Unemployment, Disability and Disappointing Myself
I have always avoided writing about this aspect of my life because it feels uncomfy to share, but it has been weighing really heavily on my mind and I feel like I need to just get it out so it doesn’t continue to stress me the hell out while I’m also dealing with a lengthy post-holiday flare and the return of my period after 6 years (long story for another time).
Despite what anyone looking in from the outside sees and believes about me, I have always been someone with a strong work ethic. I have two extremely hard-working parents and although there were times when we were less comfortable as a family, we were always comfortable. My personal goal for my life was to become comfortable with the ability to take care of them after they retire as well. At least a little. They gave me so much, so why the hell not, right?
My dad is less than two years away from retirement now, with Mum not far behind. But my dream of being able to support them is becoming less and less likely. I know that my current state of health is making me dwell on this more than I have before, but it’s been 18 years since I’ve been in gainful and long-term employment. It’s taking its toll on me.
I know I am never going to be able to work a proper job again. I keep thinking I can during a spell of somewhat decent health, but as soon as those flares hit, I’m like “No employer or client is ever going to put up with this…”. I keep starting project after project that I think might work out as a source of income, but they are quickly abandoned when I remember that consistency is key and even now, with my ADHD treated, I realise I simply cannot be consistent.
I know social media is all about showing the positive side of things, but whenever I see chronically ill people doing well, seemingly making a reasonable amount of money, I can’t help but feel as though they’re faking their illness because there’s just no way in hell they can manage to achieve what they do if they feel anything like me. I don’t even think I’m THAT disabled, but apparently, I am.
I am extremely blessed to have a husband who, although I know would absolutely love to be in a two-income household with more money to spend on board games, is willing to support me if I am doing what I can to contribute. But what I can do just doesn’t feel like enough a lot of the time, and it looks bad because I can always seem to muster the energy for things like a four-day holiday in Spain or hours of colouring on my phone.
I know I am a valuable person in so many ways. I’m smart, I care a lot about others and am willing to help in any way that I can (even if that way is not physically helpful), and my dogs are especially grateful for my existence and don’t give a fuck that I’m disabled. But I don’t financially contribute, and that’s something that most people get to do. Even if they don’t reach the lofty goal I had of contributing and then some.
Now my goal has shifted to just earning minimum wage for maybe 20 hours a week. But the options on how to achieve this are so limited that I just feel stuck. I cannot work a regular, scheduled job. I cannot work for myself as a freelancer (for clients) due to the rules of freelancing here in the Netherlands not being disability-friendly. I can start a business, and it’s something I am currently looking into, but it’s still a process and extremely draining.
It always breaks my damn heart when I see people commenting about how they’d love to stay home and do nothing all day when I would give anything to be able to work like a normal human being. Even half of a normal human being would be good. It would be easier to accept my disability if I had access to one of the most defining things in the (capitalist) human experience.