Yes, I’m one of them

I was talking to some friends about some tough decisions I need to make about benefits. One of them said, more than once, that I might need them for a while, but those benefits aren’t meant for my “demographic.” They’re not for people like me. But the thing is, they really are.

I understand why she said it. We both grew up in middle class families in the same middle class neighborhood. We both went to college, then graduate school. We both got middle class jobs. We followed all the “rules” and now we’re supposed to have our happy middle class lifestyles. She is a stay at home mom. Her husband earns a very large salary. She has that middle class lifestyle.

I don’t.

There’s an idea that benefits are meant for other people. The people who aren’t middle class. The people who don’t have jobs. Well, as it turns out, that’s me.

Those benefits are for people with physical and mental illness. People who can’t work. Yup, me again.

People think they’re for people who are older. But they aren’t. They’re for people of all ages. Including people in their 30s like me.

My friend means well. She tries to understand. She is one of the only people in my life who knew me before I was sick, and she understands my health problems better than most. But she can’t accept that it’s permanent because she doesn’t want to. It hurts her to think of me in pain. I get that. I feel the same when someone close to me is in pain; I pretend it can’t be serious or permanent, even when it obviously is. That’s how she feels about me.

But it doesn’t change things.

So yes, I’m one of those people. The other ones. The ones who aren’t us. Except sometimes they are. Sometimes they’re one of us. Sometimes we’re one of them. It doesn’t matter if you grew up rich or poor or somewhere in between, whether you got advanced degrees or didn’t finish high school, you can be too sick to work. And when that happens, benefits like food stamps, Medicaid, and section 8 are helpful. Even when we don’t want them, we need them.

Like it or not, we’re one of them.

6 Responses to Yes, I’m one of them

  1. joyfullnoise says:

    Well said! ❤
    I too am an accomplished person – but due to things beyond my control (disability, pain, migraines, etc) … I too am in a similar boat. I sucks but I am thankful it's there and I know that I paid in my dues over the years before I got to this place in life – and that is why it's there.

  2. Karen J says:

    I *still* have a hard time getting my head around “making use of what I’m eligible for” – for all those same reasons, CR!
    {{{hugs}}} and Holiday Blessings (of whatever flavor you choose) ~

    • chronicrants says:

      Thanks Karen! Happy holidays to you, too! And I hope you can wrap your head around it in time. I’ve found that for me, a bit of time helps, and so does talking to other people who are also young and disabled and in need of these services that they didn’t expect to need. *hugs*

  3. Lorna says:

    Benefits are for anyone who has a need at the time, There should not be any social stigma attached to it. After all, money doesn’t grow on trees and we all need it to live on. I am grateful there is a system in our countries that supports ill people.
    Hugs xx

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