As someone who preaches gratitude daily, it's really disconcerting for me to not feel grateful. But today (on a day that has "thanks" in the name!!!), I'm not feeling thankful. I've been depressed all week, trying to come to terms with a worsening disability that's crippled me emotionally and physically, emptied my wallet and forced me to seek government aid, and I guess that's contributing to my overall feeling of frustration and panic and discontent.
I'm upset because:
1. People say seeking welfare is lazy, the "easy way out", but they've clearly never had strangers comb through their financial records and quiz them on their illnesses, cried on the phone and explained they couldn't afford food this week, sat in uncomfortable chairs for two hours while staving off a panic attack, suffering through PCOS cramps and anxiously watching their diabetic mother's blood sugar drop dangerously low while awaiting a humiliating appointment with a caseworker who asks, for the hundredth time, why they need help.
2. I'm being blamed for my disability, because I'm fat. I'm being told I'm lazy (there's that word again!) and that if I had a little work ethic, maybe I wouldn't be in this situation. Newsflash: I was fat before developing my illnesses. Body size has little, if anything to do with health. And I am the most ambitious and hard working person I know: I started a business at age 18, have done press for Disney World, Osceola County's tourism board, Emilie Autumn and numerous events in Toronto, completed a certificate program in business at a prestigious university and overcame Selective Mutism and Clinical Depression, while educating others about mental health and illness. That's all before the age of 23. The problem isn't that I won't work; it's that I can't.
3. I can't work. I'd gladly study full time and work full time, like many of my peers are (often simultaneously). I'd mop floors and flip burgers. Gladly. I'd love to make a living and never ask anyone for a cent, ever again. But jobs are scarce. And jobs for someone with multiple phobias, Panic Disorder, and debilitating chronic fatigue and pain are pretty much unheard of. I'm working on that, but it's hard (to say the very least).
I'm just so tired of spending all my time doubled over in pain, sleeping, picking up prescriptions I can't afford and waiting for doctors to see me and tell me there's nothing they can do. I'm tired of other people, whether it's society as a whole, Internet trolls or aquaintences, telling me I'm not good enough, because I'm fat and poor and disabled. I'm tired of letting their opinions affect my self worth. I'm tired of being tired!
But... I'm thankful for my self-knowledge and insight that allow me to verbalize my feelings. I'm thankful that welfare exists (even if it's a somewhat flawed program). I'm thankful for the friends and readers who have stuck by me since the very beginning (2010!). And my goodness, am I thankful for green bean casserole!