“that destroys souls!” — Carlo, My Man Godfrey
Disability turns you away the first time. You have to document how, in my case, crazy I was, how unfit I was to be working. I got interviews from my friends, family and roommates. I read them. They all talked about me like I couldn’t do anything — which was true. Brushing my teeth was a win. I couldn’t afford my medication. I was a financial drain. I remember reading about me from my roommate’s point of view… I had no idea but every time we went grocery shopping I had an anxiety attack. I wasn’t even aware of it, but there it was in black and white. Disability turned me down — we hired lawyers and I won my case.
The awesome thing? I was able to heal. I didn’t have to worry about the cost of medication anymore, I could take it every day without worrying. I went to school. I took care of myself. I started to reset. To learn all the lessons you’re supposed to at that age. Without that support system I know I wouldn’t be where I am today.
I’m not on disability — my husband makes enough money that I no longer qualify for it. I’m still disabled. Somehow my OCD locked on to the thought that I had to make a certain amount of money a month. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I had so many alerts on my phone for jobs from home. (Most of them are scams, unfortunately.) I stopped cooking, I stopped doing laundry, I just sat collecting jobs and job leads. I went to bed reading about it, I woke up and read my newest job alerts. It was sick. I didn’t know how sick until my husband came home with the baby. They had gone to get her shots. She didn’t get her shots. My husband’s face was frozen.
She had fallen off a four foot table. The doctor said he could take her to the ER or watch her. A doctor or a nurse called me every hour — asking different awful questions like, “Is there anything seeping out of her ear?” We were told to take her in if she stopped moving any of her limbs, if she stopped smiling at us, reacting to us. We were told to wake her up in the night to make sure she could still wake up.
I said all the right, comforting things to my husband. I did all the things the doctor said to do. But, I knew I was empty. I knew I had to scale back on the job crap and get back to basics. Get the house in order. Find some peace within myself. Stop hunting jobs and thinking that I’m nothing, I’m nobody, I’m no good without earning as much as my husband does.
Elro is fine. And I’m doing better. I’m trying to focus on love, home, and family. I’ve spent a lot of time decorating for the holiday season.
The reason I share this story is that making money and having a disability — it’s problematic for a lot of disabled folks for a lot of reasons. Making money is complicated in our world. But! It shouldn’t be the center of your life, the center of your story — or ANYTHING to do with your WORTH.
You are worthy. As is.