So…here I am, at 31 years old, considering applying for disability.
It’s a consideration I am not making lightly. But reality is, I’ve been hospitalized either inpatient or outpatient 4 times in the past 3 years. I’ve had 6 psychotic episodes in my lifetime and they keep getting longer in duration the more they occur. Over the past 10 years, I have had 19 periods of employment vs. unemployment. The longest I’ve ever held a job was 3 years, and that was over 6 years ago.
My current pdoc is hesitantly supportive, not because he thinks it’s a bad idea, but because he knows how depressing it is for the patient to be declared “disabled.” J and I talked about it with my therapist today and she is supportive. The pdoc I saw earlier in the year at the Local Friendly Mental Ward was very supportive. But then, he’s seen me twice in the past year and a half and one of those periods of time, I was ragingly psychotic.
I’m doing okay for now. Not stellar but not insane at the moment. J says he’s had this on his mind for a while but he’s been really quiet about it because it was a decision I needed to come to on my own. And it is something I’ve decided I want to do. But I want to get the ball rolling on it before I have another crisis situation where the medical bills overcome us again.
Today was a down, needy day where I called J at work constantly and he ended up coming home early to see about me. I’m actually having pangs of considering going for an assessment, but that’s overkill. I should probably call my pdoc in the morning instead.
I do work 10 to 16 hours per week right now and that’s pushing it for me. The folks I work for really want me to get my full 16 hours in and I understand completely where they’re coming from. It’s tough, though, especially given the combination of gas prices and cost of daycare for Rock Steady and after school care for Be-Bop. There are other things that make it tough but I’d rather not write about that at the moment.
Suffice it to say that if I’m going to apply for disability, I need to be prepared for the folks at Social Security to speak with my former employers. So, tonight I’m prepping myself to go in and talk with my current supervisor. I have this attitude in my writing and around those I know very well that I don’t care what people think, I’m out as a bipolar now for everyone. But only one person I work with right now is aware of the extent of my condition and that person is not my supervisor. I think I know my sup well enough to know that she won’t be judgmental and that she will be supportive and discreet. But it’s always a huge exercise in vulnerability whenever I have this conversation with anyone, especially a work supervisor. I suspect this particular supervisor will be floored when I tell her, as I’ve been pretty good at covering at this job.
Please spare me the speeches about becoming a leech on society and the Social Security system. Applying for disability invites a whole new stigma upon myself. But reality is, I have two little boys who are much better off in daycare than they are being home with me all day. I want to work and even if I don’t work, I have no intention of becoming a completely lame member of society. It’s just that, despite having a number of relatively marketable skills, I do not have the filters in my brain that allow me to function day to day without a great deal of effort. So when I’m doing well, it’s not an issue. When I’m having a bad day, I need the space to do what I can to avoid not being in the bed. Generally, that means not going to work and not caring for the kids.
So we’ll see what happens.