recent one, I’d perhaps say my post on the terrors of public toilets with invisible conditions. I wanted to raise a little awareness and provoke thought for the types of issues unseen to others that can cause public loos to be a problem in some way or can warrant the need to use a disabled toilet.
12. Can you think of one or two bloggers that you think my readers should check out in addition to your blog?
There are too many for me to choose between and I’m painfully indecisive. I’ll go for…
Terri at Reclaiming Hope, for her wonderful support, insights and wisdom from a chronic illness perspective
Holly at Wholeness Haven, for advice, reflections and beautifully inspiring content
Here’s where you can find Caz
Thanks again Caz and thanks too for the things I’ve learned through your blog about conditions and accessibility challenges that I hadn’t come across before.
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