When I was depressed I felt worthless. All the insults and mockery I’d got as a kid from bullies (both children and adults) I believed. When I was at my most mentally ill, I genuinely believed that I was the most evil person in the world, and that everything that was wrong with the world was my fault. No-one was able to convince me otherwise at the time, though my friends and Johan did try.
It has taken me a long time to regain belief in myself. It’s still a bit shaky- when I’m having a bad day the old thoughts and beliefs come back into my head, and it’s hard to remember that they’re not necessarily true, even if they were said by people I respected or loved. With help though, it is getting easier, even on the bad days.
I want to understand everything. As a kid I used to read encyclopaedias, trying to learn everything about everything. As I’m autistic, I have to learn about social interactions and customs through mimicry or study as none of it comes naturally to me. Because I put so much effort into trying to understand, I value what I’ve learnt much more than I think I would have if it had been easy.
I was told I was intelligent, but lazy. I didn’t believe the intelligent bit as I felt stupid, as that’s how I was made to feel every time I misunderstood something or said or did the wrong thing. I didn’t think I was lazy as I was trying so hard to do what I needed to do, but I must have been because I struggled to get homework in, my legs got really tired and ached if I walked long distances, and I couldn’t write fast enough. Along with other insults, put downs and constantly changing expectations that go along with living in an abusive household it wasn’t that difficult to see why I developed depression, which I was more likely to get anyway because of my (at the time undiagnosed) autism that were causing my other issues.
Now, I know I am worthy. I am worthy of love, of protection, of support. My worth has nothing to do with what I can or can’t do, it’s because I am a person and every individual is worthy. The current government may say I’m a useless scrounger who should probably be dead because I can’t work, but I know that it’s not true, and I have Johan and my friends who believe in me. I’m lucky to have this ability to learn easily that some people call intelligence, and I want to use it in ways that can help others if I can. But that still has no say in my worth. I’m worthy just because I am me, and there is no other Danni who is like me, or will be again.
We should help those who need help, because they are humans and that is what they deserve. Someone who can’t work due to disability or illness is not worth less than someone who puts in 50 hour weeks, as a person’s worth isn’t based on what they do, it’s because of who they are. Even the severely disabled, that may struggle to communicate in ways that those around them can understand, are worth loving and being supported, as they are humans and they bring themselves to the world.
I’m very lucky to have Johan and friends who love me, who like me for who I am. I might be odd, do some things that people consider strange, might be severely disabled and need help in every area of life, but there are people who love and care for me and want me to have as good a life as possible. I want the same for everyone else, and I love Johan and my friends back just as much. I may be terrible at initiating and keeping in contact with people, but I try and I think my friends understand. If there’s a way I can help my friends, I want to do it as they deserve help just as I do.
I want to live in a society where people get help based on need, not money. Where supporting those who need help is done happily as that’s what a good society does, and that help is provided in such a way to ensure that every person can contribute as they are able. And that may not be financial contribution through having a job- it might be through the arts, through friendship, even making someone laugh by getting up to mischief. Unfortunately at the moment the UK is going in the opposite direction, as money is more important than supporting those who need it. I know I am worth supporting, but it seems not everyone agrees.