Today at around two in the afternoon I was sleeping peacefully in bed, as my wonky circadian rhythm demanded. My alarm radio was going off and had been for about a half hour. I heard a knock at the door. It was the police, doing a welfare check. Apparently, my mother had called them and demanded that they check on me and get me to call her.
The officer himself was decent about it, and I was well-rested and my communication was pretty good--no nightmarish police encounter here, thank God. I was asked what my diagnosis was (autism and depression), whether I had enough food (yes) and how I would get more (walking to the store), how I was paying my bills (automatically), whether I felt like killing myself (no) or hurting myself (also no). He walked through the apartment, saw the moderate mess and got glared at by Tiny, gave me the number for the counseling service that diagnosed me to begin with, asked me to call my mother, and left.
Interestingly, when he advised me to get assistance and told me it was okay to do so, he used the same metaphor I've used myself for years and, as far as I can tell, came up with myself: "A man whose car breaks down goes and gets help to get the car fixed. A disabled person who needs help with living independently gets help for that, too."
It's not a complex metaphor to compare disability assistance to societal interdependence such as what lets a person call a mechanic to fix a car. It's one of those ideas that gets invented multiple times by multiple people, all over the place, and then spreads until everyone knows it and no one knows who thought of it first.
It's not the first time this has happened. Other things I've thought of have spread like that, subtly, until I've heard them from someone else as advice or information or interesting ideas they were explaining to me. Many of them are probably ideas that are engendered by the social conditions we live in--ideas that are made accessible and so easy to originate that anyone who is looking out for them can put them together.
That's the beauty of the Internet, of modern technology that lets us exchange ideas so easily. An idea is made accessible by society, and nearly simultaneously it sparks in a dozen people's minds. They think it's interesting and they share it, and from there it spreads, to combine with other ideas later on. It makes me wonder whether the effect I'm having on the world is bigger than I think because of this fractal pattern of combining and spreading ideas; and simultaneously, I wonder whether if I weren't spreading those ideas, they would spread anyway simply because the world is ready for them.
Well, I sent my mom an e-mail. I have the number for the counseling service. I still don't know how I'm going to get out of this mess, but I do know that I am not moving near my mom, let alone move in with her, because one of my priorities is to stay independent, no matter how much help I need, and my mom is one of those people who thinks that if a person's disabled, someone else should run their life for them because they know what's best for them. I tend to disagree.
So, Mom--I know you're probably reading this--I am a grown woman, I make my own decisions, and that's the way it's going to stay. Yes, I woke you up at 3 a.m.; yes, I had hours-long tantrums; yes, you had problems getting me in and out of the shower; yes, I'm strong-willed and difficult and all of that. But I happen to like being strong-willed and difficult, thank you very much. I am my own person, not a good little cripple who's going to look adoringly up at anyone who oh-so-charitably deigns to give them a few coppers, and if you try to take my right to decide for myself what my life is going to be like, I will have one of those famous temper tantrums, and you do NOT want to be at ground zero.
As for getting help, I have a list of steps I'm going to try:
Go to the disability services office and ask for help getting in touch with the counseling service.
Talk to my case worker at the vocational rehab services bureau, whose e-mail has been sitting in my in box for two weeks.
Call the pharmacy and get them to call my doctor for a refill on prescriptions. Hopefully the doctor says yes.
Gather up the mail I haven't opened or answered, and either dig through it myself or ask for help doing it.
How long it's going to take me to organize doing those things, I haven't a clue, but at least they're better than having no idea where to go next.