Note: This post was originally written by Kate Devlin, a friend of mine who helps manage the site and contributes posts about her life with multiple disabilities. When I transitioned the site to a new platform, she was not migrated over as an admin and user, and her posts now look like I created them.
Undefined by my multiple disabilities.
I grew up learning disabled and getting classified education. I also had a visual impairment. In my teens, I developed depression, anxiety, and scoliosis.
I was bullied for all mentioned, and much more. But I am a college graduate, and I did live on my own, for seven years.
I created a Facebook group called “Multiple Disabilities Peer to Peer Support Group”, a few months ago. That is how I met Lanie, the owner of this blog.
I created that Facebook group because with the additional disability of chronic pain that become a huge issue around 14 or so years ago, I felt alone.
It is hard to find a place you belong to, when you have complex circumstances. For example, I need to get out, with my bipolar (my depression and anxiety was redefined as bipolar in 2016). But I can’t work or volunteer the way I want, because of chronic pain issues. With having the visual impairment, I was stigmatized because of my white cane, and denied jobs (they didn’t cite that, but it was obvious). Without it, I would stumble and look drunk, which also caused issues for me, when on job interviews.
I even had to stop volunteering at a nursing home, because my medical issues prevented me from attending much.
I tried an adult medical daycare, but after a few months I need to feel like the 36 year old I am. I finally joined a day program that is focused on therapy for the mentally ill. I am typing this blog at there, now. I am so happy I found this place. It’s okay with them that I need time to go to doctor appointments, need to miss days, and need a comfortable chair, frequently. There’s even an art program here!
I can’t live alone, either. But after seven years of looking, I finally moved into an apartment I share with my landlady and a few others. I have an amazing home health aide I have many hours with.
If you are in the U.S., like me, getting on SSI or SSD is very difficult and takes up to 3 1/2 years. But it’s worth it! I live in poverty, but I am able to get what I need, after nearly at least a decade of research. It is possible in the U.S., to get what you need, with multiple disabilities, if you require the level of assistance I do. You just need to talk to EVERYONE that knows a thing or two, get connected with groups (both online and in person) that help, Google like crazy, get a social worker any way you possibly can, and have patience and hope. I very much look forward to talking to all of you!