So, I talked to my mom.
How is it that she says she’s not trying to hurt my feelings or attack me, but I end up sobbing anyway? And while I’m on the phone, not afterwards. Mom said “it’s all a hot-button topic with you, but we need to have a plan” while I blubbered away. We talked about me going on disability again, and what the plan is, where I’m going to live, if I’ll be stable enough to work, if I’m not even really all that stable for a weekend out of my normal comfort zone.
I tried to explain the things I talked about in yesterday’s post, and I think I was fairly clear. Mom’s complaint from this visit is that I have an expectation for others to do things for me, which continues to play into the ongoing lazy theme. I came downstairs on Sunday and my sister was putting things in the trunk, and she wanted to put my bag on top so it was easy to get out when we got home, and so I tossed it down and said “there you go, have fun playing Tetris” and I was JOKING but I also had to go get the cat box cleaned out, and the litterbox clean, so while I would’ve put my bag in the car once I’d finished gathering all of my things, it turned into A Big Deal. Again.
I did point out that it seems like I always try really hard to meet expectations and there’s still something that’s bothering mom after I visit, EVERY time, but that didn’t get addressed. It bothers ME that I am never good enough and I always get complained about once I leave. Mom again said she wasn’t trying to attack me.
So why do I always feel attacked in these conversations?
I said that the reason I’ve been dragging my feet about applying for disability, is that even if I do get it, I fall into a big catch-22 that robs me of my autonomy. In order to get into most of the assistance programs, I have to have a case manager. So I will end up a client at one of the agencies in town, with a case manager who’s likely younger than me, and doesn’t really care because it’s an entry-level job, and I’ll know more than they will, but I have to get their stamp of approval to get my needs met. It’s going to limit the amount of doctors I can see, to doctors that are burned out, who are overworked and underpaid. I’ll be stuck with providers who are just working there until something better- and private- comes along. I’ll be on wait lists for ages to get a crappy apartment in a bad part of town, to be on food stamps and shamed at the store, to be on Medicaid and not have any choice in what providers I see because there are so few in the area that take it, and if I do get well enough to get back to work, the entire thing is ripped out from under my feet. And if I lose that job, I have to start all over again.
I just want to be normal. And I know, nobody’s really “normal” and all that, but I would like to be able to go to work every day, to be able to remain employed, to be able to do fun things and spontaneous things. I want to just be like my peers, who are able to come and go as they please, who are moving up in their places of work, who are falling in love and getting married and having kids. I went to college, I got a degree, I’ve worked really hard to get to where I am, but my future keeps getting darker by the day.
I guess I just want the American dream that my friends and family are all achieving. I had gotten close but I don’t think I’ll ever get there.
And that’s why going on disability, seems like a failure, because it’s resigning myself to a fate of living at the poverty level, hoping for some scrap of autonomy, when my life will be determined by politicians who want to dismantle the system rather than making it more robust, by doctors and other providers who are underpaid and overworked and just don’t have it in them to care anymore, by case managers younger than me who are living the dream I once had. Where my reward for getting work again is a good swift kick in the face as all of my benefits are taken away and I have to fight to get them back if I lose that job again.
So I sit here and wonder, if it’s worth it to keep fighting, to keep applying for jobs and interviewing and doing my best to stay stable and sane. If this is the future I have to look forward to, I’m not sure I want to stick around for it at all.