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I’m not sure when the government will look at its disabled citizens and see us as people that deserve the same quality of life as everyone else.

By Jazmine Joyner I have been disabled for nine years, and I have been unable to work a 9 to 5 job for four years. Like millions of people around the world, I live with invisible illnesses like ME (aka chronic fatigue syndrome), fibromyalgia, tactile allodynia, and osteoarthritis in my spine. All these illnesses make it difficult to do daily things able-bodied people take for granted like showering, dressing, making food and driving. It wasn’t alway this way, as I get older my symptoms get progressively worse. When I was younger I could hop out of bed go for a run, shower, make myself breakfast and go to my part-time job. At times this routine would be difficult to maintain but even when it got difficult I was still able to go to work. When I turned 23 I reached a tipping point — one day while prepping for the department Christmas party I sneezed and dislocated my spine. Yes, a sneeze sent me down this downward spiral. I couldn’t walk and the injury sent my fibromyalgia and ME into overdrive. I had to cut back on work, and eventually, I had to stop working altogether. I lived with my mother at the time, there was no way I could afford to live alone on the meager pay I received working part-time. I tried to live on my own at 21, I lived in Atlanta while I was going to school full-time. I had to find a way to pay my tuition, all while trying to maintain a sense of health, and I failed. I got sick from the stress of everything, and couldn’t work or go to school. So I couldn't pay my tuition and I came home, deathly ill and with my tail between my legs. I have never been able to financially take care of myself. With my limited mobility and health, the capitalist society we live in wasn’t built with people like me in mind. I applied for supplemental security income (SSI) four times to no avail. I was told my work experience was lacking, that I wasn’t disabled enough for government assistance. With every letter, it was another failure to acquire the independence to buy my own medicine and attempt to take care of my own basic living essentials. My self-confidence dwindled and I fell into a huge depression that I am still fighting today.
Related: ABLEISM AND ANTI-BLACKNESS GO HAND IN HAND

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