I have finally completed my application for CPP disability benefits (Canada Pension Plan). As part of the contract with my long term disability "supplier", I have to apply for CPP. I began this process in early April. Part of me didn't want to apply because it feels as if I am conceding to the disease...or at least admitting that something awful took me down two years ago. I don't want to be part of an association between MS and an inability to work. That is not the face I want to give this disease. But...it is the reality, for me.
I have been unable to think clearly, constructively, continuously, and completely (heeheehee this post has been brought to you by the letter "C") when filling out the application. Unlike the "focus on your strengths" life mantra, the application focuses on what you can't do...your limitations.
So I called in Ladyfingers to help me. We have spent much of the past month analyzing and writing. Ladyfingers went through this process herself...more than once. The process has been like writing a sad memoir...I blurted out words and descriptions, and Ladyfingers made it all make sense.
Yesterday, I put the last thoughts to the keyboard. I had to describe my limitations regarding my personal needs. As I re-read what I had typed, I was hit with a wave of sadness...for myself. I realized that I have been living like this for two years, and I no longer think about the specifics. It was just the way I do things...it's how I deal with day to day life...I no longer do things like everyone else does. The whole application was full of sadness!
This is what I wrote:
Personal needs: I eat very slowly. Food gets stuck in my throat. Chewing also makes me tired. When I shower, I hold the wall to steady myself. When I get dressed, I guide my right leg into my pants. A couple of days a week, I lie down after my shower because I am fatigued and/or dizzy. I used to spend time after the shower styling my hair and/or putting on make-up, but I don’t do that anymore.
But somehow, I have gotten used to the way I do things. These adaptations to my life don't make me sad (or at least not persistently sad). Or at least not until I think about them.