Name: Stephen Roche

Social Media Handle/Username: Instagram: @steviearo / Twitter: @Megastevier

Introduce Yourself/Tell About Yourself: Hello there, my name is Stephen, and I come from a small town in the south-west of Ireland. I’m 27 and work in the area of copywriter/Digital Marketing.

Sadly, I have a form of arthritis called Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) which affects mostly of the lower back, the SI joints, but also other areas. Symptoms came on when I was about 23, during my last year of college. Over the years it’s had a huge impact on my life, having to judge what I do, when I do it, and most importantly can I do. I’ve gone through various kinds of medication, and I’m currently on daily ones while taking steroid injections every two weeks.

Aside from that, I have three wonderful pets in my life, and a lovely girlfriend who understands my condition, which I feel is important because it’s something that can have a huge impact on a relationship.

Covid has been hard because just like everywhere else, Ireland has been in lockdown and restrictions. Truthly, my dog, Jasmine, saved my life. I got very down, and my anxiety was sky-high, but she made me get out for a walk everyday and I’m so thankful for her.

I run a horror blog, and have interviewed many filmmakers and writers. I love asking them about their work because I find all the different processes interesting.

I have a few poems published, and even have a writer’s account – @srwriter – where I share my poems.

I haven’t allowed the arthritis to totally get me down. Sometimes, well mostly, it wins, but I also do too. I won a Munster (one of four provinces in Ireland) title in mixed doubles tennis and it was one of few times I was truely happy since my life changed with the arthritis. The other was meeting was wonderful better half, Shannon.

I love my music, and researching different artists. I listen to mostly indie/folk and put time to the side so I can find new music and support them in the way I hope people would support my work.

What Inspires You Every day? : To do more than yesterday. Even if it’s just a tiny bit. It counts a progress. People sometimes view progress as huge strides forward, but even a simple step forward is one question closer to where you’re going or what you’re doing.

So, don’t give up. Keep going, even a tiny bit. I do daily exercise for my arthritis. Some days I do 15 minutes and then do 30 minutes other days. It’s still progress.

What is some words of wisdom you live by?: Take inspiration from others, but never compare yourself to where they are in life. We’re all at different stages in life.

What is your ultimate goal in life? : I’d love to have a full collection of poetry published, and a play published, but if I’m being enthusiastic, have it shown on stage. I’m working on some short film scripts so finding a director for those would be great. I love my job, and I love creating work, so having people read my poems on a website or in a book / having someone watch a play of mine on stage or a short film I wrote on YouTube. Everyone wants to make money, and while that would be great, somebody telling me they enjoy my work is enough for me.

How have you been during the pandemic and how has it affected you? : I was okay at the start, but when Ireland went into a second lockdown, it hit me harder for some reason. Maybe it was that the restrictions came around Christmas and continued into the winter. Recently I’ve become very uninspired and haven’t worked much on my poetry and scripts. It didn’t help that my arthritis got worse in the summer. But I’m surviving.

What is a message you would like to give others? : Just keep going. I know it may be hard. Sometimes I feel like giving up, but I’m still here, and grateful that I am.

Also, if you believe in something, be it a poem or a song or a script that you wrote, or anything else, keep going. Don’t let anyone shoot down. Those who shoot people down were once shot down themselves.

What else would you like to tell others about you or your life?: Just a few of my hobbies. I love collecting things. I have over 300 postcards collected from around the world, and 8 flags! Haha. Yes, the flag collection isn’t as good.

I’m a very open-minded person, and don’t look down on people regardless of their background. I love making new friends to find out about people’s lives and their stories. We all have a story to tell.

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