The threat of becoming homeless

My fellow-Hippo and I don’t have a huge amount of money, like most people don’t have. I do not consider us poor, but we couldn’t live of our own money. Because of our disabilities and chronic illnesses, we can’t work, not even 2 hours a day. There seems to be this image to people blessed with being able to work and healthier bodies than ours, who think that this is like a vacation. Who wouldn’t want to get paid for doing nothing? Well, me for example. And it is not like the real situation at all. Because of our age and school/work history we fall into this gap. There is a lot of discrimination against “people like us”, as you might know. Because of this stigma that says we deserve this ‘punishment’ and that we are lazy, it’s hard to get any kind of financial support from the government. We have a little bit together, but they might take that away, just like they took away the financial support from my fellow Hippo, just because they are trying to save money. Let’s say that we have 500 dollars a month, which I’m not saying that we do, I’m just giving an example. All that money would be spend on rent. Then we still have insurances, taxes, food, electricity, treatments and medication that isn’t covered and a lot more stuff. And no things for fun, which are very important for your quality of life. The experience of living instead of surviving. I think it helps against (the risk of getting) depression too (please note: you can get depression when you have things in your life that other would consider luxury or fun).

I don’t consider us poor, because sometimes I can do something fun, which I know a lot of people can’t. Our rent goes to the health care provider, because we rent our home from them. They get a lot more money than just our rent, because they get thousands a month for our health care (which they don’t provide). We’re stuck, because we can’t afford to move. If you want to move to social housing, you need prove that you have a salary, which we don’t. And the rents are usually higher than 500 a month, which if we have that amount a month, then we still need more for food and other basic needs. But we need better care, which we won’t get as long as we live here. And we can’t live without care, it is not a luxury for us. But a house is one of the most important things you need and it is way more difficult to get than you might think.

We have been homeless, my fellow Hippo and I. And when I was a child I sometimes had to sleep on the streets, because it wasn’t safe at home or because I was kicked out. I really don’t want to live on the streets again, but we can get kicked out any moment and we have been living like this for many, many years. Frankly, the stress every day is just too much really. I want to have this big bag stuffed with things in case we need to leave asap. Because of the contract we had to sign, we can be kicked out the same day for no real reason. They’ve already tried it many times and I’ve been able to stop them so far.

When you are in need of daily care, there are not many options to live in a home. Usually uou have to live in an institution or hospital or other group (please note that relationships are usually not allowed, so my partner and I would have to seperate just to get a roof over our heads). I’ve lived like that many years and I don’t want to live like that anymore. I’ll write a blogpost on that too some other time. Sometimes I think: everyone is allowed to live on their own, but somehow we aren’t. And without an address, you can hardly do anything. What is one of the main things you need to fill in on forms? Your address. Without a roof over your head, you can’t have a bank account, or insurance, or get financial support, or get health care etc. Etc.

Sadly, most people don’t recognize the urgence of the situation, like when my fellow Hippo was homeless. Kicked out of his house, because his parents didn’t want a disabled child, because the disgrace was too much for them to bear??? Nobody would give him a home, they would say: he has parents, he can live with them. Or: he should change himself so he can follow their orders etc. Etc. They just wouldn’t understand. But it is possible that you are kicked out by family for good. And that you can become homeless. And it is so difficult to get help once you’re homeless.

When I see someone who seems homeless, I really want to help them. I want to bring them to my house and let them stay there, but I’m not allowed to do that (if I do that, I will lose my roof). And so far the only person I was willing to lose my roof for, was my fellow Hippo. And if necessary I will do that again. We will stay together, no matter what. I just really hope it won’t go that way…

Why I won’t be a mommy (at least for the time-being)

I enjoy mommy blogs. I feel like I can relate to the situations they describe, which is weird (maybe) because I’m not a mother, except to maybe some pets. Ok, I’m still very young (21 years old), but I’ve actually already given a lot of thought about motherhood for several years.

People usually respond odd when you say that you don’t think you’ll have children. They might even say it’s a selfish thing to do. It’s almost like a duty you have to perform, which was true in the distant past, but not anymore. We even have too many people on this Earth.

I know my partner and I aren’t the only ones, who don’t have children on purpose. It’s a very conscious choice we make and I don’t think I’m selfish about it. As for my reasons; I don’t even count that my partner and I might be both infertile. And that I won’t be able to deliver the child “naturally”.

I like children (unless they cry or scream because that physically hurts me), my partner doesn’t like children at all (don’t worry, he isn’t mean to them if he encounters them). My partner and I both had a … Bit of a crappy childhood, so to speak. I don’t want that for my child. Sadly, there are too many dangers in this world. So many things that can make you miserable for a big part of your life. I don’t want that for my child. We hope and believe in a good world and I keep striving for that. But we’ve experienced too many bad things, that we want our child to never experience. Things we can’t prevent if it would live in this world…

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[Picture of a woman with a baby in her arms and next to her the text: Being a parent is a privilege not an obligation, some people need to learn the difference.]

That’s not the only reason. I want the best for my child. My partner and I are both physically disabled and have (serious) mental problems. It wouldn’t be a good situation for a child. I can’t even care for myself and I don’t want my child to be my ‘nurse’ and make food for me – instead of the normal way around. Or burden it with my fears, or suicidal periods of me and my partner. We don’t have the right support system for ourselves and definitely not one to raise a child. We don’t have money and no  certainty of a house. We don’t have a degree (yet) and can’t work.

I’m not saying you can’t raise a child if you don’t have a lot of money, or have mental issues or are physically disabled. Or that I would disagree with your decision. Absolutely not. But we personally think it wouldn’t be right for our personal situation.

I don’t think it’s a selfish choice I make, because I make this choice for my (unborn) child. I think it’s better and would be happier this way (I hope you can follow my weird thoughts). I want to protect my (unborn) child this way. And I’m not saying that it would never change. If our situation would change in a positive way, maybe then we will. But for now, we do this. And I wish people would respond a bit less harsh, if this topic comes up.

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Interview about my dream job

This is a translation of this blogpost, made by Sas from ‘I live for my dreams’. You can find my previous blogpost about this interview here. I have translated this blogpost/interview so all of my readers can read it. I’ve tried to translate it as literally as possible.

Dream job #17: Mel who despites a disability gets the most out of life.

You all replied to my post “I’m looking for you, tell me about your (future) dream job”. It’s amazing to read all the inspiring and different stories and see the enthusiastic emails pouring in. What is this column about? I let you have your say. Which is unique, because I only did guest blogs once before. I share a lot about myself on my personal lifestyle blog, but would like to hear about your future dream job or about the dream job you already found.

Mel graduated from HAVO despite her disability and is now doing a self-study VWO. She has a lot of interests and is trying to find or create her dream job in this way. Mel tries to adapt everything so she actually can do and accomplish things. I immediately had to think about the sentence: thinking in possibilities and not in disabilities.

 

First, tell me something about yourself. Who are you and do you have a blog?
I am Mel, 21 years old, I love animals, exercising, photography and doing other fun stuff. I have an English blog: enabilityblog.wordpress.com. I blog about things that interest me or things I come across, I actually blog about everything and nothing. I hope I can spread some awareness about different illnesses that I and other people have (amongst other things). I also like to learn things and by writing and not only reading blogs, you get more interaction, through which I can learn more from others. I live together with my boyfriend/partner who also has (physical) disabilities, which is why we can understand each other very well. Because of my disabilities I can’t just do everything, but this doesn’t stop me from trying everything and adapting everything, so that maybe I can do it after all.

Which studies did you do?
I am currently doing VWO. I’ve actually always done this, but it was increasingly difficult for me to attempt school and eventually I couldn’t go to school at all. That’s when I got my HAVO diploma a few years back, as an insurance, because my disabilities have been progressive till now and thus my health continues to decline (and secretly also because of my fear of failure).
I can’t go to school in a ‘normal’ way and actually do everything through self-study. It takes me twice as many years to complete a study and I also need other adaptations, such as adaptations for tests and special furniture. Last May I did and passed a couple VWO exams. I hope to fully complete my VWO study this school year. After that I’ll hopefully go to university. I have a lot of interests, so there probably is a study that fits me and my disabilities J

Which jobs did you have in the past?
When I was young and the disabilities weren’t (too) bad I did a lot of volunteer work and also different things. But it boils down to helping animals and helping people (including people with mental or multiple disabilities). I really enjoyed doing those things. I also had a ‘real’ job for a few months as a waitress in a restaurant. I couldn’t walk or stand anymore (amongst other things) so I had to quit.

What is your current job?
At the moment, I don’t have a job and I have been fully disqualified. I’m busy with school and I hope I will be able to work (a bit) in the future.

What is your dream job?
I don’t have a dream job right now. There are multiple things I would call a dream job, but I would also like to look realistically at what my qualities are and what I can’t do or aren’t very good at. I think I can develop a dream job this way, simply by itself. I also think there are multiple ‘types’ of dream jobs. Such as ones for which you use a lot of imagination: as in you have magic, you can do absolutely everything, what would you do. But also more realistic dream jobs: something you might actually be able to do in this world.

I, myself, am more occupied with goals and wishes than with dreams, because I found out that dreaming without boundaries makes me unhappy (because reality is simply different with my physical disabilities). But I have plenty of wishes (and you could see my wishes as dreams) and I certainly also have (high) goals.

What is the most important thing for you in your dream job?
I think the most important thing is state you enjoy it/that it makes you happy and that it gives you a meaningful feeling. Balance is also very important for my by, so the dream job has to fit in a life in which you need a lot of moments of rest (amongst other things).

What advice would you give my readers for finding their dream jobs?
Look at the things you like to do and which things you find important (such as doing something ‘meaningful’ and what does meaningful mean to you? For example helping other people). For the rest, I would advise everyone to listen carefully to your own body, to prevent overworking yourself during your search for a dream job (or if you already found it). I made that mistake and in the current society it seems to happen more often. But we all exist out of more than work and we need our body longer than that.

I would like to sincerely thank Mel for this inspiring interview. It’s beautiful to read how you’re trying to get everything out of life and find/create a realistic dream job. It’s magnificent to see how open you talk about your disability and how you handle it. You are a real persistent go-getter! I want to wish you a lot of luck with your education and your future.

Dark thoughts: Is rape a lesser crime than murder?

What do you think? I’m just not sure, whether torture or rape (which is, in my opinion, a form of torture) is less than murder. Rape and murder “changes” lives and usually not only the one from the victim. It can both end lives and it is both unwillingly. Sometimes, when I feel very bad, I think that rape + murder would be better for the victim (such as me). Almost as if that is more merciful for the victim. Because now I’m and will be punished for life. You can never truly forget it and that can really bother me sometimes. Rape is just so horrendous, you can’t imagine it unless you’ve been through it. Even then it can still be different and I do not mean ‘less awful’. It could have happened multiple times, maybe multiple people, maybe outside or inside, maybe with a gun to your head etc.

I think you can never truly imagine how it specifically went and felt for the victim, except for the victim. This makes it harder for the victim to “process” and to get the proper care and responses and everything else you need. On the other hand, that might be better for our loved ones. My partner is very emphatitic, I’ve never experienced someone who can imagine it so well as he can. And this can really eat him up, damage him too. It’s awful to see that, but we agreed that I still can talk about it (even in detail) when I feel the need, or when it’s necessary (when I’m cropping everything up and avoiding everything etc.).

I think I can never fully decide on which is worse. It partially depends on my mood of course. I’m not always thinking this dark. Overall, I’ve improved a lot and am hardly depressed anymore, which I wrote about before. Somehow this week is different, but I’m still not feeling depressed every day, which I’m very happy about. I’m just in one of my regular fallbacks and I also know how this one got triggered.

Back to the subject, I’m sorry for going off topic. The question whether rape is truly a lesser crime than murder, popped into my head because I read something. Apparently there was once a game made, which was called Rapelay. I really don’t want to get into details a lot and I wish I never came across the page about controversial video games. I think you can imagine what it is about, but it probably is worse… Let’s just say that it’s a game where it is your objective to rape. Thank god it got banned, after 3 years or so. But the makers of the game defended against the ban by saying that rape is a (far/much) lesser crime than murder and there are many games in which you kill. I think it is different for a video game if you shoot a few pixels from a distance or torture/rape them in excruciating detail while having plenty of options to do so and having to make every movement. But I actually didn’t want to write about game violence and which one is worse blahblahblah (which doesn’t mean that I think it’s unimportant, it’s just not what I’m focusing on right now).

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[Picture of a campfire and the text: What’s worse rape or murder].

What do you think? Is rape a lesser crime than murder? Might it sometimes be better for the victim if he/she would be killed afterwards? We probably all know the tv episodes/movie scenes in which people “jokingly” say that if the other person is going to rape and murder them, if they would please do the murdering part first. Which makes it sound as if dead is better than being raped. And I don’t mean that all rape victims should kill themselves, or if anyone should for that matter. I’m just theoretically wondering, it’s not something I want to actually put in practice. But sometimes I think I (and not only me) would have been better off killed (in this case I mean by someone other than myself).

Suicidal thoughts – reflection on the past

I was inspired by this post written in Dutch, to think about how my suicidal thoughts/tendencies felt. In this post she challenges you to write about it. It’s not something you easily speak about and I can imagine it might be helpful to know more about how someone really feels or thinks at that time. I’ve had severe depression in the past and have been suicidal for a very long time. I’m very glad I can say ‘in the past’, although I have to admit that sometimes I still can become a bit suicidal or depressed. But that’s nothing in comparison as how it used to be. In the past I could never feel any positive things. The most positive feeling I could get was emptiness with a slightly less negative undertone. I would do things that would be fun, but couldn’t feel it. Now I can and I’m very grateful for that. However I’ll have to keep practising to not slip back.

Usually I become down when ‘bad things’ happened and I’m put on a lot of stress. Things I partially don’t have any influence on, such as school and things doctors or my supervisors/nurses decide (we live ‘protected’) but are bad for me. Another big factor is when my body is/I am exhausted. It’s difficult when you’re unable to do anything (not evening listening to music) to keep up the positive thoughts. Especially when I became exhausted because of something ‘small’, such as 1 hour at school. I also hate it if I make my partner feel bad, which usually happens because I overreact on something someone did and I become (a bit) paranoid. That I can become paranoid quicker than others is part of my PTSD. I find it difficult to keep my emotions under control, but so far haven’t found a therapist/supervisor who can really work with me on that.

When I’m down, suddenly all the positive feelings I might have had are gone. The prevailing feeling is a negative emptiness. Although I’ll have ‘breaks’ of anger or sadness or anxiety too, but the negative emptiness will remain. I see no future, or at least not a good one. My head is being flushed by thoughts/images of all the bad things that have happened to me and might happen in the future. I intensely feel how bad my body is and how I’ll never be able to do all the things other people can (seemingly easy) do. Which is not how I look at my disabilities usually. I want the suffering to end and I don’t want to live anymore. I can’t take care of myself anymore, don’t want to either, because there’s no point… I can’t feel anymore how I used to think before this state (which is positive). I don’t believe that I thought like that, I don’t believe or feel that there can be good things in life too. It feels like I was confused when I was positive. It’s just all gone.

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[Photo of a black/dark flower with raindrops on it. The photo has a black/even darker background.]

What has been different since I’m together with my partner, is that I’ll tell him I’m feeling like that. Which usually starts like: Can I cut myself? Or something like that. That’s a good thing, although I’m not there yet. I still wait too long (for example an hour), because I should say it immediately when I’m starting to feel worse, before I reach this state.

My partner helps me to get through these moments and he can cheer me up again. When it’s starting to fade, I can feel I don’t want to actually die, but just want the suffering to end. Soon, I realize I don’t want to leave my partner. He’s the best thing that ever happened in my life and I love him so much, I can’t hurt him like that. That’s when the tears come and I’ll feel intense guilt, because of my extreme selfishness. With him I might have a good future. Like my partner said last time when I asked if it would be worth it for us two to keep living: we’ll make our time on this earth together worthwile.


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Forgiveness? Part 2

A while ago I was wondering about the topic forgiveness. Is it necessary for healing to forgive an abuser? I was confused. Many people were ‘blaming’ me, because I actually didn’t agree with this saying. Those ‘conversations’ would hurt me.

I talked a lot about it with my partner. Thankfully, he and I have the same opinion on this matter. He would reassure me. I’ve also come across several blogposts from people sharing my opinion. Both my partner and the posts helped me a lot. It made me realize that I’m not the bad guy for not forgiving everything.

There might be things that you can’t forgive. We say everything will be forgiven and a person can’t be as bad as his worst deed. This might be partially true, but it’s also our hope. Our hope when we do something that we regret, we won’t have to suffer forever. However, whether something can be forgiven or not depends on the abuser and the survivor. And not everything has to be forgiven. I know, we actually don’t want to hear and know that. But there are horrible deeds that can’t be forgiven, especially if the person keeps going like it afterwards. Has no regret at all and would do it again immediately when given the chance.

Sometimes I can forgive people after a short period of time (for example 1 day). Sometimes it takes several years. And I think there might be some thing(s) I’ll never forgive. This doesn’t bother me. I was confused and were hurting myself, because I wasn’t forgiving everything. I thought it bothered me that I hadn’t forgiven everything, everyone for the massive amount of (sexual) abuse they gave me. But that wasn’t true. I realized that I was bothered by the people blaming ME. Making me the bad guy, saying I would be worse than the abuser, because I wouldn’t simply forgive everything, everyone, all the time.

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[Drawing of a person sitting on a bar stool with all sort of knives, needles and scissors in his back. Next to the person is the text: Don’t blame me for my trust issue!]

Some people might need to forgive everything to heal. But I’ve discovered that I’m not one of those people. I can’t say if it’s the same for everyone, but I think that eventually everyone can do this. I think people confuse ‘not forgiving’ with ‘ being angry about it every second of my entire life’. Which is clearly not the same.

I really don’t understand the people who say so many hurtful things to survivors. Just because they don’t understand what they mean, what they feel and what works best for them (which only the person itself can know). All I can think of is that those people don’t want to truly think about it. Truly imagine it and most of them probably can’t imagine it completely, even if you would tell them in detail. I’ve talked about that before on my blog. Realizing that helps me. It helps me with letting go. Because it’s not always me or my fault. Some people are just, well I don’t know a good word to describe it.. But I’m pretty sure you understand what I mean. They are dumb in a certain way and mean. They are very narrow-minded. And you can’t change someone. You can guide someone into changing, but only if they are willing.

My partner can imagine and understand everything from my abuse. It’s a blessing and a curse. It really helps, because he doesn’t even need words from me to know what’s going on and help me. And at the same time, seeing him hurt so much, because he can imagine it so vividly… I understand why people wouldn’t want that. They might hurt almost as much as the survivor when it happened.
But still, a bit more compassion and imagination from some people, wouldn’t hurt me 😉

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[Image of a smiling Spongebob with his hands in the air and a rainbow coming out of his hands. Below him is the word: Imagination.]

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Bad boy: listening to your ‘gut’

I was inspired to write this blogpost by This post written by A momma’s view as a guestblogger for Mental break in progress. For a while I was thinking about writing a blogpost about this subject, from my own experiences. But I didn’t start writing it actually down – I have this problem a lot. Reading this guestpost gave me a boost to write this post of my own.

As a PTSD ‘patient’ with tons of negative experiences with people, I’ve been taught that my gut feeling is a bad boy. “It’s too negative and wrong, always, don’t even think about listening to it for a single second.” I had to trust people more, ‘professionals’ said to me. They didn’t understand all the terrible situations I’ve been in, many didn’t even believe them.

I don’t think I’m the only one, who was told to ignore your gut. I feel like this has been going on in our society for a while now. We want to be rational, because rational is ‘good’. Rational is ‘true’. Feelings are too vague, you can’t rely on them. That’s what ‘they’ tell us. But this isn’t true.

Yes, I have PTSD and I have way too much anxiety about way too many ‘silly’ things, compared to a ‘normal’ person. Humans like to believe we live in complete safety. Now, I don’t want to scare anyone, but this isn’t true. We don’t need survival skills as much as we used to back in the day, but we still need them more or less depending on the situation you’re in.

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[Image of a drawn girl with a face on her dress saying: hey, I have a strong opinion about this. Next to the girl is the text: Listen to your gut].

I think we should shed some positive light on our gut feelings. Gut feelings safed countless people, prevented lots of bad situations. I’ve ignored my gut feeling too many times and it put me in very bad situations. Recently, I’ve been learning to listen to my feelings again, especially my gut.

I feel like I can already determine wether it’s my gut or pure anxiety speaking. Especially as people known with anxiety, it’s important to not just throw our gut away. We learn to  not listen to our feelings, because of our anxiety and because of that we can’t do certain things. This doesn’t mean that your emotions or feelings are always wrong. Sometimes, we need to be cautious and our body and mind can help us with determining those times.

I want to apologize to myself for discarding my gut for such a long time. For undergoing situations that I could have avoided, if I had listened. Still, I shouldn’t give myself a hard time now. I learned from it. Even though I have ‘mental’ issues, I should still trust my mind, I can still give it some credit. You can too.

Please, listen to your body and your mind. We need to have a fine balance between our rational and emotional side.

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