It shouldn’t any big surprise I’ve applied for Social Security Disability (SSDI) and I’m finally not in a spot of shame to admit this is happening. The first batch of paperwork, on functioning in society, has arrived and I spent the morning getting the packet completed. Eight legal paper sized pages with questions ranging from why I left my last place of work (they fired me for not doing my job) to if I’m getting dressed (I’m in my jim-jams unless I have to go out) and bathing (every other day and on days I go out) and to how well do I do interacting with others and can I handle authority. Can’t I just give them a link to my blog? (Probably not going to happen.)
A second packet has also arrived on my work history. That is getting filled out on another day.
I was to go visit a mosque today to show my solidarity but filling out the paperwork was stressful and I found my focus and concentration waning with each flip of the page. I forced myself to plow through and the payment for this is a head buzzing with racing thoughts and looking at an afternoon of nothingness. That’s not entirely true — I’ll find myself working on homework for my front end web dev class and doing more writing. However, I just cannot go out into the world right now.
I am trying to hard to articulate this feeling of being locked inside your head so much you cannot interact with society. It is stressful but a much needed conversation.
You cannot see the fits and starts of me writing this but it is happening.
I’m also finally accepting I’ll be on Medicaid for awhile. The locations of the services are in areas of town that haven’t seen love in decades. We have found here if you’re white, you don’t go past 9th St, which then becomes the west end. This is where all the “undesirables” (aka brown, black, and Trump supporters) live and it is so obvious the city gives no fucks as there are burnt out warehouses, increased homeless population, and it is the poorest zip code in the county. (Ours is the second poorest but the area is gentrifying so yay?)
I attach a lot of white privilege and shame when I go to the doctor’s offices. I drive a swish car, carry a swish bag, wear swish clothes, and live in a swish condo. The shame comes from I have so many gratitudes for TEH for taking me in and I am so, so, so lucky I’m not out on the street which many do not have these things. Why is she here?, I believe they think when they see me. I’m just another white girl taking advantage of the system when there are people much more deserving than I am. I believe they are right – I shouldn’t be here. I am very privileged and I acknowledge that privilege every day I wake up in a warm place, with food in my belly, and clothes on my back. I rejected the social services available to me when I first moved here because I believed I didn’t deserve it. I shouldn’t take it even though my brain is on fire and I can barely get up to dress and take care of myself.
Once TEH finally convinced I had paid into the system for over 20 years, this is why it’s here for occasions like this. One day at the beginning of a crisis mode, I called the local mental health line looking for help and they sent me to the community mental health center. This was better, I thought, than hospitalization because that cost money and being seen at the clinic did not. I arrived the following day at open to get someone to see me. At best, I had some hope of relief and worst — I didn’t want to think about it.
The homeless, drug addicts, mentally ill, some people all three, where there when the doors open for drugs, counseling, sometimes just a snack and warmth. Even in the midst of my crisis, I felt too functioning to be there. I was told on the phone they would take walk-ins so I registered as soon as I got to the reception desk, sat down after giving my information, and read all day waiting for someone to call my name. Never happened. I go and ask what is my status and they tell me they stopped talking walk-ins a half-an-hour before I asked. I went home, took my clothes off, put on my jimjams and crawled on the couch and waited for the crisis to past. Other than sleeping, occasionally eating, and using the bathroom, I remained nearly immobile for two days.
My pride is deteriorating my health so I now use those services I was once too ashamed to take. I am getting PT for my ankle of doom, chiropractic care for my back. I have a primary physician and an OB/GYN. I have a talking therapist and a medicating therapist who monitors my drugs.
I remain lucky I was saved out of the cracks before I fell much farther down.
So I’m covered and I’ll remain covered until it’s taken away from me if the republicans have their way. Being bipolar is a pre-existing condition and if Medicaid goes away, I am marrying TEH again to get health insurance. This has already been agreed upon.
If I sound contradictory, all over the place, and sounding like an asshole – I probably am. This is a complicated and complex issue. I have swallowed my pride and I use the services available to me because I need them and they are there for me. I am rejecting all the shame because that is exactly why they exist and what I’ve paid into for nearly 30 years. (I started working at 14 with my first job at an ice cream parlor. I’m now 44.)
(It goes without saying if you have voted for Trump, I hope you die in a rotting fiery death of hell with your genitals torn off and shoved down your throat.)
This is not where I planned to go today but the frustration of writing down my life in pen about the status of my mental health, wondering if I sound too functioning when there are times every week I can barely function, to get some help is maddening. The more I talk about it, the more people are willing to share their stories and the feeling of kinship gives me hope.
Finding out my status on SSDI could take as long up to three months. If rejected, I’ll just apply again, and keep applying until I get something to help financially. I have some unemployment money coming in and that pays my bills but TEH covers my living costs. I’m selling my car soon, which will help pay off my debt and lighten the financial load considerably. I’ve applied for roughly 50 or so jobs since I’ve been back here and nothing has or is panning out. I have no hope of working but I keep trying thinking one day soon I’ll snap back into old Lisa mode and can function into society but I know, realistically, recovery takes a long time, sometimes years. According to the officials, I am way better off than I was even six months ago, and I recognize that, but it’s frustrating. Frustrating has become my word of choice lately and it peppers everything I do.
I don’t want to leave this on a sour note so here is a bit of happy news: Last week I wrote on my writing blog I’m writing and submitting my work more than ever. In the last two weeks, six pieces have been submitted to various magazines and I’m hoping some good news will be coming my way soon-ish. I’ve got a few other pieces in progress and I’m taking an online writing course to tighten up what I have. I feel hopeful here. (Tho’ return on submission is slow — some are saying up to four to six months and no simultaneous submissions.)
Here is a 15 syllable fixed heiku poem that I submitted to tinywords:
lips cherry red body sags
hollow breath she is then released