People in Poverty: A part of the general population of a given area, who do not have adequate resources to live fully independent lives. These people tend to need help in the areas of Food, Healthcare, Education and sometimes even cash benefits (as in TANF-Temporary Aid for Needy Families). Also a part of the general population that many people discriminate against, make unjust assumptions about, and have attitudes that cause those in a state of poverty shame.
This was my definition. I didn’t look it up. I spoke from my heart and my experience. My family is poor. Am I ashamed to say that? A little. Am I ashamed when I pull out my electronic benefits card (EBT- not sure what the T stands for) to pay for purchases of food, or other things because we collect TANF? Yes.
I am mentally ill. You all know that. I have recently added personality disorder to my ever growing list of mental ailments. So that would be major depressive disorder, severe, recurrent, treatment resistant; OCD; PTSD; Trauma; Severe Generalized anxiety disorder. I can not work. There are days I can’t leave my house.
My husband is sick. Do we know exactly what’s wrong with him? No. He has seen so many doctor’s but it always ends up the same, herniated disc at L5S1, some sort of cyst on his S2 vertebra, desiccation of the L4 disc. Fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, major depressive disorder, and I can’t remember the rest of the list. But it’s long.
My husband first became sick in Oct 2013. He continued to get worse until June of 2014, when he was working at a car dealership as a mechanic and almost dropped a mustang off the lift. It was at that point he realized he shouldn’t be working. His exhaustion and pain were too intolerable. He went out on short term disability, and eventually lost his job.
We looked at the bright side of it, and he started his own business in January 2015, and tried really hard to run it all alone for 2 years 2 months. He was successful, turning a profit each of those years, however, the pain and exhaustion worsened, the depression at his situation worsened, he herniated the disc, and in March of 2017 decided he couldn’t keep up and he closed the business. This was a blow to us. Financially of course, but also emotionally. I still tear up when I drive by the place, or think about the stack of business cards he has.
Today he went to see a new rheumatologist. She was rude, condescending, unaware of his medical history, and made snap assumptions. Just because she never received a copy of his two most recent MRIs she basically told him he was a liar. She told him that “chronic pain” is subjective and he should go back to work, and work through the pain. This all within minutes of meeting him. He feels she looked that he was on medicaid, and out of work and therefore poor and lazy. She said he doesn’t have fibromyalgia despite the fact that she didn’t even examine him or do the pressure point test. Despite 4 other doctors diagnosing him with fibromyalgia.
To say I was angry about this appointment is an understatement. But there isn’t anything I can do about it. There is nothing he can do about it. I am so sick of the rhetoric that vilifies the poor. We are not all lazy, free-loaders. Some of us are fighting physical or mental battles that you can’t see. You all know what they say about assumptions….
We are still waiting on the decision for disability. We’ve been waiting for almost a year. I know this can be a long process, but after today’s visit we are discouraged and just want this all over.
I know I have said it before, and probably a lot lately, but this is not the life we planned for. Not the life we imagined when we were two young starry-eye kids planning their future. Never did we think we would be poor, we didn’t imagine to both be disabled in one way or another, we didn’t imagine so many things.
We are trying to adapt, to find new dreams, but it’s hard in the face of the adversities we have encountered. We are trying to just trust in God and His perfect plan. But when you are kicked repeatedly and you are already down, it takes it’s toll.
And for me that looks like indulging in one of my three compulsions- self harm, spending money we don’t have or compulsively eating. Today my drug of choice was self harm. The insides of my lower arm are carved up. Im not sure why physical pain helps when I am hurting so badly, but it does, for a little while. And now a several hours later, the anger has subsided some, but a deep rooted, soul-crushing sadness has overcome me. I wish that we would catch a break, we need it.