Fighting an uphill battle, alone

Sif Holst
Posted November 27, 2021 from Denmark
Broken wheelchair
A photo of my wheelchair, damaged by an airline. The whole wheelchair is tilting to one side and a front wheel is broken.

A month ago, I was on the verge of a breakdown. I wanted to kick, hit, and scream and I wanted to hide beneath my bedcovers and just stay there forever (or at least for a long, long time).

I am a woman born with a disability, though the full effect did not emerge until I was in my twenties. I have a good life in many respects, but it also feels like I am fighting an uphill battle and most of the time, alone.

On this day a broken wheelchair was part of the reason, that I was about to crumble. My job, my obligations, take me on many travels. Of course, not abroad during COVID-19, but in September I had just gone on my first plane travel in almost to year. First to Iceland to make a speech about the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and then to several meetings in Brussels. But the travel also resulted in the airline breaking my wheelchair.

The broken wheelchair meant that I have not been able to do the part of my job that requires airline travelling, at least not as well as I can in person. I missed important meetings, where I could have made an impact on behalf of persons with disabilities. Worse I didn’t know when I could find a solution, so I could only fear what more I would miss and if I could continue my campaign to be elected to the UN Committee that monitors the disability convention. But the most frustrating feeling was that for almost two months, I had spent so much time trying to manage the situation, talking to the airline, with the authorities, with the insurance companies and getting nowhere. And I felt alone in my efforts.

I was feeling low in energy, for many weeks I had been working more than 40 hours pr. week, doing what I believe in, but it was hard dealing with this also. And it was not the only battle, there was also issues with other disability aids and on the family front health concerns regarding my mother-on-law and when we had driven to Brussels for meeting in the middle of October, I had encountered more barriers than unusual and had even had my disability van impounded and had to wait outside an inaccessible police station for a long time on a cold and rainy day.

And on that day, where I felt the only option left was screaming or hiding, I had been forced to send my husband in COVID quarantine (luckily, he later had a negative test), he is my primary care-giver as well as my life-companion and I felt more alone than ever before.

My lifeline on this day was a World Pulse sister, she gave me air to breathe and the courage to go on. I was no further in dealing with all those different troubles, actually, after almost three months I am still dealing with the airline and all the others, who still offer no help even if the law demands that they should. But I no longer felt alone and that made all the difference.

This is just one example from my life. It was an example of a recent, difficult situation. But having a disability is often an uphill battle, a battle to get help, for example health care, social services, disability aids. The challenges of living in a society where we face so many barriers, stigmatization, lack of opportunities, barriers that limits us. But the feeling of being alone, as we face all these uphill battles, is really difficult. Maybe we have a family that supports us, some friends, a community, for example a disability organization or if we are lucky another community, for example a religious community.

Women have gotten better at supporting other women, and some men also support women. But when it comes to persons with disability, we often step back. Someone is probably going to do something to help, in a welfare state like Denmark we turn to the authorities, in other countries it might be to local charities. I have done it myself, feeling that I could do nothing to help and then I stepped away instead of stepping forward as my World Pulse sister did, when I was in need. Because even if you cannot solve the problem itself, you can still provide a shoulder to cry on, some support.

We need to create a change, no one should stand alone. And groups, such as persons with a disability, who are marginalized by our society really needs to feel that someone is in our corner. That it is not only persons with disabilities or those very close to us, who speaks up, when we see injustice, when we see people denied equal opportunities. We should be allies, we should call for change and be ready to give moral support.

To create change, to create an impact, I suggest an initiative to guide us along and I hope you will support it.

Read about the initiative here: https://www.worldpulse.com/community/users/sif-holst/campaigns/101940

This story was submitted in response to Disability Justice.

Comments 19

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jomarieb.earth
Dec 03, 2021
Dec 03, 2021

Dearest Sif,
I feel every tear drop, anxiety and frustration that you express on this page and beyond. You are a warrior queen. The only thing missing is the vast army. The army will form with time and perseverance. Change is the friend that needs an usher. You will usher in the change with dignity and light. Wishing you great luck on your campaign with the UN.
Please know that I am always here for you Sif!
Love you much my sister...JoMarie

Sif Holst
Nov 28, 2021
Nov 28, 2021

Thank you JoMarie
And much love

Catherine Djiemo
Nov 28, 2021
Nov 28, 2021

Hej Sif,
Thanks on sharing such a personal and inspirational story. Your strength to fight through these hazards of daily living as a person with disabilities is an absolute evidence for those with stereotypes on disabilities on able minds and bodies. Your ability to resolve these hurdles and still stay focus on your objectives is a powerfull Empowering tool to everyone ;able or disabled within any functional capacity, there is always an abilty to act and accomplish anything .
Thanks again for letting us be a part of your wins and huddles that life offer .
Hugs
Mvh
Catherine djiemo

Sif Holst
Nov 28, 2021
Nov 28, 2021

Thank you Catherine
Hugs

Kristine Yakhama
Nov 28, 2021
Nov 28, 2021

Disability is not inability you are "Fearfully and wonderfully made" believe in your self cheer up virtual hugs and lots of love

Sif Holst
Nov 29, 2021
Nov 29, 2021

Thank you so much Kristine

MUKABA ZAWADI
Nov 29, 2021
Nov 29, 2021

Merci pour le paratage de l'histoire et désolé pour ce moment diffcilé et courage va de l'avant vous êtes une battante.

Sif Holst
Nov 30, 2021
Nov 30, 2021

Merci beaucoup, Mukaba Zawadi

Jill Langhus
Nov 29, 2021
Nov 29, 2021

Hello, Dear, Sif,

I'm so sorry you felt this way and that they broke your wheelchair. I am glad, though, that a World Pulse sister lifted you up:-) Can you say who it was? I would love to know. Also, let me know if you ever need some extra support again. I am more than happy to help:-) XX

Sif Holst
Nov 30, 2021
Nov 30, 2021

Thank you, Jill.
JoMarie has been amazing and has supported med through this

Jill Langhus
Dec 01, 2021
Dec 01, 2021

You're welcome. Yay! I'm glad that JoMarie was there for you when you needed someone most.

Thanks for sharing.

erica v
Dec 01, 2021
Dec 01, 2021

Dear Sif,

Please continue your work for the UN Convention for more attention and help to people with disabilities. My mother-in-law is also already 30years in a wheelchair and is still facing the same problems. People do not see the impact of not having your chair, it is your feet actually. I think a society should be judged by how we treath and respect people. I am with you to create the change, to be part of your army. Lots of hugs.

Sif Holst
Dec 01, 2021
Dec 01, 2021

Thank you so much Erica. It means a lot to me.
Lots of hugs

Dec 02, 2021
Dec 02, 2021
This comment has been removed by the commenter or a moderator.
Lyn321
Dec 02, 2021
Dec 02, 2021

Reading your story brings tears to my eyes as I reflect on my own tragic experience. I just want to talk to someone . Please add me on WhatsApp let’s talk . Or you can give me your cellphone number or email to contact you . I hope to hear from you soon .
This is my number
[PERSONAL DETAILS REMOVED BY COMMUNITY MODERATOR]

Sif Holst
Dec 02, 2021
Dec 02, 2021

Hi. I have written you a message. Hugs Sif

Manasa Ram Raj
Dec 03, 2021
Dec 03, 2021

Hi Lyn,

We noticed that you shared a personal phone number in the comments. At World Pulse, we take the security of our members seriously, so we wanted to let you know that profiles are public, and visible to anyone online. Because of that, we recommend not including personal details in your profile, comments, or posts. If you do choose to share contact information with someone else, you can always use a private message to keep that information more secure.

For this reason, we have removed your number. Reach out to us in case of any concerns.

Grace Iliya
Dec 06, 2021
Dec 06, 2021

Dear Sif,
Thank you for sharing your story, I agree with you that no one should stand alone. Your focus is quite an inspiration and yes we should all be allies just like here on World Pulse.
Much Love

Sif Holst
Dec 07, 2021
Dec 07, 2021

Dear Grace,
Thank you so much for your comment, it really means a lot to be.
Much love
Sif

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