Pooky Ponders: What do people see first, your Paralympic gold or your disability? | Rachel Morris

In today’s episode I explore the question “What do people see first, your Paralympic gold or your disability?” and I’m in conversation with Rachel Morris

Rachel has won two Paralympic gold medals.  Rachel has had both legs amputated.  I wanted to explore with her how these two things shape and impact on her life.  We covered a lot of ground during the conversation with lots of deep moments, and a little dark humour thrown in for good measure too as well as some ideas for how we can better support people with disability and begin to change the conversation. 

You can follow Rachel on twitter @Rachel44Morris

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Show transcript:

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Pooky Knightsmith: welcome to pooky ponders, the podcast where I explore big questions with brilliant people. I’m Dr. Pooky Knightsmith. And I’m your host today? I’m in conversation with Rachel Morris, M B E who is a British Paralympic sports women. Who’s won Paralympic gold medals in both cycling and rowing. She originally dreamed of running in the Olympics, but she lost both her legs to complex regional pain syndrome.

As a teenager, in addition to her sporting prowess, Rachel also works with children with special educational needs and disabilities, inspiring them and empowering them to see strength as well as challenge in their lives. She’s an old round brilliant person who also happens to be my very good friend. So I was super excited to invite her onto the podcast.

In today’s episode, I posed the question. What do people see first, your Paralympic goals or your disability?

Could you start off by introducing yourself, please? Rachel? 

Rachel Morris: Hello? Yeah. Hi, I’m Rachel and I am a Paralympic champion in two sports. And so in rowing and cycling and I, yeah, I do lots of other different things tying in and now, yeah, it’s been an athlete still and looking to what was the future when I retire and go into a new phase of my life.

Pooky Knightsmith: And the question that I kind of suggested for today’s episode too, is when people see you, do they first see your Paralympic gold or your disability? And I kind of, first of all, I wondered what you thought about that as a question.

Rachel Morris: Yeah. I was really interested actually, that that’s where you started from in lots of ways. I think in my head, as soon as I started thinking about it, because it’s something in some ways that comes up quite often. Um, but without being asked as a direct question, and it’s something that I struggle with a lot, in some ways, again, it’s, it’s a very strange thing.

And the world’s since 2012 has changed massively in what and how it sees people with disability, um, and perhaps athletes. So Paralympic athletes, um, Great. I often, I’m far more, I’m seen as an athlete on an equal, but equally at the same time, you’re not at all yet. And the society is very, very not there at all.

So on the surface, everyone likes to think it’s absolutely lovely. Um, and actually there’s massive, massive struggles out there still. Um, every day, every day, something will come up. If I go out, um, after the house of speak, um, that always be something that comes up about my disability. So it’s quite interesting, um, as a point to start with, and I guess in, so in a direct sense to answer that, I think that it depends who you’re talking to.

So, and the snow era scenario, scenario, sorry that you’re in at the time. Um, so some of the time it’s absolutely you are not an athlete. You are nothing other than a. Disabled person and not even a person with a disability, you are just disability. There’s some people just cannot see past that still. Um, and then other people, um, are so excited about my sport and what I’ve done.

Uh, and so it was really interesting, but there just seems to be a big, big difference in sort of where we are. There’s a huge spectrum of, um, knowledge and understanding and, or lack of 

Pooky Knightsmith: there’s a lot in there. Isn’t there. So in terms of, you said, you know, every day your disability is something that kind of comes up.

If you kind of go out and try and do stuff, can you just explain a little bit about what do you mean by that? What does that look like? 

Rachel Morris: So some of it’s, some of it’s, I still find really shocking. Um, I’ve been at the end of it. How many years shocking. And I think looking at and watching new people coming in, I’ve got a friend who’s become a wheelchair user, um, and is really starting to try to sort of go into this world now.

And I thought, okay, I thought things were so much better and actually a lot of the time they’re not, and he’s really, he’s really struggling. Um, so part of it’s verbal is just the look that you get. Um, and it allows a big patronizing, or if it will be petty, you all just go get stared at because you’re different.

Um, and then it’s the other side of it is sort of the verbal side of things of people actually being so rude, disgusting to you just because you’ve got a disability and yes. Um, yeah. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Wow. I, the thing I think, I, I kind of struggled with most in that as someone who knows you well, as a friend, is the idea that people would have any kind of like pity or sorrow for you, or think that you’re in any way kind of weak because you are literally the strongest person I can think of like very mentally, physically.

I always tell people, you know, when we, um, when we went and walked, whisper, um, uh, your dog and, uh, you know, trying to keep up with you when we’re out in the woods, like off we’re off track and you’re there powering away in your wheelchair. And I’m like, how is this? My friend has no legs and I cannot keep up.

Like, yeah, you’re amazingly strong. But how do you, how do you respond to that? Do you respond to that by, do you just get so used to it that you let it just pass you by? Or do you challenge it or what do you do? 

Rachel Morris: Um, again, some of it depends on the scenario. Some of it depends on the type of day. I think it’s funny again.

If you’ve got a disability, a lot of the time, people just see that it’s kind of, it’s like you don’t have any feelings as the person that it, I don’t know. It’s almost kind of feel like people think that, Oh, you’ve had your sort of stuff with your legs. There’s no nothing left. You know, you’re not going to get bothered by somebody making a horrible comment.

Um, and there was a really that side of things, um, in that, um, it is, yeah, it’s quite, I dunno, it’s just so strange. And I just find it, I guess I would never, I could never and would never have made a comment to somebody. I might ask a question, but I will never have made a comment to somebody about the fact that they’re using a chair or they look different or I just wouldn’t and it would never enter my head to have done it before I became disabled.

And I guess I have. So a struggle with that understanding coming from the other way at times. Um, some of it, I can’t, you know, you cannot stand and, you know, children are learning that’s different again. Um, but again, often it’s the adult’s reaction that becomes a problem. So often children will stare and there’s each group, you know, roughly that you can work up until their learning is black and white.

And that some of the best comments though, from, uh, children, because they are learning and it’s black and white and they just say some of the most amazing things. Um, and then it’s the adult that becomes embarrassed and tries to drag the child away or sort of yeah. Reached out in a really stupid way and actually doesn’t allow the child to get the answer.

So I’ll always answer a question if it’s men. In a questioning way so to speak, then I would always spend the time to answer the question. I’m lucky I can verbalize I can help some den stand, hopefully how I’m feeling, what I’m saying and how the world is from my point of view. And so I sort of tried to, I guess yeah, take the time to do it because there are a lot of people who can’t, or aren’t confident enough or don’t have speed and who would get stared at who aren’t seen as part of community.

And so for me, I try and just to break down those little barriers might be the one word conversation. Yeah, it is. But it’s definitely depends. I can’t cope and go home and cry and other days it’s just so to speak. So it’s, it’s just that thing that suddenly you’ve got a leg, so you’ve got no feeling. Wow.

Pooky Knightsmith: And that feels like, and I can understand why you would say some days you feel more able to kind of respond, uh, kind of proactively and impossible, positively than others, because that sounds quite a big, like emotional load and responsibility to be carrying saying that, you know, I am a strong disabled person go, I need to reeducate others, you know, on behalf of many of us who might not be able to, um, vocalize.

And, and should that be your job? Or, I mean, what, what, how can other people help? 

Rachel Morris: It’s funny. I think I’m in a position a long time that I can do that. So I also have a number of lines I can reach out through or two to make people understand or to meet people, at least just that they can then choose what they do, but at least listen, at least try and understand.

And I think one of the big things is. Yeah, when I speak and I told her I do something at a school or a business, whatever it is, engagement wise. I’m very keen now to finish on sort of the note saying, actually all of us are going to get leave here tonight. And actually one of you may not get home as start tomorrow.

Same as they started today because none of us know we’re going to have a car accident, or if we are going to have a car accident or something else happens. So I think meningitis, spinal injuries, amputees, because it’s so many, so many things happen that people is that wouldn’t have happened to me type attitude.

And which is great on one level, because you don’t want to be morbid all the time about things. Absolutely. But equally, if it changed for you tomorrow, you would want to be treated the same as you’re getting treated today. Yeah. I remember very, very clearly the day I had my first and second, particularly like amputated and the.

I went off the ward the first time after a same, the second time and remembering just how differently I was spoken to treated literally overnight. And yeah, those are the things. So then having got into sports, having the opportunities to go into schools, having the opportunity to speak to people like yourself, um, to doing all those things.

That’s how, hopefully that’s how we try as you’re doing in your work, in what you’re trying to do. And that sense of trying to get people to understand that it’s just part of life. If you like, it’s not an absolutely I will be there to help and support somebody. And that’s what I’m starting to do more and more as well, which is what I really, really like, because you can make a difference in someone’s life.

Um, and say, you know, none of us know what’s going to happen tomorrow. And, um, there’s um, yeah, somebody who I used to go with at the moment who says his life turned upside down, but actually he. It’s finding it very, very hard, but it has been, he’s been really shocked by people’s attitudes to him. Um, and suddenly he’s a chair user, and they’ve not seen him as he was before, um, as a multi Olympic medalist and certainly is very, very different, very different world.

Pooky Knightsmith: That’s really, do you think that you get, um, a different view point on this because you used to, um, be I’m a rubbish at able-bodied when you had legs and then you didn’t have legs. Do you think that that means that you view your disability kind of differently because you know how you were treated 

Rachel Morris: before versus now?

Or? Yes, I do massively. So, um, I’ve got friends again, a friend who was born with hers and her disability and is physically very disabled, but. You would, I mean, phenomenal strength of character and what she’s done. Um, but she, uh, she finds, we’ve had the discussion between us, the number of times over that, because yes, she does see things differently because she’s never had the chance, I guess, to be treated as able-bodied.

Um, and so between us, we really dove to some of those things, um, and the way that people are with. People, any person with a disability, any person with anything that is remotely different, you know, as you know, hidden disabilities. Exactly. It’s the same thing. If people treat you in different ways and actually sometimes it’s hard, I think, with hidden disabilities because people just think they like that your normal thing so that you look normal.

So how can you be have anything that’s different? How, how is there a challenge? Like you just look normal, like what’s wrong. Um, and so there is that side of things that is also very difficult and very different I’ve noticed. Um, and then schools and children and working with more and more is just sort of being aware of that side of things, the hidden side of it and get people to understand that actually they can have a really positive effect on somebody, but they can also have a profoundly negative effect on somebody just by the way they react to them.

The first time they see them. 

Pooky Knightsmith: So what’s that something we all need to maybe think about, isn’t it like, how, how should we react? I mean, is it okay to ask questions or be curious or do we just pretend that there’s no. Do you know what I mean? We, we are all curious people and we all notice things around us and if you’re a wheelchair user and the next person, isn’t like, I’m going to notice that, like, I’m going to notice the color of someone’s skin.

It doesn’t mean I’m judging. So what’s the right way to interact with that. 

Rachel Morris: Yeah, I think you’re so, so, so right on that, um, yeah, I can’t get away from the fact that, Oh, it was, he got no legs. I looked different. I’ve got no balance that, yeah, you can’t escape that. Um, because I don’t wear prosthetics artificial legs and I don’t walk.

I can’t even hide it under that. So two guys, um, what I do find really interesting though, is if you start a meeting or you start, um, Working with a group in a business. And if I’ve made the point, I’ve done it on a number of occasions that I’ve come into a room before anyone else comes in. So I specifically go behind a table, so they can’t tell, I go to user.

And then the moment you kind of, I, again, going what you’re saying, I would use the same language as I would do if I was able bodied. So, um, I, if I stepped around and come around the table, um, then suddenly they, you can see this change in people’s faces or, Oh my God. Now I can’t, I don’t know how to talk to about now.

Now, how do I say anything yet? Absolutely fine. The moment for not an issue talking, but the moment you’ve got that physical difference it’s you can just see people freeze and then there’s really guarded about what they say. Um, and I. I, yeah, I don’t know somebody, I wouldn’t even, but I wouldn’t worry about what their words are in that sense.

I think if people just are making the point of talking to me or talking to somebody, that’s a great starting point. Don’t worry about the type of words, whether especially politically correct or not would be my answer. Um, I think I hate that because it just makes me become a clinical object in a sense, because people are trying to, um, sort of step around making comments, whereas yeah, there’s quite dark human sense between other disabled people.

Um, and there certainly isn’t squads, um, where I trained at the moment, um, particularly with some of the military guys, as well as, uh, uh, there’s a definite dark humor, but that’s fine. And some people feel really embarrassed by it who are able-bodied, which I understand, but equally, most people end up if you have become disabled or you have a challenge for whatever reason, actually, most people.

I ended up having that dogs as humid as a way of coping apartment is just coping. And part of it is also making sure that other people who are new to say, but from my point of view, come into it and start feeling at ease about who they are. Because if you can laugh at how you look in the sense of, you know, you don’t have to be, that’s not, it’s not nasty to laugh in that way at people.

If you’re doing it within a friendship group, if somebody walks up to me in the street and as pointed out something, Oh my God, you’re disgusting. You got no legs, which I’ve had a number of times that makes you feel pretty rubbish. But if a comment within a group of friends is. I don’t know, it’s a figure of speech, for example, but like you were saying about the figure of speech and so many, so many phases about legs, about standing up like standing on one leg or there’s loads of those phrases that come up all the time.

And I think the more people worry about the words they use, the more they come out and the more embarrassed they feel. And then the more I’m trying to retract and get them to feel better. And going back to what you’re saying about whether I have that duty, if you like, or that role, I guess I want to do it in the sense of making or helping somebody else to feel at ease again, so that if there is no somebody else who doesn’t have the competence that I’m lucky enough to have now that I’m X amount of years down the line, um, I think that’s a really important part of it is yes, that I do try and help.

I also had the most amazing guy in my life, um, when I was first disabled and he. I used to say at the beginning, and once I couldn’t run anymore, I sailed and he wrote a notes. He was paraplegic a wheelchair user, and he left a note on my car after one of the events and saying, um, you know, used to be at the moment.

But when you had your, I hear you’re going to have your leg amputated when you’ve had your like amputated, here’s my number, give me a call. And they’re on the face of it. That’s not a great exam or right. Whatever, but actually. In this world, that’s how it is. And actually I’d much rather. So in classifications for Paralympic sport, you want certain types of 

Pooky Knightsmith: disability disabled enough for him.

Rachel Morris: Exactly. I wasn’t. However, once I’d had both legs amputated, I was really useful to him. And then we went on to win the world championships, so actually measures right. Extreme measures, you know, I wouldn’t recommend 

Pooky Knightsmith: that’s really. Oh, I love that though. I like, yeah, you’re not, you’re not useful to me. Yeah.

Come back when you got less legs. Yeah. 

Rachel Morris: Right. 

Pooky Knightsmith: How did he feel about like this drive towards kind of more inclusive language? Like when people use the term differently able, for example? 

Rachel Morris: Hm. I kinda cringe a bit. Um, I understand, I like him in some way people coming from, um, but why can’t I just be Rachel. 

Pooky Knightsmith: I was going to say that that’s a, there’s a bigger question now isn’t there about, you know, my, my kind of opening gambit for this is do people see your gold medals first or your disability?

And actually, like, I kind of, I felt inwardly awkward right in that, because I don’t think of either of those things, when I think of you, like, they’re both important and if I’m trying to like place you, so I have a lot of Rachel’s in my life. And so my children, if I’m talking about Rachel, that’d be like, do you mean famous, Rachel, the comedian or famous ranch, Rachel, the gold medal winner or Rachel who changes schools or right.

You know, and I have to clarify that way,

but generally I’m actually, I think if you more as, um, uh, like I just think, well, you’re just right. You just my friend. Um, and if I, if there’s one thing that comes to mind, it’s not your various successes, which you have both kind of on and off the sports field, but, um, like your love for whisper and the, the, the impact that you have on the children that you work with.

Um, And the whispers there in the background, let’s 

Rachel Morris: say I’ve got an upside down dog at the moment. Um, yeah, upside down. 

Pooky Knightsmith: When I kind of come to you to mind, it’s always walking in the woods with whisper alongside with a ridiculously large sticks.

Rachel Morris: No, I think it’s really important. I think particularly for people as if they’re starting, if you’d like to journey in to having become disabled for whatever reason. And however, that is, um, that actually those are things that again are really important because that person is still the same person. And it’s one of the things I’m really sort of keen to speak about really now is, and to get people to see that.

Yes, I understand there’s words and actually slight tangent here, but same second is in your podcast. The last or listening to you were being interviewed? Um, it was usually you were saying about, um, labels and I kind of I’m with you on the labeling. And since I think actually there’s a time and place for labels.

Sometimes they’re not helpful at all. And sometimes they are just downright awful and just not the right thing. And sometimes people react differently to them as well. Sometimes it’s really helpful somebody to have a label and sometimes it’s not, um, And again, it depends on how clinicians react to them in medical settings.

Um, and if they just see that label, then that’s when it becomes negative because they’ve lost that person. Um, and then they lose the who they’re actually working with. It’s just the label. Um, and again, as you know, there’s a whole spectrum. Every label has a spectrum on it, starting at mild to severe whichever or from lights, livestock, hope everything’s just on a spectrum.

And that’s about humans as well. Isn’t it just anybody who is anybody as a human is on a spectrum. We’re all so different. Which what we all say is so good. And yet actually the moment you are different. They don’t like, then the human race is terrified because you are different and yet we’re meant to be proud to be different.

Um, and so I think it’s so definitely April, I would go actually it’s differently different because the people that’s, the people, things that people don’t like is the definitely different bit. They can’t do that. But, um, yeah. So I kind of cringe at some of the, um, sort of ones that are meant to be politically correct that coming out.

Um, I personally don’t think they’re particular helpful and I think all you’re doing is putting another label on exactly the same thing and yeah. Okay. Might yeah, no, just not sure. Um, but it, yeah. Say I know everyone, you know, you need to have labels for certain things in front of the standing as well. Um, but we also need to work with children, young people, adults who are given labels.

So one of the things I’d love to be able to do is to work then with pick up. Cool. And how you actually use that in a positive way. So. The amount of people that get told they have a particularly mental health issue and then are labeled as, so you then get particularly some of the special needs children that I’m working with and have the amazing pleasure of working because it’s actually brilliant.

Um, but they. Oh off, they often react negatively to it. Particularly the, uh, diagnosed autistic around 1314, which is the age where they often sit in as well during that don’t get that diagnosis at the moment. If you do get it, they hate it so much. And they don’t know where they sit, then they don’t. So they’re struggling with their identity anyway, as you are as a teenager for anyway, but a lot of the girls really, really struggle with that as a diagnosis.

Um, and so it’s about from my hundred years of, I would love to work with people to try the conditions and then the, um, clients, patients, whoever you, however you sought that person again, a label, but working with that person, you have to identify people, but to get people to see that actually you can use it in a positive way.

So don’t let it be an activity. If it’s not the right label. Again, that’s something that needs to be understood far better medically is that if it’s not the right label, that actually when it changes. But it goes back through your notes and that labor gets taken away and is taken back because people who have the wrong label attached also really, really struggle with that.

And other than conditions in the future react potentially quite negatively towards the person, again, just because of the label on their notes. 

Pooky Knightsmith: So how was that? So that’s something you’d like to do more on is helping people to understand that their kind of strengths, I guess, and looking, maybe embracing a label, but understanding what strengths it brings as well as well.

What challenges does that? 

Rachel Morris: That’s pretty good. Summary. Yes. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Good. I was listening well, 

Rachel Morris: very good listening skills leading in nicely. Nice smiles. So 

Pooky Knightsmith: what would that, what would that look like? Cause it doesn’t, I mean, you do that anyway, don’t you isn’t that what you do every day with the kids that you’re supporting?

Rachel Morris: I think so. I’d like to. I think that’s kind of what I ended up being. Um, I think for me, it’s more about trying to push, push that further then. So trying to put it in a way that we can use it in a far greater way so that it’s not just that group, it becomes how ultimately, how clinician, clinicians see that label and what they do with it at the time.

So the fact that that child should then, or young person, but like somebody who’s been diagnosed with Ms. Multiple sclerosis or something like that in my way of thinking and working with some people, their mess at the moment. And that’s why that comes, come to my head. But, um, to try and understand that, yes, it’s a label that’s very negative in some ways.

People have this immediate fear, obviously of like being diagnosed with cancer, you have that absolute fear of what that label actually means. But again, that label has this end and this end of it. And there’s a spectrum. The average means you’ve got to have each end. And so you don’t know which end you’re necessarily going to go into at that point, but how you look at it and how you use your mind to then go into that journey has a massive impact on how you manage it, how you feel throughout what you can carry on achieving.

If you give up straightway at the beginning, you may have lost 20 years of your life. You don’t know at that point. And so being to me, being positive about learning how to manage it again, is about learning to manage that label really. Um, and if you give people support at the beginning, that I am beginning to notice a massive difference in a group of people that I’m working with.

The people that aren’t having that support at that point. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Interesting. And what do you do? Just explain a bit more about, um, cause I have to remember that lots of people listening to this don’t know you, and haven’t heard all about your words, just to find a little bit more about what that actually kind of looks like and what could other people learn from that and maybe do themselves.

So 

some 

Rachel Morris: of it is, um, I guess again, it’s a bit like me being my athlete had, I’m sort of, I’ve got a bit of here a bit there, a bit of sort of, so, um, it’s not. Straight psychologist. It’s not straight anything in that sense. Um, but so part of it is support through sport. So using sport through CBT, uh, so because we paid for therapies, the NLP neuro-linguistic programming type different ways of thinking about things, um, and using the techniques that we use in sport and bringing those across.

So they’re not medicalizing that label in the same way. So yes, what I’m doing is underpinned by that. Um, but those ways of thinking, but it’s also then about giving that person. So it is about not changing that person, but it’s about giving them the tools to be able to keep who they are, I guess it’s so it’s making them stronger when everything else around them is sort of changing and they don’t know what’s going to happen over the next year to 10 years, whatever it is in that sense of label and for the special needs children.

About giving them the toolkit to be able to cope with snows, that they’re going to find harder than perhaps the able-bodied compassionate in the classroom or the person who’s just been diagnosed. Their Ms at 40, who is someone who thinks that they’re going to be in a wheelchair tomorrow and their lives over.

And yes, it is an issue. You go through a phase of grieving, if you like. And I think you do as an amputee for your legs. Actually, there is a, there’s a whole process that we do go through as humans, but equally there’s a whole load of things that we can do, especially as an athlete, I’ve learned that I think are really, really valuable, um, in the medical world and across into mental health side of things that there’s so many things that we can do to help how you think.

And I guess that’s a big part of where I’m coming from. So. Again, that MSO things using sport to keep you fitter for longer to keep your strongest possible. All of these things makes so much difference to how you think about things as well. Um, and then the special needs children. So send a special education needs, disability, the children that are.

Yeah. Some of them have been through trauma. Some of it’s that they have had eating disorders, some of, uh, early ages. Um, some of them this whole complex reasons, reasons that they’re act this particular school or that I ended up working with them through other schools. Um, and then the ones who have disability, they might not have anything as this as a label other than the physical disability side of things.

But it’s about teaching them as I’m 10 year old girl, I’m teaching her how to push her chair better, how to become independent in her chair and how to use a sports chair, but so that she can transfer into herself she’s paraplegic. So her legs don’t work. Um, and she doesn’t have a lot of core. So it’s about teaching her how to do those P those things that give her the independence now.

So a lot has been shown that if you teach children from. Eight nine to become those independent skills, particularly wheelchair users. Then they will go on to be independent where they can, where I noticed if you don’t get child independent, but as a chair user, or with a mobility issues from the age of 16.

So once they leave school, then they’re not going to become independent. Um, so we’ve only got a few really short years really to get these kids. Um, so they are that strong that they are seeing why it’s so important. And the actually, they, they can do it because so often they get told they can’t do it.

And actually they really can 

Pooky Knightsmith: that trends though, right? Because you lost your legs later, didn’t you? And you are like, Remarkably I love. And that’s the thing I, you know, going back to that conversation about like staring and looking, but every time I’m with you, I, I’m just amazed constantly by you and how you kind of move around and do everything.

Um, that sounds really condescending, but it’s not, it’s just, I, I Marvel at your body and how strong it is and the things that you’re able to do. Um, and yeah, but you, but you learned later, right? Because you weren’t able-bodied 

Rachel Morris: when you were a kid. Yeah. Yeah. I was a runner and I was an athlete. I wanted to be an Olympic athlete and that was what I wanted to do.

But again, sport for me, I think that’s why it’s so important. That’s why I really believe it has such a big place in mental health, but also with disability is that it gave me the strength physically and mentally to get to something, which I know a lot of people don’t, but also that was really, really hard, really hard and sport.

Is that massive negative impact practice on my life as well at times, but also incredibly, incredibly positive things. And so again, life’s a bit of that balance, isn’t it really, you get the good of every cloud has a silver lining cliche, but one of the biggest things I live by, I think it’s definitely that saying, and 

Pooky Knightsmith: you’ve been remarkable in that.

And maybe, I don’t know, maybe other Paralympians have done this too, but you’ve just kind of shifted from one sport to another. When your ability to continue with particular sports has, has shifted and changed as your disabilities sort of changed over time. So I know, uh, obviously you used to road didn’t you, and now, because if the issues that you’ve had since with your shoulders, then you’ve got a whole array of different sports you’re trying out right now.

I’d just be interested to explore that a little bit. Like what enables you to just move on like that? And is that typical or 

Rachel Morris: it’s not typical yet? Um, I’m. Certainly have a label of atypical on that one. Um, I am thinking a little bit different on that one. Um, there are a couple of athletes out there doing multiple sports.

Um, and there are a couple that have shifted. Uh, but it’s not a big thing at all. 

Pooky Knightsmith: They’re not even obvious shifts though. No, cause you’ve done like rowing cycling now what’s getting in tennis. I mean, 

Rachel Morris: yeah. Yeah. It’s um, yeah, so it starts is a runner. What advice and then was sailing a bit.

It’s just not my thoughts anymore. My spikes, 

Pooky Knightsmith: you 

Rachel Morris: know, I just, I don’t, I just give up, that’s my problem. I know I did sailing and offshore stuff and it’s a big boat stuff, which I actually loved. And then I think that actually was one of the things I was lucky enough to have been doing, um, when I had the amputations, because.

I had a sport that I could go straight to. Um, and for me it was just so crucial that I carried on doing sports and it wouldn’t have got me back as easily and wouldn’t have managed half of what I’ve done again, without the amazing guy. I ended up sailing with Eddie. Um, he, yeah, he, I think so much of what I do now is based on what he did and helped me with.

Um, I wouldn’t have the strengths. I would never skills. I think that’s the sad thing is that it’s made me realize I wouldn’t have the skills and which is why I get so frustrated by people who are working in wheelchair services and all these different services to do with disability. They don’t have anyone working at nine times out of 10 with a disability.

And so they don’t read them some impact. So some of the little things they think are very little actually are the massive things. And if they’re just, I know everyone everyone’s stretched everywhere furniture. Oh, all these Island. That’s not what I’m sort of talking about in that sense. Um, ideally I am, but obviously, you know, life’s not that easy.

Um, but it’s just about how you do with those people. How you talk to that person the first time they come in to get measured for a chair, the fact that actually you should be picking up that they’re not doing this. They’re not able to get out to the house. They don’t know how to get out their car into the chair and back and vice versa and have to put the chair in the car.

I’m picking up people who are my age, too old in my eyes, but relatively young, still I think hopefully at 40. Um, but they, they’re not, they don’t have the skills to be independent and yet they are perfectly able to be independent and. If you guys respond to unit, you generally pick up those skills. Um, but because that’s part of the program, but if you don’t go through that and you become an amputee, but a chair user, I would still be sat in one of the old granny wheelchairs, not even able to push myself because I couldn’t, I can’t even sit upright in them and yeah, but my life would just be wasted and I could just sit at home.

I’ve a number of people have kind of come across now who are just doing that at our age, sitting at home, doing nothing because they either don’t have the right equipment. They don’t have the right chair. They don’t know how to use their chair. They don’t know they can drive. They don’t know about hand controls, all these things.

And then I think I’m so lucky. I go wild camping. So chocolate Labrador. I go, I take my 10, I’ve got a rucksack that works in the back of my off-road chair. And I can manually push myself across more to the middle of nowhere or in Scotland, wherever. Tell you whisper and we welcome now. Most people think that’s nuts and that’s fine, and most people would want to do it.

That’s also fine, but I did. And I, that’s what I was desperate to get back. And for me, that’s part of who I am is being, trying to escape from everybody. I love that. And, um, again, it’s about kit. It’s about having those skills and they’re just so important. So that is what is so important. 

Pooky Knightsmith: It sounds like that having, uh, you know, uh, good role models around you when you first were, um, sort of transitioning to learning to kind of live differently, um, was really important.

And just, yeah, I don’t know. Almost like people who just sort of sucked it up and got on with it really, um, and made you realize that maybe you could too. 

Rachel Morris: Yeah, absolutely. I, um, it’s guy, Eddie, who I, um, Oh, he just had the biggest impact on my life and everything I’ve done since becoming a chair user is absolutely down to him.

Um, and then, um, yeah, so like him and I were together 10 years and, um, then unfortunately 2012. Uh, and so I sort of started was at the Miguel at the beginning. I felt like I was totally crushed or crumbled and I didn’t have the skills to manage, but actually he’s taught me how to bash bearings out of my chair.

I commend spokes. I can do all these ridiculous things. And so people give me a cool, Rachel, can you do this? Or can I do that? Or, and so I’m just putting videos together at the moment, actually on January. So it was on half managed to the coffee chair and things like that because we don’t know if you know, you can’t do it.

That’s fine.

Uh, which is so ring. Um, if you get punctured, even you can ring and, um, they’ll come out and then them, but. They might not come out for three days. Now, if I’m in the middle of the woods, that’s not a lot of use to me. So I really need to know how to mend my tire punctures and things. And, um, yeah, it’s, it’s like just, I have always done anyway, but again, I’ve just been helping somebody socially distanced, um, to mend their ties because she’d gone over a nail and got it in her tire.

Um, and she didn’t know what to do. Didn’t know how to mend it and she’d taken it to a bike shop and they said, Oh no, we can’t do wheelchair tires. I might do the same thing. You take them off the chair and then it’s exactly the same. But apparently they couldn’t do it because it was wheelchair or not a bike one.

So I, that, okay. So I went and did it for her. I sat in her drive doing, um, a tire, but it, again, it just made me realize because she’s like, well, how do you know, why do you think he works? Because they had. But that’s why everything I do now, and that’s what I want to base my future and what I give back and can do, um, in all those things that we’ve talked about, um, is, yeah, I see through red, 

Pooky Knightsmith: can you, what a kind of inspiration he wants to in that way, or was he just one of those people that just, just did what he did and you just learned from him?

Rachel Morris: I think he and the like at the end, she just, before he died, he, I think he really did realize what he’d done. And I think that was really lovely and I’m really pleased that he did no. Um, I think, yeah, he was.

Really funny guy, he’s a bit older than me. And he was very, um, bullshitty by nature, I think is probably the only word. Um, he used to get himself into so much trouble and everyone be like, Rachel, you’re just not like him. You’re push, sorry, girl. And you just used to be so funny, but he, he just cared. He would just eat.

And I know you had done anything for me. Um, and. Yeah. Okay. Life had been different, but equally he gave me everything that I needed at that time to then be able to go carry on my life and be independent despite not having him in it, which still hurts so much. But every time I get a punctual, every time I do something and I’m out and okay, flat on my hand bike or something and about I can mend it and I was thinking of him and it always just makes me realize I’m really lucky people look at me and go, how do you do it?

And 

Pooky Knightsmith: that’s really low. It’s really, that’s really like, yeah, I don’t have the right words. Really. It’s really beautiful when you have those kinds of friends and whatever it is exactly that they’ve done. But the fact that he’s, he’s kind of always there with you is yeah. It’s really nice that he’s his strength.

I think doesn’t it. 

Rachel Morris: Yeah. There is a big thing behind it, I think. Yeah, definitely. And

Pooky Knightsmith: would you, you know, do you think that some of the things that you have done and achieved and you know, so much of how you live your life actually is kind of in some way linked to, um, your disability. So the work that you do with children and young people and adults with disability, and we’ll see winning your Paralympic medals, I mean, do you think, how do you imagine your life would have been, if you had not, you know, become disabled, would you have become an Olympic athlete 

Rachel Morris: or I always wanted to be, so whether I would or not, I don’t know, but yes, I would have absolutely tried, um, yeah, doing nursing.

I had a very different eye on my life, I guess. Um, and it’s that weird thing of, again, every cloud has a silver lining of actually, yes. It’s been pretty hard at times. Um, It’s really hard, hard years, particularly the first 10 years I was in that hospital. I was so ill at a number of occasions. Um, as my legs got re-infected.

Oh, and that was horrible. But actually, again, some of the people I met through that time, um, like the physio, um, she was on my work. She was one of those amazing people. And I was in bath a lot of the time originally when I was, when they were trying to fight, save my legs. And, um, I was 17. I was away from home.

Hadn’t lived away from home at that point at all. Um, and it, you know, I just felt so young, I guess, and didn’t really know what doing, I was in a little, um, writing center bath, which is amazing place. Um, amazing, amazing chance for my legs. They, they did everything they could and I did to. Try and keep them, but also after they’d been amputated, their rehab at that point I got from them was just phenomenal because I’d had so much damage done to them around it because of the, um, the sepsis.

And so they would just put on a little bit the physio, um, yeah, I’ve stayed in touch with her ever since. And yeah, she’s, she’s a really important person in my life and I still ring and say, do you think I’m stupid doing this? Or what do you think? And she, I guess you became a bit like, yeah, my second mum and mum, parents felt really happy that even though I was in hospital and really quite ill, a lot of the time that she was there and she’d had rung the machine needed to, and she has a friend as well as sort of clinically.

Um, so yeah, I think there’s a number of friends I’ve got as well from that time. That’s absolutely their must have part of my life. And so you do. See things and you look at life differently, definitely. But we all look at things don’t we and says we will make memories. And those memories have an impact on things that we then do in the future.

Even subconsciously, even if we don’t realize we’re doing it, um, you know, we know what makes us feel happy. We know what’s makes us feel good. And if you’re able to, you always, you know, you choose those things and you develop your life around that. Um, but yeah, there’s a number of people that I know sadly, desperately, sadly, who are sat at home, we do nothing other than watch daytime television.

And I just find it so tragic because they are able to do things. And yet they’re not able to because they can’t physically, they could, if they were taught skills and given the support mental health wise to be in a better place. So I think everyone that becoming paralyzed amputees life-changing.

Injuries or, um, sort of head injuries, uh, all these things have a massive impact on how you live your life, but actually we still have a life and we can still live it. And it’s just about remembering who you are. Because again, I haven’t changed. I might be slightly mad than I was before, but I’m not anymore.

Hopefully I’m still okay. So he’s saying at the beginning, I’m still Rachel and I used to love guides and, um, did loads of camping. When I was younger, I spent all my weekends out and field guide camping loved it, and the most amazing home. And I’ve got friends from that still. My friends really good friends are based from Guidestone.

Um, and yeah, I guess

You do, you just have amazing things, that structure what you do going forwards. And again, guides sport. Well, what got me through when I was 17 having my legs amputated, um, and they did, it was amazing. And now looking back on it a bit, hopefully slightly more wisely than I did, um, initially, is that you can look back on these things and take the really good things.

And that’s where my hashtag support through sport is going to come from is learning what or taking what I learned and have used and putting that into medical context, into physical settings so that people can actually see it. You don’t have to be an elite athlete. You don’t have to be super sporty, but actually the lessons that we can take from sport help people with.

The neuro neuro diverse, physical, hidden mental health, all of these challenges, there is so much, there’s just going from walk, really does help. And people think it’s just too easy to make a difference, but actually it might be so hard for you to start doing that, but having that set up in place so that we, as a country can support people when things happen like that, I think is what we need to be doing.

Tell 

Pooky Knightsmith: me about support through sport. You have a 

Rachel Morris: plan. I do. I think I hope, yes. So again, trying to get people to see the benefits of sport and so using. So again, kind of going from clinical settings and working if you’re like in a room sitting down and making people, trying to make eye contact with them when that’s a loss and they want to be doing specific, especially sort of, um, Teenagers anyway, don’t like doing that.

Um, and so if you’ve got hidden disabilities, autistic, or the different things that are often quite challenged, why do we then put people into a scenario which is going to make them even more anxious to try and talk to them about anxiety? It, it just, some of it just, there’s a time and place for it as well, but also what a lot of what I want to be doing is, and I’m happy.

I’ve got a couple of people I’m working with now, which has been amazing to see that starts to sort of start to taste, but going out, being outside. So, um, I kayaked quite a lot. I also do a lot of skiing, Nordic skiing, so cross country skiing. Um, but being outside. Very important to how you feel. So going out and doing those sessions that you do inside.

So basically a bit like, I guess in sense of forest school, in the schooling system to try and get the kids outside it’s about, it’s been doing that really for the clinical side of things or the support side of things. So people can enjoy. So doing mindfulness, learning, things like that to really deep level in nature, being outside and doing it is far more applicable then to somebody’s life, then doing it in a white sited for room, which doesn’t actually resonate, replicate their life.

Um, and so a lot of it is, again, working with kids who are really struggling with things and teaching things through using sports that they don’t even realize, then that they are having that support through. And. Putting it through and getting teamwork, putting them together so that they’re actually, they are getting the support that they need, but without it being a counseling or without it being sort of things where they particular teenagers really have a negative sort of like not, not do that, not do that, don’t talk to them.

But actually if I give you a basketball or we go and play basketball on that court, you’re talking to me. Okay. And then I’ve had some amazing times working with some of these young people through sport. And so my idea is hoping to get people out to kayaks for mental health support and for using sessions.

So, um, using nature, really using nature to help mental health support. Um, but using those, using it as a framework from sport. 

Pooky Knightsmith: And where can people kind of find out more or is it early days at the moment 

Rachel Morris: it’s early days, but nearly, nearly launching website level. So, and then I feel like I’m going forward.

So I’m really excited, really, really excited. So, thanks speaking, because when I was in hospital a few years ago and our first conversations of both of us in probably don’t mind me saying not the best places,

um, and to be sitting here, having this conversation now, looking at a person who claims, who does sport, who does amazing stuff academically. And don’t think that you’re doing to, for me to be sat where I’m sat, as I say, yeah, having lost varying, which I thought was my life falling apart at the time, as well as having like my shoulders rebuilt, which had gone wrong and all these things that just, yeah, weren’t good.

Um, to, yes. Start building. That is pretty cool. Um, yeah, 

Pooky Knightsmith: I’m really excited for you and it’s, it’s strange. It feels like a whole different person and yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, it was, that was really tough times, really tough times, like for both of us, but I remember for you, I mean, you were in hospital so long and you’ve lost all your independence and yeah, it was really hard and I did everything I could to try and be a friend to you in that time, but it’s actually quite difficult, you know, like not, I mean, you didn’t make it hard, but as in no legs and you’ve lost the use of your arms and you can’t do the things that normally keep you healthy and well, like, you know, there’s only so much that like, Hey, everything’s going to be kind of, you know, I think often we just sat together didn’t we, and just were like, well, let’s just yet.

Rachel Morris: And I think in some ways that was really helpful because there wasn’t anything, but he could do to change the scenario and situation at the time. And yeah, you’re right. Having, I guess I think every cloud has a silver lining, but learning am I seeing myself at that point and knowing that actually. I felt desperate.

I did. I felt desperate. I did not want to wake up in the morning because I didn’t want to have to wake up to the fact that I might not be able to use my shoulders again, therefore not my arms, because it had gone so wrong at one point. And that, that, that was excruciating. It was just so, so hard. Um, but yeah, you’re right.

You know, having no legs and not a lot of arm working, wasn’t a good place to be. Um, but yeah, I saw the best and worst of elite sport as well at that point. And it also, but going from that, it took, I, I spent a lot of time to thinking about, because that’s all I could do. Um, but a lot of time on, on just structuring things about where I wanted it to go since then, I’ve done an awful lot of learning online, different things.

Um, as well as going back to elite sport, um, that’s. Yeah, I just, I, okay. I’m guessing I’m getting there. I can still be an athlete for the moment. I’m still just athlete and, um, as well as doing this now, which is, what’s really exciting because the first time as well, I felt like I could actually walk away from being an athlete.

I metaphorically could hang my shoes up. They go, that’s a good one. I can hang my shoes up and walk away from it and go, I’ve had the most amazing time as an athlete. I’ve experienced things that people would love to, and I’ve had that experience. Um, but actually also at the same time, there is a future for me.

Um, and it’s very hard. A lot of athletes is very known. Thing that I see is really a bit coming out in the military. Um, people really struggled. They’ve lost their identity labels. That thing of when there’s a good one, about one, it’s amazing having the elite athlete label, but then when that starts falling apart, I would, or going maybe for injury, maybe you’re just at the end of your program.

There’s time to place and actually how you use that label again is one of those things. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Yeah. Wow. We went deeper 

Rachel Morris: the moment. That was scary. Oh, good. Okay. I asked you all the 

Pooky Knightsmith: questions, but there are some questions that came in. Um, so let’s do like quick-fire, uh, quite so. Um, okay. Have you had any experiences with doctors or hospital staff because of your disability, any bad experiences with doctors or hospital staff because of your disability and how could they accommodate for you better?

Rachel Morris: That’s a really, really interesting one. Um, I, yeah, I’ve had, and it’s always one of these really strange things. When you think that medically I became an amputee or three medical, I became down amputee and yeah, medically, they can’t cope with you. Um, so. I’ve had a lot of negative side of things. I come from a medical family.

Um, I was doing my nursing as well. My sister is an intensive care nurse. My dad was consultant. My mom’s a physio. So I’m very medically family. And it is very interesting because they will say as well, they don’t have the skills. If they were looking at somebody now they see it very differently. My mum particularly is very much well, I can see things completely differently.

And the impact of that, to that person, I think so much of it goes though, to treat that person, as you would want to be treated yourself, that’s the biggest thing to live by full-stop but medically don’t see that person as a failure because medically, if you’re, it’s funny, if you’re ill or if you’ve had the amputation that in lots of ways, that’s seen as a failure medically, because.

They’re like, well, we can’t get you better now. And that’s what medicine’s all about. And underneath it, it’s this very simple view, but they, a lot of medics really struggle with it because we can’t fix you. But it’s so much, it’s just about talking to person about, again, about not attaching that label and going well, that’s all you can do, but I also don’t use ward disabled toilets as broom cupboards.

That doesn’t go well with me. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Sorry. I shouldn’t laugh. I was terrible. Like, yeah, 

Rachel Morris: they should, but yeah. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Gotcha. Okay. Okay. So let’s see, let’s see the person, see the person that caused the label is the, we’ve kind of maybe covered this a little bit, but, um, your quick Lawrence on is the label of having a disability.

Rachel Morris: Yeah. We have kind of in some ways as well. I get what you’re saying. Um, Yes. I know. I think definitely. And again, it’s how you use that and how that, how you deliver that label initially is crucial and critical that per the medic, the nurse, whoever it is that delivers that initial label can have an impact on that person for the rest of their life, on how they do it and whether it has, whether they almost write that person off.

Yeah. So it was a 

Pooky Knightsmith: huge responsibility 

Rachel Morris: actually. Yeah, I think it does. I don’t think people realize the responsibility they have as clinicians, whether it’s mental, physical health, they do not understand. Yeah. An impact they are going to have on that person. Yeah. Yeah. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Face this sort of similar thing with, um, like autism, when I got my diagnosis of autism and it feels like a life sentence when you first get it, you realize, well, I’m not getting better from that actually.

You know, I’ve come to understand that. It’s it’s exactly like you said, with, with, with everything else, really. There are real strengths there too, but it’s about having those role models, having people around you, who, who do see the strengths as well as the challenges and realizing that yeah, there totally is a feature here.

Um, it’s just, it is. 

Rachel Morris: And you can use that label to make yourself work with what you’ve got, but to understand that, yes, I’ve got, yes, I’m a wheelchair user, but I need to learn how to do it. So then I can live as full of life and do everyone as I would have done. If I was walking, same for you with your diagnosis because you’ve got it.

Yes. Okay. You’re not going to get better as such. Right. But you can make your life as you’ve done so much better by learning how to cope with it and then your life so much easier. Yeah, 

Pooky Knightsmith: yeah. Yes. You need to build in like ramps and grab rails and I have to build in like rest and space away from people it’s totally different than kind of yeah.

It’s about accommodation really. Isn’t it. And, uh, yeah, 

Rachel Morris: I think it’s just understanding who you are. We need. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Yeah. And I think being prepared to ask for help as well sometimes isn’t it? Um, which yeah, I think is important. Okay. This, I think is a really good one to end with. Um, what advice would you give to young people who are ashamed of their disability or uncomfortable with it?

Rachel Morris: I think so. It’s such a big area, um, such a big area and such a massive, um, yeah. Thing I’d love to change overnight. Um, but yeah. Again, I think one of the things, again, people to understand and that young person to understand what they can do to make sure. So for example, if they’re a wheelchair user, make sure they’ve got a bespoke chair, make sure they’ve got the right equipment that enables them.

So the hair doesn’t define them. So most which I said with my services, most doctors don’t have a clue about wheelchairs. Um, and that’s one of the biggest things that you can do for somebody who’s a chair user is make sure that they’re in a chair that is built to them for them. So that it’s not about a grounding chair with push handles.

That means I’m just going to move me out of the way. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Cool. Those granny chairs. Cause you can get whole class can’t you do that? The neat chairs. 

Rachel Morris: Um, yeah. Then one of them that does, yes, there are a lot out there that do them. Um, or they fund them, um, with kids and then yes, there are a lot of. Um, we’ve got manufacturing in the UK who bailed build bespoke chairs, who I would go to.

Um, and ultimately if there’s somebody out there, then please get in touch with me. I’m really happy to try and help you. Um,  Oh, comes through on Twitter, but, um, it’s really crucial to get the right piece of kit so that they’re happy with it. Get the color they want. All these things are really, really important for that person.

Um, and then yeah, making sure they get the skills, teach it, and as they were productive person, you’re not as a parent, you’re not going to be able to teach them those skills because you don’t know how to use the chair. So getting in touch with somebody, learning that actually asking for help for those things is where they need to teach them that that’s the right help to ask for and can using things in the right way.

It’s okay. Again, as opposed to working with the class. So I go into schools where, for example classes, whether it’s a child who’s become disabled, um, Say for an accident. And I’ve just been working in the school one with a child who’s now chair, user, and one’s with a child who’s amputees. And actually you have a two year it’s just about teaching them that don’t take his leg really, but that’s all it is because he’s the most amazing young child.

And he’s just got up and started running on his own that you wouldn’t know, he’s so much better than he was. Whereas the girl is really struggling with the fact that you say that her identity has changed and people are really, they want to push her. They want to patronize her and didn’t actually try.

And actually it’s been going in and getting them to understand how to stay in the classroom out better for her getting her included in PE making sure we get the funding. So she’s got a sports wheelchair, but again, teach her how to get in and out of it. Um, and those things that can’t be done by somebody at school who’s already there because those are just skills that they don’t have, but they do have the skill to ask for that help.

And get that child to support. So I think that’s the biggest thing is, um, get in touch with them to Huge’s who does know, and we’ll help you. There are so many people out there, but yeah, that’s what I want to. Build my future on is making sure that those children don’t feel different and that they do believe that they have a future and that they can achieve the things that anybody else wants to do.

Pooky Knightsmith: And do you, um, are you happy to kind of help if there are, you know, I imagine there would be sort of adolescents in particular, we talked before about that who might be really struggling with who they are and how they feel. He just really need role model. Like you had it bad, really? Like, are you happy to be that person to, to people out there?

I mean, you can’t get to everyone, 

Rachel Morris: but you, yeah, no, but absolutely I am. And if I can’t, then I will make sure I signpost you to the right person who can do it. Um, and that’s what our future’s about in giving. People who are going to get able or who like me fight that label and say, I’m not disabled. It’s only, I’m only disabled because there’s steps in my way rather than, um, yeah.

And, um, yeah, I guess there’s a happy medium on that one, but no, I am, I am really keen to work with those people to find them, to make sure they’ve got that support going forward because they are that person, they are not the person and, or a chair person. They’re the person. And the chair 

Pooky Knightsmith: makes sense. I’ll put all your like contact details and stuff in the show notes.

So, so the very final final question is, is, is, uh, um, whether you’ve got a suggestion of someone I should try and persuade to come on episode. And what question you think I should ask them 

Rachel Morris: by intriguing? Yeah. Okay. I think you would put a couple of people as athletes that would, um, be intriguing and quite interesting from your point of view.

And then I guess it depends what angle. So if you’re a sports psychologist, it’d be quite interesting. Um, and for him it would be very much, I think, where is the, where’s the line in sport between sport and mental health and that person being one of the biggest ones in elite sport is that mental health is still seen as a weakness.

And so if people open up about it, um, which is a whole other show, and I’m quite happy to talk to you about that another time, but, um, that’s, um, there, there is this really big gap avoid if you like between, um, the mental health and how it gets looked at and pushing it under the carpet, because. We think you’re going to be weak as an athlete, if you’ve got mental health issues.

So therefore people they’re not asking for help and it becoming too late and tragically, that means some really tragic cases out of that. Um, and so I think that Mo yeah, one of my questions would be for them is, yeah, where’s that line. And how can we change people to understand that any sport that is not a weakness, and actually we can use that as a massive strength once that person’s able to manage.

Pooky Knightsmith: It’s a great question. Will you help me find the right person to, uh, to, to, to 

Rachel Morris: offer that question and have them on a field? That one? Yeah. Yeah. Thank 

Pooky Knightsmith: you. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today. And, um, w we’ll catch up, like, aside from this, 

Rachel Morris: thank you 

Pooky Knightsmith: so much for having me, but yeah, no, it’s been really, like, I always love talking to you and, um, you know, you inspire me so much like professionally, but also just personally, like you just, you’re just out outlook on life when things haven’t always been easy, but you always seem to find a way forward.

And that’s, I think really important sometimes it’s just about getting through the next minute, isn’t it? But so far you’ve always done 

Rachel Morris: that. So, and that is a re uh, people use it as a thing that they, it was just saying when things are really when your anxiety is that high or when something’s happening, that actually is that minute, the next minute.

And actually it is that it does get you through a day or a morning or an hour when things are awful and that’s what you do. So, yeah, I think you’re absolutely spot on with that one. It’s a great place to start and finish. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Any, any final thoughts from you before I stop recording? 

Rachel Morris: No, thank you so much. I just think it’s really interesting.

And I think what you’re doing with your podcast is great. It’s just about having people to think. And also it’s enabling other people then to link in with sort of support structures or answering, answering their questions. Really. It’s great. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Well, thank you. I will hit, I will stop recording and we will continue talking.