Unst(able)

Let me dispel a little ableist nonsense I saw on the internet a few nights ago.

It involves a quote that says, “I hate it when people say, ‘must be nice.’ I’ve worked my a** off to be able to do the things I do and have the things I have. You chose to be where you’re at.”

Key word here? Able.

To say anyone would choose severe mental illness, or any other disability for that matter, is presumptuous and privileged at best. If the playing field were leveled, that would be one thing. In reality, it’s not. I didn’t choose this life. It chose me through an unfortunate combination of genetics and lack of access to proper medical treatment.

These quote implies that I’m lazy. I’m quite the opposite. I work very hard to stay employed, manage my own care, and manage the care of my son. For many, many people, life is a series of struggles. And it’s all a lot of us can do to stay afloat. A vast majority of people don’t care if you’re disabled in this country, or simply choose not to acknowlege it.

Must be nice.

Must be nice to never have suffered so much that you no longer wanted to live. Must be nice to have adequate insurance. Must be nice to not have to jump through hoop after hoop to get medical coverage and care for your child.

It would be nice if it wasn’t such a bureaucratic nightmare to get assistance in this country. I’ve dealt with social security for my son for the past year. We are just barely above the threshold for actually receiving any aid for his disability. Because in order to qualify for any form of assistance, you have to be destitute. I have actually lost money by applying for social security on his behalf. Because I have to print out paystubs and mail them with a tracking number to make sure our social security numbers aren’t compromised. That’s $90 in shipping costs alone. Not to mention all the time and effort it took to apply, and the time it takes to call and sort out the communications they send.

So even though I am also disabled, I continue to work. I continue to advocate for my son’s health in any way that I can, even though it involves many hours of red tape and paperwork. I will likely have to work until I drop dead of some stress-related condition. Random lottery win isn’t much of a retirement plan.

And the sad thing is, compared to a lot of people in this country, I’m doing relatively well.

A lot of life is bad luck and happenstance. In light of how many people are truly suffering through this pandemic, I would say that the attitude prevalent in the quote smacks of a deep lack of empathy for other people. So I would encourage those who post it to pull their head out of their hard-working a**es. No one is saying hard work shouldn’t be rewarded. But to imply that because you are “able,” people who are “less than able” don’t deserve to lead a good life? That’s utter bulls***.

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