Does my disability make me worth less?
So Christmas is done and dusted for another year. Decorations have been taken down and put in the loft. The Boy Scouts have collected the tree and recycled it. We’ve even managed to empty the fridge. Now wouldn’t it be lovely if I could just pack up my MS and store that in the loft for 11 months. Too bad, it’s not going to happen. I’ve got used to the MS and being disabled but I have a simple question. Does my disability make me worth less?
Believe it or not
I can live with double vision, endure the fatigue, cope with balance problems and survive the mobility issues. They have accumulated very slowly over the last 20 plus years. So it is fair to say that I cannot remember life without these disabilities and now they are a part of my life.
Think about it for a moment
The double vision and fatigue problems are invisible to other people, invisible disabilities. Mobility and balance problems are only visible when I try to walk or fall over. The solution is simple; don’t move about.
I have lost my independence
So I have double vision. For reasons that I completely understand I’m not allowed to drive a car. This one problem has two solutions. I’m either dependent upon other people to drive me to places or use public transport. Going to the local MS therapy centre, it’s only 11 miles away. If someone drives me there it’s only a 20 minute journey. Public transport is a different story, a complex two hour journey.
The biggest problem
These are minor irritations compared to being unable to work, earn an income and feel valued. Yeah I know those of you who work might possibly feel a little bit jealous.
Have any of you said “Oh I’m feeling a bit rough today and I don’t feel up to going into work. I’ll just take a sickie”. A phrase I’ve heard more than once.
New Year resolutions
I am not a fan of the silly promises that people make at the beginning of the year. If you’re going to do it then just do it. I am motivated to kick my Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) benefit payment into touch and earn a crust. This urge has been growing for several months. It’s not because I want to get up early, it’s because I want someone to value me.
Does my disability make me worth less?
Okay I am North of 60 and disabled but I am capable of learning new skills. I am educated with the ability to argue, discuss and form opinions.
Does my disability make me worth less? I suggest you ask The Wife about that one.
I am confident
She will say I am a valued member of the community. Does my disability make me worth less? Definitely not! All I need to do is dust down my old CV and add the new skills and find employment, but only part time please.
Easy eh? No, not very but I will give it my best shot. Anyone got any bright ideas? Let’s see what happens.
Feeling of being flattened by a Steam Roller
I was a medical professional for 30 years and took early retirement in 2012 because of my disability and thought I’d lose my identity – a very stressful time. Now I do various volunteering roles (mainly medical) and I love the time spent doing them.. I could write at length about my struggles – but I try not to think about them too much.
I’m glad I came across this website – very happy that you take the time to write about being disabled and improvements that can be put in action/ considered.
Thank you. Laura.
The website is my therapy. It helps me to deal with my problems and put them into perspective. I have also realised that others suffer the same problems so it helps me to put everything into perspective.
If earning is not your main consideration, have you considered training to be a CAB advisor? A retired friend has done this and feels it’s a life changer. Proper training and supervision and although the commitment is to only one day a week, her growing body of knowledge through CAB has opened several doors to both social and professional opportunities.
That is an interesting idea. I will Google that to find out more. I say earning is not my primary consideration but a financial reward or ‘salary’ helps to put food on the table. I only income is DLA and ESA and can earn up to my ESA income each week.
Sounds an interesting idea but CAB is voluntary work. Whilst earning is not my primary motive my only income is DLA and ESA benefits. I can legally earn the ESA benefit amount again and receive ESA and that would make a huge difference to my life, like £5,500 a year. So I would like to earn some money, who wouldn’t
If you knew the enormous gap in my life the passing of my partner has left – you wouldn’t ask. He had PPMS for a long long time. He was wheelchair bound, hoisted, needed to be fed and all the rest that goes with end stage MS. He remained cheerful to the end. No matter how bad he got – he had value. Huge worth. I would go back through the last 28 years in a heartbeat. Never, ever ask if disability makes you worth less. It makes you worth more!. This was my first Christmas and New Year without him. My hero.
Fantastic to hear though I am sure both of you had had moments of stress and difficulty. Sometimes society can make life vary hard for people with a progressive disability because it does not comprehend the problems people are going through.
I was diagnosed with MS in 2000 and by 2005 was unable to continue working as a freelance journalist and photographer so retired, aged 52. I am now in a wheelchair and try and keep writing = fiction. It doesn’t make money but it does give me satisfaction – when my health allows. Reading about others and their determination inspires me – thanks.
Satisfaction leads to a better quality of life in so many ways, I totally agree with you. I am not in a wheelchair but I can only walk with support such as a rollator so I am disabled. I took medical retirement in 2012 and I am struggling to come to terms with it plus I am dependent upon state benefits. I seem to have no problem filling up my days with activities but I do resent the fact that people assume I am a free/cheap resource.
I want to show other people that there is a life, opportunity to work and gain satisfaction despite being disabled. Too many people equate disability with inactivity
Oh, Patrick – I so feel your pain.
Someday soon the driverless car will solve the vision conundrum but…
Oh the driverless car. Suspect it will come with its own set of unique hoops to jump through
I have enjoyed reading your e-mails. I was diagnosed with MS in 2016 and share some of your frustrations and challenges. Your good humor and great attitude are always welcome. Good luck with your job search in 2018.
Thank you for the kind comments. Not too sure that I will end up with a job but it will motivate me to get out of the house, be more active and meet other new people.