I must admit that I felt degraded and humiliated when it was suggested that I ask to be recognised as mentally handicapped. That was my first thought of hurt pride. Alright, it was misplaced: I am no genius; I have an average intelligence and understanding, no more. Nonetheless, the fact that I already feel I have been robbed of my life – I mean a normal life in a place I chose, doing things I chose, having friends, hobbies, a job, my own possessions – trivial things like my own crockery, my own books, my own records -, a financial independence – all this is difficult. I try to live it as a Christian: giving one’s life for others without restriction and with love. I can tell you I am a bad Christian because this does not come easily to me!
Therefore, being deprived of full intellectual means “for the good cause” seemed to me a little over the top.
Dr Quack left, thinking I would rush to do what he had told me. He insisted that it could be easily proven that I suffer from chronic nervous breakdown verging on melancholia. He would write it. He would convince his colleagues on the Red Tape board or panel. I would not be deprived of my civic rights and my own disposition of my money and properties. I would manage my life as I would please. I would be given help that would help The Little Family. I would be given a status of “mentally handicapped” or “mentally disabled” that entailed a small allowance. All I had to do was to see a social worker who would ask for the file to be sent from the local bureaucracy for disabled and handicapped people (the same who has declared Anne-Fleur mentally handicapped) fill the papers, give them to him, to add his certificate about my mental disease, and to send the whole to the same office in Périgueux. Then, there would be some months before I would be called before a panel of administration (read intellectually limited and bureaucratic MDs) who would corroborate the decision. Then again, some more months with social workers to determine the amount of my allowance (not much – somewhere about 200 or 300€ per month) and the material help that I would need.
Verba volant, scripta manent. Who can guarantee and sign the warrant? Who can guarantee that things will evolve like this? Can Dr Quack do it? I don’t believe so.
The material needs are in the hands of the bureaucratic psychologists and social workers. They may very well decide that being mentally handicapped does not forbid my doing the whole house cleaning, cooking and gardening. These may well be seen as therapies.
So what would I earn? A small financial allowance and a status of a mentally handicapped or mentally disabled person. The rest is a full question mark. The answer, if I adopt this solution, will be found in a year or so.
Meanwhile, we still have to live.
A blogger friend picked up another hole in the seemingly perfect fabric. And my thoughts had already jumped to it, after my pride had started to abate.
If I am declared mentally handicapped, or mentally disabled with the relevant status, I stop being the person with which The Girls can live without danger. One further step may easily be made by the Court, or by the social services, or by the administrator: The Girls would be better with “normal people”, neither handicapped nor disabled, and be entrusted to a family paid to take care of them or to a specialised institution.
One more step and I could be deemed unable to live by myself and sent to a specialised institution myself.
Doesn’t it need thought before rushing to issue that was so temptingly presented to me yesterday? Perhaps a consultation of our legal advisor in Paris, specialised in all things relevant to handicap and disability? To friends having jobs dealing with same social law? With social workers of the Foreign Office and the ministry of defence where family members worked for years and years?
I still believe that giving the carer, when he or she is family, a status is the proper solution. We do the job. Why are we not paid and helped for it?
But the job is a matter for another post.