You Wouldn’t Hurt Yourself

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had to endure first a quick walkthrough of my apartment by potential buyers of the property, and then a longer, excruciating inspection. Having confirmed that a sale is pending, I’ve started to worry about the prospects of needing to move—a cognitively confounding idea even without the fact that I’m currently dealing with a bunch of medical stuff.

The day before the walkthrough, I did a complete (I wouldn’t, per se, call it thorough) cleaning, which made me think a bit about something I’ve said before, both in blog posts and in therapy, about how I’ve pretty much established a consistently-maintained foundation of independent living, but its a foundation that can’t support anything because it takes all my available resources just to keep the foundation sound.

This new up-in-the-airness of my living situation made me think about making such a case to the powers that be in the disability process, and could only picture them responding that the solution is to do away with my living independently so that more of the foundation is maintained by others, freeing up resources for other things, like employment.

Resources, though, are not interchangeable. The resources it takes for me to maintain my foundation can’t simply be reallocated in some kind of master budget to some other line item. It takes different kinds of resources to do different kinds of things. That short job placement through Vocational Rehabilitation a few years back strongly suggests that I simply do not have the kinds of resources necessary to work.

I kept thinking about being made to stop living independently. I tried to project myself forward into what that life would look like, for me.

It felt like every single anxiety—actually, fear—response at my nervous system’s disposal flared up at once. It a bit felt like dying. It a bit felt like maybe dying would be better.

In the rare moments my brain glances off that idea (and, to be clear, I’ve never before had my nervous system light up at just stray thoughts, or “passive suicidal ideation”) there’s a clear strain of my inner monologue that plainly states that I’d never actually hurt myself.

Thinking about losing my independence, though, my inner monologue didn’t say that this time.

It lasted all of ten minutes, and then I was on to other, mundane day-to-day things, but it starkly contrasted to…well, to any other sensation I’ve ever had. I am not, as a general rule, at all sanguine about my future. Even obtaining disability benefits would leave me woefully short of the financial part of maintaining my foundation.

Still, this is the only time my inner monologue didn’t seem to have a counter-argument. I’ve lived independently for decades. I can’t go back.

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Bix F.

The unsupported use case of a disordered*, mediocre midlife in St. Johns, Oregon—now with added global pandemic and climate crisis. Read more.