Patient Contributor

Barbara Stensland

Barbara Stensland is a writer, blogger, building project manager and part-time PhD student. Originally from Scotland, she now lives in South Wales, UK.

Overview

Published
8 Articles, 1 Video

Since 2012, Barbara has written a blog about her life with MS, her son, who she refers to as The Teenager who is now at University, and anything else that randomly popped into her mind. She recently completed an MA in Creative Writing at Cardiff Metropolitan University and has decided to put herself through the trauma and sleepless nights once more, this time embarking upon a PhD in the same subject.

Her book, ‘Stumbling In Flats’ was short-listed for the International Rubery Book Award 2015 and her Master’s dissertation novella was short-listed for the 2017 Exeter Story Prize.

In her spare time, she can often be found bingeing on Netflix box-sets, hanging around cafes ‘for inspiration’ and soya lattes and meeting up with friends who have supported her from the very beginning. Oh, and she likes expensive candles and gift shops in museums.

A brief history with the condition

I began experiencing symptoms of MS in 2011 and was diagnosed in 2012. My MS began suddenly, with no warning, so my entire life was turned upside-down. Not only did I lose my partner, I also lost my job. I was dismissed for being a ‘liability’, so as well as coming to terms with MS, I was having to fight a tribunal for unfair dismissal.

I won the case and since then, I have become a passionate campaigner for disability rights, particularly in relation to MS. In 2017, I was a finalist for the MS Society’s Campaigner of the Year.

My symptoms can often hold me back – the fatigue, foot-drop, balance issues and walking problems, but when I am well enough, I keep trucking on. It is never far from my mind that my father died in 1978, aged 35, of MS complications. I am so fortunate to have accessed treatments and support that simply were not available back then.

In Spring 2016, I was asked to be the MS advisor for the short MS film, ‘Spoon Fed’, starring Lesley Sharp (Scott and Bailey, The Full Monty) and Joseph Mawle (Game of Thrones), and I also had a walk on part, as did my book.

I have also recently become an #IAmEmbolden Ambassador for Disability Wales, focusing on encouraging more deaf and disabled women and girls in Wales in to further education.

As well as taking part in academic research for several organisations as a patient representative, I write for numerous websites and companies and I have been interviewed by BBC Wales and BBC Radio Wales on the topic of disability. I have also been profiled in many newspapers, most notably campaigning against taxi drivers who refuse to take short fares and the inhumane Personal Independence Payment system.

Published Articles

MS and Summer: When The Living Isn’t Easy
3 mins
article
Barbara Stensland

MS and Summer: When The Living Isn’t Easy

MS Fatigue: Not an Excuse to Sleep, But a Reason To
3 mins
article
Barbara Stensland

MS Fatigue: Not an Excuse to Sleep, But a Reason To

Talking it Over: The Power of Counselling
3 mins
article
Barbara Stensland

Talking it Over: The Power of Counselling

MS in my Future: Would I Have Wanted to Know?
3 mins
article
Barbara Stensland

MS in my Future: Would I Have Wanted to Know?

My MS Novel: How Writing was my Salvation
2 mins 18 secs
video
Barbara Stensland

My MS Novel: How Writing was my Salvation

Rebuilding a Better Version of You
4 mins
article
Barbara Stensland

Rebuilding a Better Version of You

Yes I Have MS, But I don’t ‘Fight’ It
3 mins
article
Barbara Stensland

Yes I Have MS, But I don’t ‘Fight’ It

 9 Things No One Tells You About MS
4 mins
article
Barbara Stensland

9 Things No One Tells You About MS

I Love Getting Ill – Let Me Tell You Why
3 mins
article
Barbara Stensland

I Love Getting Ill – Let Me Tell You Why

Connect with Barbara Stensland