Growing Up Invisible: Living With A Hidden Disability

For many years I feel I have been living two lives, the life society has expected of me, and then the reality of who I am. This is the reality of the challenges I have faced growing up with an invisible disabilty. When I was 12 years old I faced the world changing in a way I had never foreseen and was diagnosed with a genetic tissue disorder. There is no cure for my condition. For two years now I have been unable to eat or digest solid foods, X-Rays show the extent to which my spine has deformed and every day my family and I face the fear that my blood pressure might drop so low that I will lose consciousness and need immediate medical attention.Life does not unfold in a way we might expect, but from these experiences there is always opportunity to grow. With this in mind, I have decided it is time to tackle my fears head on and make a film about living with an Invisible Illness. Not everything is how it first appears. Especially in the modern world. What nobody has seen in between the glamour, the films and the fun has been this illness tearing me and my family apart. So I feel it's damn time to do something about it!This new documentary is called 'The Dark Horse' and whilst designed to raise awareness of invisible disabilities I will be tackling my physical limitations by delving into sport. Whilst my legs often become too weak to walk. I have found freedom on the back of a horse and have rediscoved passion for life that I had long believed was over. In addition to my filmmaking exploits (I'm still writing The Wall of Lyon script!! Promise!!) I will be delving into the world of para showjumping, a sport that is currently fighting for international and Paralympic recognition. Over one million disabled people were employed in the U.K after London 2012 Olympics, and 1 in 10 people in this country live with a life changing illness nobody can see. With those kind of statistic I believe it's important that we make a change. So I invite you to look around and question what challenges the strangers you encountered today might be facing, even if on the surface their lives may appear 'perfect'. I hope with all my heart you feel inspired to join me on this journey, already there as so many people I want to thank for their amazing kindness and support! This is my poem for the invisible, hope you enjoy and have a wonderful day ❤️DM Orthotics Shires Equestrian Rotolight Para Equestrian Jumping British Showjumping Fédération Equestre Internationale British Paralympic Association ParalympicsGB Paralympic Games

Posted by Ashleigh Harley on Sunday, 21 April 2019

“A disabled young filmmaker fights an invisible disability to get their sport recognised at the world Paralympic games.” 

For many years filmmaker, Ashleigh Harley felt torn between two lives. The life society expected, and then the reality of who she truly was. The documentary film ‘The Dark Horse’ aims to show to reality of growing up with an invisible disability. 

Aged 12 years old and successfully competing in Showjumping Ashleigh faced change nobody could have foreseen and was diagnosed with a life-long genetic tissue disorder. With no cure for her condition, she was forced to leave school without an education and has been unable to consume or digest solid foods for over two years. X-Rays show the extent to which her spine has deformed. And every day her family live in the fear that her blood pressure may drop to levels so dangerously low she will lose consciousness and need emergency medical attention.

This is the story of what goes unseen. Over one million disabled people were employed in the U.K after London 2012 Olympics, and 1 in 10 people in the world live with a life changing illness nobody can see. With those kinds of statistics, we believe it’s important to make a change. So this film will invite you to look around and question the challenges the strangers you encounter may face even if on the surface their lives appear perfect.

Life does not unfold in a way we might expect, but from these experience,s there is always an opportunity to grow. 

We hope with all our heart you will feel inspired to join Ashleigh on this journey.

 

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