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    • #17539
      Jenny Livingston
      Keymaster

      October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month here in the US, and I want to spend some time here on the forum talking about different aspects of disability and employment.

      I got my first job at a little fast food joint at the age of 15. In the years that followed, I worked in a few other food establishments, briefly worked for a telemarketing company, and as an office receptionist before landing a “real” job in banking.

      In my late teens and early 20’s, I was relatively healthy. I was rarely sick and hadn’t required a hospitalization for nearly 10 years. After I had my daughter, however, things changed. I began getting sick frequently and needing hospitalizations several times a year. It can be hard to hold down a job when you’re regularly missing 2 weeks of work at a time (not to mention the lack of income during that time away from work). There were times that I was certain I’d be fired from my job due to my unstable health. Balancing a job and my health had become nearly impossible for me. I’d get sick, go to the hospital, come home, go right back to work and immediately become sick again.

      Eventually, in 2012, during a particularly rough hospitalization, my doctor approached me and said, “Something has to give, and it can’t continue being your health.” The next day, I called and quit my job (I offered to stay for a couple weeks, but my boss told me that wasn’t necessary). I applied for Social Security Disability, fully understanding that it can be a long and grueling process, but I was immediately accepted. That was the first time in my life that I thought, “Am I really disabled?”

      What is your relationship with disability? Do you identify with that label or feel that it applies to you? What has your experience in the workforce been? Has there ever been a time that you had to take an extended period of time away from work due to your health?

    • #17555
      Paul met Debbie
      Participant

      I have talked on the forum about my employment earlier, in this post

      https://cysticfibrosisnewstoday.com/forums/forums/topic/what-do-you-do-for-work/

      and also in this post

      https://cysticfibrosisnewstoday.com/forums/forums/topic/disability-employment-awareness-month-whats-your-story/

      I have never felt the label of disability apply to me. As all concepts, this one also is a choice for the pwcf to identify with, or not. Read about that here

      https://cysticfibrosisnewstoday.com/forums/forums/topic/i-keep-forgetting-cf-is-invisible/

      It is important to see who you really are. In order to do that, you have to take a good and honest look at everything you believe in when you say things that start with “I am ….”.  Most (or all) of these identifications are not true, at least they are not absolutely true, they only are based on a belief or conditioning that we picked up in our life, and we unjustly tend to generalize these beliefs. Letting go of those beliefs is very liberating. The best way to solve a problem is to stop causing it. There are no problems related to ones’ working power. Perhaps some practical challenges. But in either case, thoughts about this do not pertain to who we really are. We increase our happiness when we stop believing these identifications. So, why hold on?

      Let me illustrate. Currently, and since 2002, I am “without a job”. Now, is this really so? Well, I am without an official job. A paid job. Is that really so? Well, it’s only true if having a job or not is an important distinction. That is a matter  of conditioning and culture. For me, it’s not important. So the entire question and thought dissolves into nothing.

      Naturally, there are things to do for me. I wish there were more hours in the day.  I write, meditate, play the piano, listen to music, read, breath, eat, sleep, drink, dream, love, walk with our dog, am half of the relationship with Debbie (actually we both are all of it, it is inseparable), visit friends and family, take care of my health, house and body, cook food,  etc. None of these things define me, but nevertheless they are what is happening.  By itself. Happily. It is called Being. When I “had a job”, this was not different. It didn’t define me either. Other happenings, other balance, but same consciousness. Same happiness and Being.

      I feel very able at this. Am I disabled? Yes, if you only look at the limited concept of not being employed and getting an disability allowance. No, if you consider all the other things that I do all day. And even if I would do none of these things, I still wouldn’t call myself disabled in a general way. One cannot be disabled. Or abled. One can only Be. Everyone is very good at that no matter circumstances.

      This is freedom. Concepts and labels, like unemployment or disability, on the other hand are a prison and a lie. If there is choice, go for freedom and truth. And there is always this choice, it’s all in the mind.

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