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Lately I’ve been wondering if there was still any point in continuing to work as a Regional Advocate. Actually, it’s not really a new question for me; I’ve been struggling with feeling that my contribution was of less value than other RAs because I don’t do the usual things that regional advocates do, including meeting with church advocates or talking to them on the phone, etc.  

You see I don’t drive, so my mobility outside Montreal is limited, and talking to people on the phone makes me anxious because I have a weak gaiting system. That is, I am unable to block out background noise, so I have to ask people to repeat what they said, and sometimes several times over, and usually after the third time, if I still haven’t understood, I give up. It’s a lot easier for me to write than to talk on the phone.

This weak gaiting system is a trait of people who have psychotic disorders, and schizophrenia in particular. In theory, we can have hallucinations with all five senses, but vision and hearing are probably the most common, so we are born with a visual handicap that makes it difficult for us to see life in three dimensions properly, and we can’t block background noises.  

To this day, I have problems with stairs. I hate them and avoid them like the plague whenever possible because most of the time, when I get hurt physically, it involves stairs to some extent.  But I also get tripped up by other objects that cause me to fall and hurt myself.

To compensate for those problems, God gave me the ability to write fluently, an ability I have used liberally in the past. However, since I don’t fit into the mold of the RA as the job description defines the work, I often feel as though I am an impostor and have needed encouragement every so often, especially when I was depressed and didn’t write anything for sometimes lengthy periods. 

My difference makes me very insecure about my self-worth and value as a Regional Advocate, and I’m sure my colleagues and coworkers have seen that by now. Now you know why.


Michele, I'm so grateful for your leadership within Disability Concerns. Your honesty and truth telling are a gift to us. I appreciate your naming what doesn't feel like a good fit about the Regional Advocate role. It's helped us think more broadly about how we can help match people's gifting and passions with the needs of the ministry. We shouldn't expect a one size fits all approach. I'm excited you'll be helping us with editing in the future!

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