Lately, my depression has been getting worse. I can’t help but feel like I am lost right now. Four years ago, I felt like the world was my oyster. I had gotten into college and did well academically. I was excited and planning for my future. I never thought that Cerebral Palsy or my mental health would hold me back from accomplishing my goals.
In November of 2019, I began to look for work. I wanted to make money and save to live in my own apartment. I assumed it wouldn’t be difficult for me to find a job. I quickly learned that employers didn’t want to hire me because of my disability. I couldn’t get a job at a supermarket or a fast food restaurant. Nearly three years later, I’m still unemployed.
It’s hard to view myself as a productive member of society. I don’t have a job, while many people my age do. I receive disability benefits. Society looks down upon people who receive public assistance. I am embarrassed that I need Medicaid, and SSI.
I also rely on Medicaid, so I can’t make too much money. Without Medicaid, my home care would be more than $50,000 annually. I couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket for my care. I have no choice but to stay within these programs’ income and resource limits. Needing help with activities of daily living doesn’t mean that people can’t work.
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned my life upside down. I was struggling with anxiety and depression before the pandemic. Staying home for the past two years has taken more of a toll on me than I thought it would. I still feel uncomfortable when I am in public. I am nervous about attending college in person again this fall. I hope that I enjoy college again and get my motivation back.
I don’t want to give up, but staying optimistic is sometimes hard. Cerebral Palsy shouldn’t make me feel like a lost cause, but it does. People with disabilities shouldn’t be forgotten. Everybody is worthy, and offers something to the world.