Creating my own social capital

Creating my own social capital

Is this building social capital?

Social capital is happening all the time around us. Reading this blog is social capital. Just being with other people gives you social capital. I expect you’ve already gone to Google and typed in those two words, billions of hits. Now I am creating my own social capital.

Creating my own social capital

I won’t be writing a serious ‘slit your throat’ blog post. You should know me better than that by now. Instead I’m going to give you a few observations based on my life, experiences and living with multiple sclerosis. It’s all about my life since 2012. In nearly 7 years I have learned so much. Guess what, much of it involves social capital.

Life changing event

I used to be a freelance or contract computer analyst programmer who worked all over the world. In 2012 I retired for medical reasons. This event turned my life upside. For the previous 16 years I led a nomadic life working all over the world.

So there I was …

Living at home 24/7, I had no job so no income, my friends were my wife’s friends and I’m disabled. Double vision had put an end to driving years earlier. I had no support network and little chance of a job: this equated to a zilch life style. To put it bluntly I now had no social capital.

Building social capital

“Well what can I do?” I asked myself. “First of all tear up your CV ‘cos it’s no use now”.

The Wife, as helpful as ever, said “Go to the Job Centre and see what benefits you can get”. She added “I’ll drive you there”.

This didn’t add to my social capital at all but at least it provided some essential money.

I sowed some seeds

I saw an advert for business networking in a local cafe so along I trundled not knowing what to expect. Boy, was I in for a surprise. Stand up for two minutes and introduce myself and my ‘business’.  I had just started this website so I decided to call it a business. Subsequently I became a social networking junkie.

After a couple of years

I discovered the world of the service user, interviewing people to be nurses. My MS consultant asked me to give 20 minute talk on ‘Being diagnosed with MS’ to pharmaceutical companies and other neurologists. Slowly I was developing a new life and building up my social capital. Now I have fingers in lots of pies

The other side of the coin

Recently I was talking to a disabled woman with a really whizzy wheelchair that I was admiring; it can be connected onto an E-bike. The conversation moved onto social capital.

‘I know fully able people who have no social capital’ she said. ‘They are IT people who work at home and stay in their jimjams all day. Never go out of the house even to shop, they order everything online. They have no life’.


I looked at myself and looked at the woman then thought to myself “We ain’t doing too badly. Disability isn’t necessarily a hindrance but it can make things mighty difficult”.

My life for the last 7 years has been creating my own social capital.

Associated Articles

quality of lifeQuality of life






A Letter to Multiple Sclerosis






November 2018


2 responses to “Creating my own social capital”

  1. Peter hider says:

    Very positive and uplifting Patrick, I too will not allow my diability to rule my life, when people ask how I’m coping my answer is always ” frustrated but pleased with my achievments” Many people can do more than me, others can do less, just do what you can and feel good about yourself.

    • Hello Peter,

      Yup, I agree, I agree. Often its the people with a disability who are more positive. They are aware of the need to keep going and do not allow the disability to rule their lives.

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