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So Long, Sweet Soul Sister

Erin Gilmer (September 27, 1982 – July 7, 2021) Trauma Survivor, Attorney & Disability Rights Activist.

Sweet gentle Erin Gilmer could not live with her trauma, physical pain and poverty any longer and so sadly, she took her own life on July 7, 2021 at the tender age of 38. Even though she was a licensed attorney she needed food stamps to survive. I can relate. Her physical and mental disabilities prevented her from working full time at gainful employment. I can relate. Her blog as a disability rights activist, Health as a Human Right illustrates that she was capable of working at her passion. She just couldn’t make a real living at it. I can relate. Estranged from her parents, her condition was exacerbated when she was in a debilitating car accident in 2010.

Erin Gilmer on Twitter

Her conditions included rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes, borderline personality disorder and occipital neuralgia, which produces intensely painful headaches:

Erin@GilmerHealthLaw· I’ve debated whether or not to share all that’s going on for me lately, whether I trust sharing my reality on here. On the one hand, it could lead to unhelpful comments or backfire. On the other, something is telling me to write, to lay it all out there… So here we go.1035

Erin@GilmerHealthLaw· Every day is unbearable. There is so much pain I can’t wrap my head around it anymore and it gets significantly worse each day. I’ve seen so many specialists and sought out help in every way I could triggering more trauma and adding to layers of betrayal trauma.122

Erin@GilmerHealthLaw· My arms are on fire. There’s shooting and stabbing and tingling and numbness that go throughout. Even typing or holding my phone makes it worse. I’ve needed surgery for herniated discs in my c-spine for years, this is both related and unrelated.

Law of the Jungle

Her New York Times obituary mentions a talk she gave at Stanford in 2014 about her race giving here the privilege to cut corners to get a free plate at the salad bar. I do the same Caucasian corner cutting myself. Neither Erin nor myself are particularly proud of it. Erin called it survival of the fittest. I call it Darwinism in action.

disability rights activist erin gilmer