I have Crohn’s Disease. I’m also in college, which means stress and anxiety are not unfamiliar to me with the workload I get on a daily basis. Often, I go to counseling sessions to help my mental health so it doesn’t make my Crohn’s Disease worse. My best friend, Amelie, has the same condition. The difference between us is that this disease could cost Amelie a job and a brighter future because she’s from Germany.
Amelie attends a university in Giessen, Germany. She wants to be a teacher who works with children who are mentally ill. “Sometimes the children have friends that you can’t see. Others hear voices. It’s difficult sometimes, but I want to help them,” Amelie said. In order to ensure she keeps her job and makes the money she deserves, Amelie needs something called a “”.
“I can’t translate verbeamtung into English. It is so much harder than picking one, certain word,” Amelie said. She sums it up by calling it a “status”.
What does this status do?
This status gives people job security, extra pay and a higher rank. Amelie said, “If you’re a teacher and your school is short on money and they have to cut workers, teachers with this status can’t just get kicked out.” She explained that the only way an employee with status can be fired is if they do something illegal. The firing process is extremely difficult though.
In order to get this status, the person must be a German, have a university degree, be physically and mentally healthy for the previous five years and the list goes on. Before getting this status, all of the person’s records will be researched thoroughly to ensure that they are “healthy”.
But Amelie has Crohn’s Disease. Does this mean she can’t get this status?
Amelie brought this up to me last week after realizing she was getting sick and unable to seek help because she didn’t want it to be on her record, and for the counseling she might want, she’s out of luck.
What if something traumatic happens to Amelie before she achieves this status? She answered, “I would travel to the Netherlands. They have the same medications I’d need for depression, but I wouldn’t need a prescription to get them. I wouldn’t get counseling though. That would look bad on my record.”
At this point, whether she agrees with it or not, Amelie is trying to ensure that she gets this status. She makes sure she isn’t overweight or underweight, she doesn’t seek help for the anxiety that comes around too often, she makes sure her Crohn’s Disease is secret and she works hard to make sure that the next five years of her life are as “healthy” and “normal” as possible.