Digital painting of Jenn. She is looking away from the camera with a thoughtful expression and her hands resting on her lap.. She has long black her falling past her shoulders and is wearing a cream and yellow striped button-up  shirt with a dark blue unbuttoned cardigan overtop and brown pants.. The background is a brown yellow and green striped design.

Can you please share about yourself, your experience with the disability benefit and anything else you would like people to know?

I live in Victoria BC, I have a deep love for anything creative (photography, painting, music, crafts). I recently started working once a week at a consignment shop. I have an invisible disability. There’s many people I interact with who don’t see the manifestation of my illness.Though it is invisible, it is no less debilitating. I mourn the loss of my autonomy.

I was definitely extremely lucky. I had my mom and the disability resource centre to support me and help me get on disability. The process was extremely frustrating and took six months, but I was fortunate enough to get accepted with my first application (which rarely happens). Money is extremely tight. They give you $375 a month for rent, which is absurd, and if any family member gives you ‘consistent annual payments’ you can get kicked off disability. So the only real option is renting from your parents (which I’m lucky to have) but the idea of independence is laughable.

I would not have access to my medication, psychiatrist and any other forms of treatment I get if it weren’t for my parents. Even with healthcare, it doesn’t cover any of the more ‘outside the norm’ treatments. Which if you have a disability, are usually the ones you need.

Just because I don’t ‘look’ disabled doesn’t mean that I’m not disabled. Because my issues are invisible, I have to constantly explain myself. It’s scary because if I don’t ‘act’ disabled enough, I might not get the help I need from the people around me. It’s hard when you want some autonomy, so you try and hide your disability, but in doing so you condemn yourself to seeming too able-bodied to need help.

What do you dream support for people with disabilities could look like?

Healthcare that encompasses more than MSP. Having all our medications / treatments / needed assistance be covered. Disability paying enough to have independence. Easier access to PWD.

Likes / loves:

I love neutral colours (brown, camel, burnt orange, mustard yellow). I love animals, sneaky ones in particular (cats, foxes, snakes). I love plants (I have tons of house plants), anything outdoor or in nature. I love the sea, it’s my home.

Check out Jenn’s photography on Instagram at @paperlemon

Published by rozmaclean

B.C. based artist

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