Hey, guys! As promised, here is a little peek into some of the struggles I went through with my disability during my hiatus from my blog, as well as some sad news about one of my wheelchairs.
The sad news is that on Christmas Eve two men from the government came to take my electric wheelchair, Ruby Electromite, away. I’ve talked about Ruby before during my Fun Wheelchair Facts and Stories post (Fun Wheelchair Facts and Stories – The Wheelchair Teen). It’s probably hard for someone who’s never had a wheelchair before to understand just how much they can mean to their owners. Not only did I have so many memories attached to Ruby, she was also synonymous with freedom for me; with the feeling of tearing down pathways at top speed with the wind in my hair while my mother struggled to keep up behind me, with the independence of traveling for miles without getting tired or having to stop, with exploring and being able to do so much more than I can in my other manual wheelchair. It’s difficult to describe just how much that wheelchair meant to me.
I cried when I heard that they were going to take her away and I cried a lot on the day they did it too (why did it have to be Christmas!). I’d had Ruby for seven long years. Luckily, my father kept a licence plate for me to remember her by. Although it was sad to say goodbye, that sadness soon turned to anger once the disability centre told me she shouldn’t have been taken away in the first place. Long story short, it was a formality that shouldn’t have been enacted. Without an electric wheelchair, I am unable to travel far from home to do things like visiting the library or going to the Language Café near where I live. It greatly restricts my freedom.
The disability centre phoned the government to see if my wheelchair could be given back to me but it was too late, they had already dismantled her ☹ So I’ve had to be re-fitted for a new one and they’re going to have to re-make all of the specific adjustments that were made for me on my old chair. The process to get a new wheelchair is a very long one but hopefully it’ll be here in time for summer.
Getting Turned Away
The beginning of the year was extremely tough for me. I suffered from depression about two years ago and it felt like a relapse. Depression, obviously, is extremely serious and I desperately needed help.
The first psychologist I saw was recommended to me by my general practitioner. I sat down with her for a meeting and explained everything that I was going through and how much I truly needed help. She said that she doubted that she would be able to give me the psychological support I needed because she didn’t know anything about disabilities. I found this to be a little weird since none of the mental issues I had presented to her had anything to do with my disability – but fair enough. She recommended a different psychologist to me and I sought them out instead.
The next psychologist had an internet entry form so I filled out the relevant form on their website explaining again what I was going through. I debated whether to mention the fact that I was disabled in the form but couldn’t see the harm in doing so. After a month, they responded with yet another rejection for the same reason – my disability. Fine. This time I tried a psychologist who only supplied psychological help for disabled people. I had to wait another few weeks before the appointment. After a long, emotional chat with her, I discovered that she was a truly delightful woman. Unfortunately, she said that she didn’t think that she could provide me with the help that I needed because my mental problems weren’t enough to do with my disability.
This was the last straw for me. Three rejections from different psychologists in a row. All the while, my mental state was deteriorating further and further. I couldn’t take my own thoughts anymore, it felt as if I was reaching a peak and I didn’t know what would happen when I hit the top. I desperately needed help but no one would give it to me, I didn’t know where to turn or what to do. I felt truly helpless.
It seemed as if some of the professionals I visited couldn’t see past my disability and weren’t truly listening to the actual mental issues I was telling them that I was going through (made clear by the fact that I was turned away from a disability professional who said my problems didn’t have anything to do with it). When you have a disability, I think people often assume that must be part of your distress, and even if it is a little bit, you can still talk to me like I’m a normal person about it without having specifically studied disabled people. A little help would’ve been better than no help. I was in an extremely dark place and it saddens me that the first two professionals I saw weren’t willing to help throw me a rope.
I never received the psychological support I needed. The kind disability professional I saw recommended someone else to me and is still checking up on me to make sure that I get the help I need. If I decide to sign up to see this other recommended psychologist, I honestly don’t know if I’d tell them that I’m disabled. Things have finally started to feel a little better though thanks to the support of my family and friends. Thank you also for all of the incredible support I received from my readers after my return to blogging last week. Every message and comment truly means so much. When was the last time you felt an emotional attachment to an object? I’d be interested to know in the comments below. See you next week!