i’m not super-stoked to talk about this, but here goes: i got the results of my disability review back the other day. they claim that my condition has improved, i am able to work (specifically, they say i can “walk, lift, stand, & learn new things” & therefore can find gainful employment; apparently the fact that i actually can’t walk, lift, or stand without significant & debilitating pain doesn’t matter? but anyway), & my benefits will be discontinued in august.
this isn’t what i expected & i am pretty shocked. i plan to appeal, even though the idea of wading through that sea of red tape makes me feel…well, panicky isn’t even the word. about one thousand steps beyond that.
i really don’t know what happened. & i’m reluctant to speculate too much. i could be mistaken, but what i gleaned from the letter is that i was primarily approved in the first place due to mental health issues, & since i stopped taking any kind of psych meds, they decided those issues have improved. even though i told the social security doctor that things haven’t been going so well on that front recently & that i planned to track down a psychiatrist & try an anti-depressant again. he asked if i was experiencing any suicidal ideation & i said, “not right this second, but within the last week, yes.” he specified, “but not right now?” & i said, “no, not right this very moment as i sit here.” apparently i would have had to slash my wrists right there in the office to be listened to? but again, this is just speculation. i haven’t seen his report yet & don’t know exactly what he noted.
i did end up going to the ER a few days ago to expedite the process of getting some legitimate help with this depressive episode. it’s been lingering for months now & it’s become a lot worse in the last few weeks. i tried to talk to my current therapist about suicidal thoughts, but she deflected it & told me i was “doing great” & that it’s “been a long time since [my] depression has flared up”. i said, “what about right that this second?” & she insisted, “you’re doing fine!” so…i think that’s that. i always knew she wasn’t great with big stuff, but this is a few steps too far. i’m going to interview new therapists this week, i hope.
so yeah. quite a bit of not-so-great stuff happening here. when i think about it, i get upset with myself for how long i’ve been sitting here keeping a cap on how depressed i’ve been feeling. i didn’t even talk to jared about it until a week or two ago (though he confessed he could tell that something was going on–i guess my occasional bouts of sudden, uncontrollable crying did not go unnoticed). a few years ago, i was a lot more open about this stuff. i was kind of crusader, i guess. & i got so much offensive push-back from people, people saying things like, “well, then you must be crazy,” “if that’s how you feel, it’s probably not right for you to have a boyfriend/have a child/mix in general with normal society,” etc etc, that i just started keeping it to myself. years of therapy have outfitted me with a lot of useful coping mechanisms, but i’ve also learned not so great ones, like compartmentalizing, & using humor as a defense mechanism to the point that people think, “she’s cracking jokes, she must be perfectly all right.” even at the ER, i was making jokes. when i wasn’t crying or staring at the wall. i’ve just had so many bad experiences where i was honest with people about what was going on & they were like, “oh. OH. i thought you were all right. i’m just gonna back away & try to disappear from your life now…”. it’s a big challenge to be going through a rough patch, to bring someone into your confidence about it, & then to rebuild a rapport once you’re feeling better.
on a practical note, my disability status being up in the air like this means our financial situation is tenuous. i can choose to continue receiving benefits until the appeals process is over (& if i lose, i would likely have to pay those benefits back). i crunched the numbers & there’s just no way we can get by on jared’s TA salary. & i literally cannot work. i can’t be on my feet for longer than half an hour at a stretch, i can’t lift or carry heavy things, i can’t sit at a computer all day…one of my friends suggested that i try to turn my sewing into a home business, since i “have a lot of free time” (suffice to say this friend does not have a baby), but as much as i love to sew, i am not physically capable of doing enough of it to make a business of it. i’m still recovering from making my swim bag last week. it’s physically hard to sit at my sewing machine for that long.
plus, sewing can be kind of expensive. if i lose my case on appeal…well, i still won’t be able to work. we’ll probably have to take out loans to get through jared’s last year of school. we’ll be living even closer to the bone than we do already (& we already live quite frugally–ramona is 18 months old & we’ve spent less than $100 on clothes for her, including shoes, coats, etc, in her entire life), & i’m not going to have the extra money to buy new fabric, thread, etc.
i feel bad that this entire post seems like a litany of complaints. very personal ones, at that. but this is what’s going on. i’m just going to leave this here & hopefully not talk about it again until things are resolved one way or another. i don’t know how long that will take.