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The Forgotten

by Julia Stellings 7 months ago in Humanity
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Who are the lepers in society?

In Bible times, people suffering from the skin disease of leprosy were treated as outcasts. … They were forbidden to have any contact with people who did not have the disease and they had to ring a bell and shout “unclean” if anyone approached them. Nowadays we can heal most aliments, so who among us are the lepers in society? I am going to say something very controversial so please read my entire article before you condemn my thoughts on society. I have lived it, and seen it through the eyes of many people. Let me make my case before you shame me for having these non-conforming thoughts on the behaviors of society . We love to say that everyone is equal in modern society, that enlightenment and education has liberated us from ignorance and human maltreatment. But to believe such a thing makes one uniformed, and means they haven't lived in the dark sides of human reality and experience.

I live in community housing, I was abandoned here after being abandoned at a homeless shelter for woman in abusive relationships. I was also very vunerable I had a disability called cerebral palsy and I was bullied and picked on as a result. No one would help me- not my family, nor my friends I was all I had, and I worried they would kick me out before I found somewhere to live. I was a leper of society , no one cared what was happening to me, or how I sept at night. I would make calls that no one would answer. And as I will explain later in this article so were the woman in these shelters. I only had 3 months, I couldnt stay any longer. I remember crying in my bed and praying to a God I did not believe in to make me feel safe again. It was a place full of choas, filled with drugs and unstable woman with personality disorders. Most of them were the forgotten in society. Most of them lived on the streets doing drugs and sleeping with men for money. Some of them were in abusive relationships that forever damaged their children. But these woman, I found they were selfish and only cared abot their needs, they could not look beyond themselves to extend the love and care a child needs from their mother.

Because I was so young (24) and I loved children I became the babysitter. They would use me to look after their children while they did drugs. One child after witnessing so much domestic abuse tried to suffocate me and for a child of 10 and me being disabled he was somehow so strong. He did manage to cut of y airway for a striking amount o f time before I could pill of his hands from my month and noise. He had dark eyes and had clearly witnessed this in real life, I was terrified that a child that young had so much power and a desire to inflict harm on another human being, In an instant. He knew I was weaker then him and he even laughed as I struggled to get him off me. I could read his future in an instant. This man would grow up to have impulse control problems and behavioural problems that would mean a lifetime in and out of jail. Then I met a child so neglected that I cried for him often, and still to this day pray for him knowing he was destined to have a horrible life of pain and struggle. He was 10, yet he had lost all his teeth due to neglect on the mothers part. The mother paid so little attention to him he could not speak, yet the poor soul was still in her custody. He could speak in 1-3 world phases and used his hands to help guide the rest. Why wasn't this child safe? Why hadn't social services rescued this poor soul from this woman? She had already lost 5 children, including one that was with her in the homeless shelter and had to be taken away because he tried to hang himself while in the shelter. Where where the social workers, doctors and decent people of society saving this angel? He was the forgotten in society. And let me tell you this child had a beautiful soul and was worth fighting for. It did not matter how many CPS calls were made, this child was never saved.

Then there are the poor souls living in housing like me. The shelter had let me say half a year to find accessible housing because they knew I had nothing and no one. I was placed in assistive living, but was still dreadfully depressed and under functioning. When you have no one in the world there is nothing to keep you thriving, there is nothing giving you a will to live. A nice elderly woman in the building saw my horrible state and instead of just igoring it she did something about it. She helped me make my house a home and even helped me pick out clothes because I didn't have any. She bought them with her own money. She set me up with services to clean my home, and was someone I could cry to when I had no one else. She was a stranger to me, but had shown more kindness then anyone I had ever known. She later said she was worried I was going to die without help and direction. I later confessed that I was planning on taking my life but that she had picked me up just before the void of darkness swall0wed me whole. I did not believe I had any worth or value to anyone..

Flashforward 10 years later and I still live in the same shit hole. My family refuse to visit me here because it feels unsafe. When I first got here only the elderly and the disabled lived here. But now it is the drug addicts, prostitutes and the severally mentally ill. This is the last bus stop for the social outcast. They usually are placed in a shelter, and put in emergency housing and come here. Legally they can not evict these people because people are legally not allowed to become homeless. These people don't have famiy and they certainty don't have people that care about them. Like me the only people that visit are paid by social services through the government. Now Johnns are here in there cars waiting outside for a fix. Drug dealers sell their crack, and bring home other homeless people to party all night. These are dangerous people. Once a guy sexually assulted a woman and ran from the cops by jumping through a window and leaving a blood trail. One man nearly killed us all by starting a fire while cooking meth. I had the whole experience of walking through smoke to make it outside. 10 people were made homeless by that fire. He just got placed in another community housing unit. People wander around off their meds in a violent state, seeing things that are not their. People have tried to kill other people. I am a venerable woman, someone could easily come into my home and hurt me. I have to keep my door locked at all times. I can't even leave my apartment. There is a security guard here 24 hours to control the random drug addicts coming through the door looking for a place to do their drugs.

As for me I have had so many health issues I can barely walk at this time. I got diabetes, then covid, then went septic two times with two deadly infections. I have been in and out of the hospital and in a wheelchair for months. I often wonder what I am living for. I reach out to family, but they don't have time for me. They seem to not understand the dire situation I am in, or simply do not care. I grew up in a middle class family- I was always safe. Now as an adult I have less value. If I can't get outside physically I am isolated and cannot be very social to make friends. At nights I would cry endlessly in fear because I did not have the strength to walk, to go to the store or make it to basic appointments. My doctors wanted me to get blood work but I physically couldn't make it out of my building. I have almost died many times, and I wake up every morning asking why the lord has not taken me. Without a healthy body, you cannot participate in society. I went to visit my parents and I physically couldn't get up the stairs after fighting an infection through an IV for two weeks. What if I loose the strength in my legs forever? Will I be institutionalized? I have never cried and prayed so much in my life.

I have now described to you the lepers of society that we do not care about. Few people will acknowledge however how we neglect the most venerable in society- the elderly. PSW's have one and a half hours to care for 15 ederly patients at a nursing home. No you did not read that incorrectly that is how it currently wprks in canada, not a third world country. That means the poor PSW has less then 10 mintues to "wash" and dress each patient. So that old person smell you say exsists it it simply from gross neglect. One PSW confessed to me that we only have time to clean their armpits and senstive area half ass before rushing to the next patient. PSWs often express deep saddness telling me this because they want to be able to do other things to make them feel human. This includes washing their hair, brushing it and brushing their teeth. They are truely the forgotten ones. They have no one to stick up for them. Everyone they have known and loved is dead. PWS say that some just lay around praying for death, I would to.

We forget people all the time. Why does this happen? People often say they have created their fate. But sick, disabled and elderly people just need some compassion and help. They need someone anyone to care. My waking reality was today when I was asked who to put as an emerency contact. My family had not been very present on my life, they didn't know anything about me as much as I tried to tell them. They had better things to do living their lives. So I put my neighbor and friend from downstairs. When I had covid and struggled with my health he forced me to eat. He visited me at the hospital. He helped me up when I had fallen in my apartment. He was there when I cried. He cared and truly understood what I was going through. He has only known me for two years, but knows me better then my family. So let me ask you a question. Who are you neglecting in your life? Who have you forgotten? What justifies giving them less value? I truly see the best in everyone because of how I am treated. Because you will have to answer these questions and experience this when you are old and disabled yourself. If you have someone in your life that you know is alone, please reach out and make them feel loved.


About the author

Julia Stellings

I am a 34 year old with an hours Ba in Sexuality Marriage and Family and a 3 year general Ba in Social Development Studies. I also have a diploma in Social Work studies. I consider myself an activist for the disabled community.

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