Despite having an invisible condition that can cause symptoms that complicate my life and are often unpredictable, I consider myself lucky that I can often hide my condition. While this in itself is an emotional struggle for myself and others with invisible conditions, those whose disabilities are visible struggle to find their place in a world where they are viewed as weak or even as freeloaders. For some reason, there are misconceptions that disabled persons have it easy and enjoy not having to work and/or receiving a government check. I find that this to be very sad and I hope that these words are a result of an ignorant society and not a society that deliberately points the finger at disabled people.
No one makes a choice to be disabled. No one chooses to be involved an accident that renders him or her disabled or to be diagnosed with a long-term chronic disease. From my personal experience and from others’ experiences, disability brings with it an enormous amount stress, and not just for the person dealing with the struggle, but also, for that person’s loved ones.
When a person has to apply for social security disability, he or she is met with a general misconception that he or she is lying or inflating the extent of their condition. Every person is considered a liar the minute his or her claim application makes its way into a disability office. Therefore, approval is not about whether they are telling the truth or not. It is about finding a way to deny a person’s claim. In addition to my arthritis advocacy work, I have, in the legal field, seen people who seek assistance from attorneys in order to appeal claims, while they struggle with emotional and physical impairments. More often than not, people lose their savings, their homes, and their livelihoods waiting to be approved for disability assistance. Isn’t it tragic that people who were once hardworking, productive and paid their taxes get this kind of treatment when they ask for assistance?
I do not believe that people want to be disabled or claim so if they are not (of course, there are exceptions). What I believe is that everyone wants to work hard and be productive. No one wants to live a life of pain or watch their loved ones struggle financially because of their inability to work. I certainly hope that people start to understand disability without having to live it. That is why awareness is so important. Join me today to blog about disability, how it has affected your life, and the importance of awareness.