Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The System

The American Government is equipped to assist those with disabilities. They offer a monthly stipend, which may or may not actually be enough to survive. They provide medical care, limited but positively better than nothing. I can even get a placard to make public parking easier. Unfortunately the system doesn't have much in place to assist those whose disability impairs them from using the system. That is, reading and understanding fine print, making my way out of the house to sit in the bright, loud local office for a few hours, even just sitting on hold with a condescending and occasionally loud-as-hell automated representative tends to end with me crying and frustrated.

I'm learning, though. I now have a list anytime I need to have a conversation with a worker so i don't forget anything. I also write down any important information to make sure I remember it all and that it makes sense to me. If I get emotional, I apologize and ask for a minute to compose myself. They are really understanding, usually. If all else fails, I leave/call back/ask for help without feeling shame. I refuse to let myself feel shame for having this weakness. Shame is self-destructive and a waste of time. I still feel it, but my logical side is relentless, even in the face of irrational and pain-driven emotions.

It's taking me a lot longer to get all of my benefits than it would have if I was healthy, but if I was healthy... Yeah. So, I continue on, feeling like the hare burdened by the tortoise's shell, or like Charlie in Flowers for Algernon towards the end, painfully aware of his disabilities. I'll get it right eventually, it just takes time, patience and perseverance.