Productivity Shouldn’t Measure Worth:

In America, the more you achieve, the more worthy you are. I am currently 22 years old and unemployed. Cerebral Palsy makes finding employment difficult. I have filled out hundreds of job applications in the past three years and still haven’t found a job. Cerebral Palsy is a barrier to employment. Employers don’t hire me after finding out that I am disabled.

As a teenager, it was hard to watch my peers get part-time jobs. I wanted to work on the weekends. I wanted to save up for college, but I was unable to. It was hard to understand why I envied my peers who worked at fast-food restaurants. As time passed, I realized I was jealous that my peers chose to work.

This has only gotten harder as I’ve grown up. In college, I felt unwelcome at the career center. I was discouraged when I discovered that I couldn’t intern with a publishing company in the summer because the office is inaccessible. I began to wonder if I’d ever find a job after that. Three years later, I’m still unemployed.

Living with a disability can feel like a full-time job in and of itself. I must constantly deal with bureaucratic systems such as health insurance to live my life. I have to order prescription refills, schedule doctor’s appointments and hire PCAs. It’s exhausting to live with CP every day. I spend lots of time at home because I get tired quickly. Fatigue is frustrating to me. Adults should be able to go out with their friends at night, and I can’t.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to work full time, and that’s okay. Not having a job and receiving Social Security benefits makes me feel worthless. I never want to be seen as lazy, but I’m afraid that receiving SSI and other assistance might make people think I’m lazy. SSI allows me to pay rent every month, and I’m grateful for that.

Living with Cerebral Palsy is a challenge every single day. I do the best I can. I’m only human and need people to be patient with me. Everybody has challenges in their lives.

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