The Cook Awakening

Archive for March, 2020

Your Unique Self

March 8, 2020
Posted in: Life on Life's Terms, Living with Health Challenges, Spiritual Practice

I have a few clients that are struggling with needing particular kinds of support in the world. Needing social or disability services that are not easy to get.

Many people have heard me say that the nuclear family is a failed experiment. This normalized expectation for us all to be “independent” is warping our humanity. I view the process folks have to go through to receive services as part and parcel of that. Folks have to “prove” that they’re incapacitated in quite dehumanizing ways to receive basic support. And, usually they have to prove it over and over again.

Given that many folks needing assistance are also living with a history of trauma that may actually be causing the need for assistance, we really have a system that is severely off the mark. A system that compounds the injury it professes to try to salve.

A couple of examples – if someone is suffering from TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), making them responsible for filling out complicated forms to receive assistance is cruel. To offer them assistance filling those forms out with a worker who is not trained to understand the needs of someone who is not neuro-typical, who is impatient or shaming, compounds the cruelty.

I have a memory, early on in my Lyme diagnosis and treatment, of a certain receptionist in my doctor’s practice. I had some fairly significant neurological symptoms — short term memory loss, brain fog, slowed down thinking processes. This person was sharp toned, impatient when I had a hard time remembering the names of supplements I needed to order, or putting together disparate pieces of information about my treatment plan. I remember feeling ashamed, and nervous about having to talk with them.