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The next step after accomplishing any goal, is the most difficult.

This fall, I achieved a huge goal: housing. For the longest time, I refused to seek disability assistance. I figured there were people that needed it more than I do. Because I’m smart and hard-working, I was confident that I should have no trouble finding a job.

That proved untrue. I have to continuously remind myself and others that my life and the way I function will never be normal. I have learned to live with my epilepsy and the shock episodes that come with it. I’m working on finding the best medical way to manage it so that it does not hold me back from my aspirations.

That’s my next step, my big goal: to gain control of my medical condition so that it does not affect my everyday life and to make sure I don’t ever experience homelessness again.

A lot of people ask why it took so long for me to ask for assistance. The reason is that I don’t want anyone taking care of me. My mother raised me to never rely on others because a grown man always takes care of himself. I have never been in a relationship where my other half takes care of me and I don’t look for family or friends to do so either. I’m disgusted by the thought of someone else controlling my actions.

So I am in a better situation for now, but my income is tricky. If I make too much money, I will lose the assistance that is sustaining me. But right now, after I pay the bills, I’m flat broke. And realistically, it would take earning more than allowed to be able to save and transition away from that assistance. Once again, I’m put into a difficult situation that can be extremely stressful.

But the income limitations are not my problem. My problem is my epilepsy getting in the way of holding steady employment. That’s why addressing it is the next step. We all have our wishes and dreams. And we all have to go different routes to bring them to life.

I learn from all mistakes and try my best not to make the same mistake twice. But no one is perfect. This past year has been both blessed and crazy. I’m grateful for all of those experiences and shall use them to create a better life in 2018.