From the fall of 1987 to the summer of 1990 I collected a government disability check and received Medicaid. I lived below the poverty line. For two years back then I lived in public housing.
These earliest experiences changed me forever. They’re the root of why I have compassion for those of us who are less fortunate.
In fact I know plenty of people who collected so-called “entitlements” when they needed them, and got off the government rolls when their situation in life changed.
Alas, the myth persists of “lazy freeloaders” collecting entitlements forever with no intention of bettering themselves.
Only other people should understand that for a minority of individuals holding a job and obtaining employment isn’t possible.
I’m aware that there are those of us with a diagnosis or disability who have a passive resistance to taking initiative to get a job. They are the exception not the rule.
I wrote You Are Not Your Diagnosis for people who have the desire and ability to work at a job and have a career.
Today it’s possible to stop collectingt SSI or SSDI for the rest of your life.
Today it’s possible to do what you love on and off a job.
Today it’s possible to have your own version of a full and robust life living in recovery.
I’m committed to serving people who want to recover.
My story offers hope and can empower people:
Within 3 years of getting the diagnosis, I stopped collecting government benefits and obtained my first job as an administrative assistant. Seven months later I moved into a studio apartment near the beach.
The wind-up of this story is that you’re not doomed to a life of poverty, unremitting welfare, and joblessness or homelessness when you have a mental health issue.
Wherever you are on the road of recovery whether just starting out or in your older years it’s possible to find the job you love.
The Occupational slice of the Wheel of Wellness should fit into your goals and personality.
I will in coming blog entries talk about a method of finding the job you love and would be happy to go to every week.
I detail this method for achieving occupational fitness in my own forthcoming career guide You Are Not Your Diagnosis.