It may seem like a no-brainer, government programs and financial help are created so you should take advantage, right? No, not for me.
MS symptoms can mean that you lose some degree of your independence and you can no longer do everything you used to do. For example, I can no longer take long walks on the beach with the the one I love. Sounds incredibly cheesy, I know that, while also being an incredibly real scenario for me. It can also mean that you cannot go to all day functions, without appropriate planning beforehand, of course. Sometimes life just doesn’t make that easy. How about a vacation, going to the airport or even the grocery store. Do we really need to plan for how long we can shop or go out and have fun? It’s exhausting. Exhausting, but necessary for me and many others. How about writing every detail down, all of your plans with dates and times and locations. Yup, I will most likely forget it without writing it down within 5 minutes. It is like the conversation never took place and it’s lost in the abyss of my brain. When you have to live like this, you find a way to do it while smiling. Couldn’t it all be far worse? An MS diagnosis does not make it okay to give up.
With that being said, I do not think ANY of this should be taken lightly. Not for me, the person going through it, or the people I am closest to. I was recently involved in a conversation where someone had the opinion that the government provides funding for persons with certain disabilities (SSI), so why shouldn’t a person take advantage of it? A diagnosis of MS alone doesn’t make it ok to give up, it can look so different from person to person. As someone who has been told on numerous occasions that I am no longer providing a company with the level of support they need, I have not chosen to take advantage of certain benefits ‘just because’ they are there. I have taken a long look at my personal situation and my family, evaluated what I can do today, analyzed how I can improve my situation and my future while moving forward with those goals in mind. I am fully aware that my situation can look so much different, for better or worse, 5 days, 5 weeks or 5 years from now.
It may look like receiving SSI is the best decision for you and your family right now, but it does not limit who you are or how you can contribute to society in other ways. It is my belief that you do not ever give up and surrender to the disease, letting it change who you are and what you can become. It is just something you have. Don’t let it have you.