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.

2 responses to “Disability”

  1. don’t ever that you will be a leech on society…
    if you broke your leg would anyone judge you
    and tell you to ‘suck it up’ and get back to work?
    you may need this right now
    they who would ever say or even think such a thing should ‘suck it up’
    sorry I am not a crass person – but the stigma around mental illness really bothers me

    maybe this will really help and allow you to rest and understand YOU better
    and isn’t that what life is all about
    or maybe it will drive you even more crazy (haha) and you will be able to look at your self in a different way
    who knows

    but if it is where you think you need to be then go there

    lots of support from me
    p.s I have spent time in a mental hospital a long time ago when I was a teen. I have been on different meds at different times of my life. I have taken time from work. I have layed in bed for days at a time too.
    I am not saying I know your story your feelings your pain…but I try to understand the difficulty that we can feel and realize that how we cope is different in different situations and times of our lives.

    cry to me via blog any time you wish/ need

  2. Agreed, anyone who thinks you’re a ‘leech’ needs a good kick in the pants. Keep the focus on you and your family and the best life you can possibly have within the limitations that this shitty illness can sometimes set for you. Maybe try setting yourself a goal of learning or doing something new that’s completely unrelated to worrying about money as well… there’s always plenty of time to do that later.

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