What About Disability Rights?
To All Americans,
I’m terrified to grow up. But not for the reasons boomers may think. I am afraid that chasing my dreams will literally kill me. And I’m torn between living the life that I want and deserve and maintaining my health.
I will be completing my Master’s program in less than 2 months. I have a muscle disease, I recently found out that I have to have surgery, to repair a muscle that is too weak to work on its own.
As I’m sitting in the doctor’s office having my body pump full of toxic goo, I realize that I might lose access to my doctors, just because I want to get a job.
I have had terrible experiences with disability advocacy groups, and I never want to work with them again. I had one disability counselor threatened to cut off my access to my doctor’s if I ever left a program he worked in. Another disability counselor disregarded my diagnosis of PTSD, telling me that it wasn’t nearly as impactful on my life as my wheelchair use is. Working with these programs has made me realize how very few people care about disabled Americans. It’s terrifying to think that someone may choose between being healthy and being a functional adult.
I have maintained a high enough GPA in undergrad that I was accepted into graduate school. I’ve done seven internships and wrote for Coffee House Writers since the Inception of the platform.
I have worked my ass off to get to where I am. As of now, I will be graduating very soon. In addition to this, I’m using COVID as a chance to learn Italian and get my ESL Certification so I can make my dreams of going to Europe a reality. Still, if I make over $700, a month’s access to my needed medications goes out the window. How do they expect anyone to prosper if you can’t make a decent paycheck? Today I was told that if I made over $30,000 a year, I could afford medical equipment and medications that statement is not valid. The cost of a new wheelchair alone could be as much as a yearly salary for someone making $30,000 a year. I’m flabbergasted that this is happening in one of the most prosperous countries in the world. This country holds itself to be the pinnacle of freedom and equality. How can I justify treating people this way? Why take away someone’s chances at a good life so that they can survive sickness and maintain growth? I feel like I’ve been robbed by so many people.
I’ve been in therapy for about a year. I am currently working through a mental illness. I have an intense fear of being watched. I fear being followed and have a lot of trouble with relationships because of my past experiences. I have wasted a lot of time because of the position of the person who hurt me put me in. Not to mention all the people around me who didn’t believe me at the time. Even the teachers and authority figures who told me I was lying when I came forward.
I genuinely feel like I’m never going to get there. I’m never going to reach my goals because no one actually gives a damn about what happens to me. Simply because of my disability. America is not the land of the free. It is not the home of the brave. We’re in peril right now. I love being an American, but this country sucks unless you’re a wealthy white Christian man who is able-bodied.
Please wake up!
Keely Christine Messino