Saturday, April 14, 2007

Don’t Say Disability

“You do well for a person with disabilities,” My father told me tonight as I had walked over to his house to take my nightly medications for my schizophrenia.

I cringed at him saying that and it bothered me for the rest of the night. I try not to think of myself as disabled. It is such a stringent term. When you think of disabled people, you think of wheelchairs, the blind, and the paraplegic. My disability is not readily apparent and I often get questions and blank stares when I tell others I am disabled. It is not like I have some large growth protruding out of my head causing my schizophrenia. Humans are such visually oriented creatures and can usually only see skin deep I have learned.

I then walked home to call Rosa, needing a friend to talk to. She answered her cell phone after a few rings. It was growing close to midnight, but I knew she would still be up watching television in bed.

“Do you think I am disabled?” I asked her, worried and self conscious.

“I think you are amazing for what you have to deal with,” she said. “You just need to act crazy as shit the next time they review your disability, though. I would go off my meds for a few weeks.”

I smiled. Rosa has a way of looking at the practical side of things. She can be my truth sayer at times.

“Can you work?” Rosa then asked me.

“Oh god, I can’t deal with all that shit,” I replied. “The social aspects of a work environment drive me even crazier than I already am.”

“Then you are disabled,” Rosa said. “That’s why you draw disability. I would say schizophrenia counts as a pretty major disability.”

“But I don’t want to be disabled,” I said innocently, sounding as if I were a child.

“I know, honey,” Rosa said. “I know……but you do so well though, so don’t ever quit keeping on. Get your disabled ass in the bed. I am going to sleep.”

I burst out laughing at Rosa’s jovial brusqueness. We hung up our phones and I let Maggie inside the house after she had a run through the yard to empty her bladder for the night. I do so dearly love Rosa as a friend. It is so nice having someone you can be so open and honest with. If only I could have had that kind of relationship with my ex-wife. We would still be married. Good night.


austere said...

Rankles, eh?
But Rosa's right and on the dot. And if I'm short and fat, then I'm short and fat, no pc about it.
Not very nice, I can understand that part about it.

STAR said...

I could really use a friend like Rosa right now at 3:05 in the am, your lucky to have her in your life.

Bint Alshamsa said...

I am also a person living with disabilities. I have been dealing with my schizophrenia for many years now. I can really relate to your feelings about having an "invisible disability". Sometimes I get the feeling that others think I'm a bum or just plain lazy because I do not work but that's just because they are accustomed to seeing the medicated version of me. I can't even imagine how I'd deal with the stress of having a job right now. I'm trying to get myself together enough to maybe take a few classes at the local university. I only need to finish about eight more classes which might be a breeze for some but it seems like climbing Mt. Everest to me.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. There are many people like us who are surviving day to day as best as we can. I think the fact that you are able to maintain a friendship like the one you have with Rosa is a very significant achievement, so kudos to you, my friend!

Feel free to visit my blog anytime. I write about a lot of disability issues including my life with schizophrenia, cancer, and lupus.

Cheryl said...

I'm glad you have someone right there, in person, to talk so honestly with. We just get the one dimension, although you paint it quite vividly. And you know your Dad means no harm. Still, it hurts.

I'm at work. Waiting for the day to pass. Hope it's a good one down down south. said...

Buddha says as u think so you are... Ur disabled only if u think ur...!!!

Don't worry ur self with what other say... ur old enough to decide 4 urself...

KYRIE said...

Andrew, dont be sad. U know ur dad loves u. However, I dont think u hv a disability. U are just trying to come to terms with ur illness. Ur at the crossroads of your life right now. Dont let ur illness get in the way of ur dreams or permanently cripple you frm pursuing ur aspirations (only thn will ur illness becomes a disability).
I know u will find ur niche, wht u want do with ur life. Nevermind, take it slow. Try to understand urself. Do some soul searching. Just never give up on urself ok. You deserve better!

fiwa said...

Just be who you are Andrew, and don't worry about labels. Who you are is a pretty great person.

I'm glad you have Rosa around to talk to when you need a friend.

Take care of you and enjoy the day -

Lynn Green said...

Good luck. You've got a tough row to hoe as we say in Oklahoma. Being honest and keeping your sense of humor are major weapons for you in this battle.

abbagirl74 said...

Rosa has proven to be a good friend. She didn't leave after you told her it was a "mistake". I think she is a neat little gal who can definitely hold her own. She is also a loyal friend who would do what she could for you. There aren't very many people in this world like that, and we all know money can't buy happiness. It can't buy a loyal friend like Rosa either. Tell her we all said hello and Thanks for being there for you!

Maja Kirstine said...

Dear Andrew,

I ended up op your blog by pressing the "Next blog" button, and I've enjoyed it very much.
Thank you for beeing positive and giving me hope.

Maja Kirstine

Jared said...

i also found myself on this excellent blog by using the "Next blog" button. i too have enjoyed your writting. keep fighting the good fight. you are who you are, that may be disabled it may not be, its up to you, they way u want to see it, i dont beleive u are, and neither do alot of good people commenting on your blog. keep it up

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C. R. Morris said...

I love Rosa! LOL And, the more I read your blog, the more I can identify with you. I should see the doc. I just see a lot of myself in you. When you said you couldn't deal with a work environment, same here. I choose to write, at home, alone... I'm happiest like that. Just me and my family. I'm socially anxious. ;-) Does it disable me? Yes. I think I need to do something. You are definitely opening my eyes since you have done something. So are you disabled? Eh.. maybe, but you stood up and fought it. I would instead call you a the moment, I would call myself a rambler! Excuse me! LOL Keep doing what you're doing and stay on those meds. Diabetics have to do it... right? Am I making sense? I rarely do these days. Sorry to blog on your blog.

ursusdave said...

It is very difficult for me to have to tell people that I survive on a disability pension. I have depression and anxiety disorders, but I usually only tell people about my degenerative back disease. I have two spinal injuries from vehicular accidents that weren't my fought but I got nearly nothing in insurance settlements--I would get what I deserved if it had happened today though, as we have MRIs now. But I usually walk real well and talk real well to people when I do get out of my house, so that makes me look like I do not have any disabilities.
You and I each would be doing so much more in our lives if it wasn't for our personal limitations, but many people don't realize how much better it is to be able to go to work and then lots of other places everyday.
I can tell by your excellent writing skills that you would be doing much more in life if you could, but because you do all that you can everyday you are a very valuable member of society. I sure as hell do not want your problems, but I don't wish that I had your mighty keen level of communication skills cause I accept who I am and what I can and can't do.
You do all you are able to and that is something that continues to do good things for many people all over the World Wide Web.

The Editor said...

There's maybe something wrong with my brain, maybe not. I'm not 'Disabled' but when I speak people tend to think I'm either permanently stoned or a half-wit, I can only make it up on vocabulary.

So there you are, not an official 'Disability' but not hidden either. In a way these things are like a filter for the prejudiced.

Alix said...

It's interesting that you use the term disabled w/regard to your schizophrenia. I have severe bipolar disorder, but I have never thought of it as a disability issue (not because I don't think what I deal with doesn't qualify, or because I think I am too good to succumb to that state). My bipolar has been very crippling at times, sometimes to the point of interfering with my job. But to claim this as a disability was just never something I thought about. In fact, it is the very action of going t work that gives me the day-to-day structure that I require to maintain an element of sanity. It's only when I return home to my house all alone does the bipolar rear its ugly head.

Since beginning a new drug, it has leveled off my manic highs which I so desperately miss. If you were to examine my blog, all of my early entries were poems that I thought really captured where I was in the moment. Now, with those highs being clipped I find myself no longer inspired to write poetry; rather I have written (sometimes lengthy) discourses on my disorder and its relationship to my spirituality. I invite you to examine by blog and make whatever comments that strike your fancy.



I saw your blog. It´s very nice. I´m live in brazil and my wife has schizophrenia too. We are living one day another, because this mental disturb. I´m not speak english very well - I just want to say hello!