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I am a single (youthful) 58 year old guy. I have Asperger Syndrome, borderline schizophrenia and depression. I guess I have a hamburger with the lot! I have worked as a music promoter, but now I clip newspapers. I've never been published but I've always liked writing. I also like music and cycling, and I make fine furniture.
I want to to write about my experiences as a person with a disability, and my experiences as a person.
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is coming up on Monday 3 December. This year marks its 20th anniversary since its start by the United Nations 20 years ago. I am participating in a special radio show this year. It will feature two bands, interviews and readings. Find out what is happening in your community on the day and get involved.
I met the band the Amplified Elephants and their artistic director James Hullick. James started the band six years ago from an arts program for people with an intellectual disability. I went and watched the band practice at the Footscray Community Arts Centre. There was laughter and jokes. It was wonderful. James says the band is popular because they have an honest and open relationship with their audience. They have a new CD that will be available in January. The Amplified Elephants will play shows in November at Federation Square. All the shows are free and wheelchair accessible.
I start my own cabinet making business. I am full of fear that I may not be good and cannot succeed. I get my first customer who is a man that understands great quality work. He wants me to build him a large wooden and glass cabinet. I start my work but am too scared to continue making it and I am running out of time. I hire tradesmen to do it for me. They do not do a good job. But their work makes me realise I can do the work. I build the cabinet. The customer likes it. I am confident I can have a cabinet making business.
I had moved to a new suburb. I didn't know anybody. I was at the fish and chips shop. I saw an advertisement in the newspaper from the local council. They were asking for people with a disability to get involved. I applied and joined the Disability Advisory Committee. I felt nervous in front of all the experienced committee members. But then I worked with two members to put on disability events. I gained more confidence. I have been doing this work for five years now. And it's all happened because of an advertisement at the fish and chips shop.
I am in hospital and it's my 21st birthday. An inexperienced, young doctor cuts open my leg without giving me any painkillers. But I act brave. After dinner I lie in bed. My 21st birthday will be a night of loneliness. But then my friends come with beer and wine. And then more and more friends arrive. They sit around my bed and we get drunk. It's a great party. The next day I feel terrible from drinking too much alcohol. The matron comes in and inspects my room. She finds an empty bottle of wine. She quietly asks for it to be moved.