When I Feel Guilty About Being Unemployed Because of My Disability
I am pretty certain I am not alone in having a case of “unemployment guilt.” Living with a disability is a full-time job for many people, and fighting our bodies every day so we can semi-function is not nothing. It is a daily struggle, and we have to face pain many could never dream of. I am not saying this to garner pity. I hate for people to feel sympathy for me. I am just spreading awareness.
Please do not say “it must be nice not to have to work.” It does not help our case. As a matter of fact, you are making it worse. Also, please do not say “I think you should be doing something.” I realize most people are trying to help and mean well when they say these sorts of things, but they do not understand and probably never will unless it happens to them. As people with disabilities, we already struggle with dependency issues and people bringing up things they have no clue about makes this sting even more. Yes, I am disabled, but I am also human and would love to contribute to society like “normal people,” but I am not able to. I wish with all of my might that I could, but living with chronic nagging pain conditions like bone on bone arthritis and hip dysplasia on top of cerebral palsy make this impossible for me.
I am a writer. I consider my contribution to society to be an important one. I write for myself, I write to spread awareness, and I write to help people. Sure, it may not be the “typical job,” but isn’t that the whole point of dreams? No matter how silly or absurd they seem to others, if you believe in them with your whole body and soul, you should chase after them. My talent as a writer makes me happier than you will ever realize, so I am going to continue to chase after it, regardless whether a ton of money comes as a product of my success or not.
Staying home is not what you perceive it to be. It is not always joyful. It can become boring or tiresome, especially on bad pain days when you are forced to take it easier. I have my routine just like everyone else does and can be very productive when my body will allow it. I may be disabled physically, but I have feelings and emotions just like everyone else. I often feel guilty for having to depend on others to live because I feel like I can get in the way. This may seem silly to those of you who love unconditionally and do not mind helping, but for me it is a whole different story. I do not like asking for help, but there are some instances in which I am forced to do so. It hurts my pride. Most people want to be known for their self-sufficient and strong foundation, and when you have to rely on others, this part of you can feel left behind or severely delayed.
I understand others becoming concerned about isolation when you are in constant pain and not able to drive. But the truth is I’ve become used to my routine, and it is not as lonely as you would imagine. Writing is a solitary job, but by sharing my pieces, I am giving the whole world a new lens to look through.
You don’t need to feel guilty if doing what’s right for your body means not working. The next time someone attempts to say you should be “doing something,” remind them you are doing the best you can with what you have been handed, and most importantly, remind them to be patient. We are only human, after all.
Getty image by Kjekol.