Monday, February 18, 2013

Tormented By Two Little Letters

It's been ever so long it seems, that I've been awaiting a determination from our dear Social Security Administration. Well I finally received word from them. On February 7, as a matter of fact. They were indeed, as they warn so frequently happens, denials. One each for SSI (social security income) and SSDI (disability).
The letters say " are not disabled or blind under our rules". They go on to say, after listing a diagnosis that's not mine as well as a provider that's not mine, "While your mental health may cause you some concern, you are able to think, reason and act on your behalf. The evidence indicates you are capable of doing work not requiring a great deal of training."

Let me give you some words here:

N O. Two letters that weren't even written but have managed to bring so much pain.
When I read the letters, even though I know it's not personal, which is the problem, I had a very hard time letting go. I instantly felt severe rejection. These letters weren't just telling me that I wasn't 'disabled under their rules', they were telling me that there was nothing wrong with me. All I 'heard' when I read them was; There's nothing wrong with you. Suck it up. Quit looking for attention.
There's nothing wrong with you.
My mental health may cause me some concern. Hm. Yeah. It causes me some concern. Spending the better part of a month in a mental institution due to my mental health caused me some concern. Not being able to make it through the day without wanting to kill myself without medication has caused some concern. Having to take medication (known to cause dependence) just to be able to pick up my phone without a full fledged anxiety attack has caused me some concern. Being able to take care of my kids illicits some not-so-mild concern.The complete and total lack of ability to walk into some place I don't know without a full on anxiety attack causes concern. Not being able to take care of errands or tasks, or letting things lapse because I can't go somewhere or use the phone to address them has caused some concern.
But I'm "able to think, reason and act" on my behalf. Right!
My meds have gotten me to a pretty functional place. For now. What if I accidentally miss a dose? What if I can't pay for them? What if, as is incredibly common, they need tweaking and I'm thrown off? What if .....?
For goodness' sake, I am almost completely incapable of getting up before 9:30 in the morning because of my medications and even that's a big stretch. And no, it doesn't matter what time I take them and go to bed. I've tried.
So now I have to go through the appeal process, which here in the state of Colorado, means you request a hearing. According to a lawyer's website, who I hope will take on my appeal, it can take up to 2 years to get a hearing date. 2 more + years potentially. 2 more years of not being able to contribute in any way to our financial situation. 2 more years of feeling like a complete and total effing loser. Of feeling like shit because there's all this stuff that I have to deal with but it doesn't merit recognition from the government. Because according to them, it's not significant enough... I'm not significant enough...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cuz it's just that easy...

So I'm driving in the car today and a song comes on that I've always had a little bit of a love/hate type relationship with. I've always liked the song but never liked listening to it because it makes me cry. (and he's too whiny)
I'm talking about the song Everybody Cries by REM

While I've listened to the words a million times, today they really struck me.
Of course everybody cries. Of course everybody hurts.
How is that supposed to help someone in the moment though? And the whole "When you think you've had too much of this life, well hang on"
Right. Cuz it's just that easy.
Oh, some random guy that may or may not have any friggin clue about what I'm going through says to hang on cuz everybody else hurts sometimes too. Ok.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

No singularity here


Something that escapes no one. Not even our children. Stress is always something that can be managed better, by everyone.
Managing stress while living with Bipolar is challenging at best. Managing stress while living with Borderline Personality Disorder is even a step above, or is that below? People with BPD already tend to have a reduced tolerance to stress. The presence of BPD has been known to increase the symptoms of other co-occurring diseases/disorders. And guess what else increases the symptoms of all other diseases/disorders??

Yepper do! You guessed it!


And let's talk about overwhelmed right now!!!

I've been having a rough week or so thanks to the inter-connectedness of all of the above ridiculousness. My little immediate family of 3 is at the lowest point we've ever been.
I feel like the actual picture in your mind's eye of the camel's back just before that miniscule golden straw makes its dire landing. It's that intense a fragility that plagues me. Even a shattered eggshell is stronger than I am lately. At any given moment, I feel near to collapsing into a pile of tears and slobbering gibberish.
Our finances are dire. Not strained, not barely break even, dire. Paying rent, as well as the other bills, has become more than a challenge this month. It became an un-possibility. (How ya likin' that one?!?) On our own that is. For the 1st time in my adult life I'm having to turn almost entirely to charity. Either that of strangers or of family and friends. I've been evaluating food banks and even the potential for homeless shelters in the case that we can't make rent.
Yes, it's that bad.
My MS stricken husband is working diligently at a job (5-7 days a week) that barely pays over minimum wage and goes to school 4 nights a week so that he can have an education with which to secure greater financial stability for us.
We, anxiously, await a determination from Social Security regarding SSDI (disability) and SSI (social security income) for me owing to my inability to work a job as a result of the Bipolar, Depression, and Anxiety. The last being possibly the most major player.

So there we are. A brief glimpse into the stresses that are wreaking absolute havoc on a war-torn mind.

Somebody please tell me, where's the party???

Friday, February 1, 2013

Battle Wounds

So a good, very compassionate, friend & I were discussing a young person that we both care for very very deeply yesterday who has had a very difficult childhood, rather similar to mine as a matter of fact, and has some mental illness and a lot of issues. He said that "She has a screw loose". After he and I went back and forth a couple of times, he asked "Then what's wrong with her?". I said that she's damaged but was having a hard time articulating any explanation. Well, this morning, I was thinking about it again;
A way to describe mental illness. And then a picture entered my mind that I, personally, think is quite apt.

Living with mental illness, specifically my references of Bipolar, Depression, PTSD, Anxiety, and Borderline Personality, is like living life on a battlefield. In every direction there are unseen pits of unfathomable depth into which no light can enter and no escape seems possible. There are rows upon rows of razor sharp spikes ready to rip open both old and new wounds, hidden only until you're already upon them. Dense and dizzying smoke and darkness that can feel smothering and unending. Obstacles of every kind are scattered around waiting in ambush. There's uncertainty and fear and true despair even when, and sometimes especially when, the rare light shows through. You try to trust your instincts when all else has been robbed of you only to be burned by the illusion of light. The basic tactics that you were shown in the beginning "to guide you" lead you further and further into the darkness with less and less hope of ever making it to "the other side". The "normal" side.

I realize to many that this is an incredibly dark picture, especially if you know someone that has one of these, or other, diseases and has seemed/is functional.
I am here to assure you that each and every one of those people has had to maneuver this battlefield at some point, to some degree, and probably always will. Even while they're continuing on at school, work, or at home.
Sometimes the same battlefield is doused in light which is deceptive and blinding and just as painful and difficult.

Don't look at those who live with mental illness as being broken. Just realize that we are lost, trying to traverse a sometimes dark and painful minefield, all the while being told that it's "not that bad".
We have battle wounds...