Under Review

Returned to a letter in my mailbox today. Another disability review from social security. I just had one in 2012, I don’t remember them doing them this often in prior years. I did not see this one coming so soon, but there is a reason I fear my mailbox. Rather than my usual immediate “the sky is falling, I am choking to death” panic attack, I just took a beat.(Mainly because the cats were yapping for food and my kid was yapping for food and I had to pee and my heart was starting to pound so loud I couldn’t hear my voice if words did come out.)
Then the REAL anxiety swirled in.
Because I know this one page form to fill out is just the beginning of a months long anxiety fest while a bunch of people who don’t understand mental illness try to grasp it. I will not breathe for months to come while it’s determined if my disability is legitimate. I think it is, and I think these blog entries prove how precarious and unstable my mentality is.
I want to be well. I don’t want to ever go through this anxiety of having to prove my illness again. Working would be less stressful. Unfortunately, demand by employers is not high for people who are only stable and clear headed a few months of the year.

It is so hard to portray mental illness to those who don’t have it. Especially with the drive thru doctor appointments and ever changing meds, sleep disturbances, rising anxieties, and mood swings.
People see you’re dressed and out and about, you must be A-Okay.
They don’t see how it all turns on a dime, how you are going through the motions. They don’t realize that even “fun” activities are hellish. You’re upright and walking, you must be great.
And I have actually had people say, “You take care of a kid, you can’t be that bad off.”
Makes me remember an episode of Forensic Files where this man was bludgeoned with ax and had no clue he was mortally wounded, he got up, made his breakfast, went outside to fetch the paper, locked himself out, found the spare key, then he went inside and keeled over. Something about the part of the brain that is automated memory of daily routine.
And my low functioning days are nothing if not a product of this.
I am fortunate my kid has lower standards than employers for she doesn’t care if mommy goes out in pajamas, doesn’t wear a bra or bathe for days at a time, or can’t remember something she did five minutes ago.
I mean, it goes a long way to say, I’ve volunteered for things and never been asked to do so again because for whatever reason, I was not up to the challenge. That’s beyond sad.

So…In addition to getting little sleep, having anxiety and paranoia that cripple me most days, and the abrupt mood crashes that put me in “I wish I’d just die” land…My stability of income is now in the hands of some review committee who can contact a doctor who spends all of five minutes a month with me.
I LIVE this, it seems so unfair for everything to hinge on such frivolous determinations.
The fact I can’t even go out for a meal or visit friends without it becoming this anxiety filled experience tells me all I need to know. That and the days when I spontaneously combust into tears I can’t even explain.
Stability is not my middle name.
Truth be told, I have tried to find work. I even submitted some writing samples in hopes maybe I could get paid for doing a mental health blog.
I was rejected and it wasn’t because I’m not a good writer.
It’s because I can’t stay on topic.

Which I have talked to the shrink about and he keeps saying it’s all anxiety yet he has done nothing to quell the anxiety and by increasing my prozac dose to once a day instead of twice, I am experiencing the night time depressions where it’s like the floor falling out from under me.
So do I claim I am “doing Better”, “the same”, “or worse.”
I mean, I face perjury charges if I lie.
And I am obviously not better but I’m not the same either, but I’ve been much worse.
What’s the right answer?
Have I discussed employment with my doctor? Um I told him I can’t even think of getting a job because I am rejected even for volunteer work, I am so…messed up.
Should I just print this page out and send them a copy?

I’m at a loss. I just know, I am definitely worse than I was last time I was reviewed. When your idea of a successful day is bathing and putting on a bra…Well, that sounds like depression even if you are out of bed.
For now…I breathe. I am in for a long haul and I won’t rest until I know one way or another. Which last time meant eight months of paperwork, seeing their psychologist, waiting…
Not good for an anxiety disorder rampant like mine.

I remember once reading about a woman who was charged with a fraudulent disability claim because she posted a picture on Facebook of herself in a swimsuit at the beach.
So if I have a good day or two, I’m a fraud?
And frankly even my “good” days are riddled with mood swings and anxiety attacks and paranoia so do I even have good days or just days I manage to get through?
All I want is to be honest about my condition.
Honesty, unfortunately, does not always mean the truth is seen and understood.

So…I fill out the paperwork and live in agonizing anxiety (more) until I know yay or nay. Just when I dropped my guard and thought it couldn’t get worse…
Ha, it did.
My lizard brain may help me go through the motions of routine, but my mentally ill brain…is going to give me another ulcer.


One Response to “Under Review”

  1. I got my review letter last year. One thing I learned is that you need doctors and professionals who document even what color you piss to satisfy the ever demanding standards of SSA employees. I am sitting at a reconsideration, after they cut me off, with a lawyer.

    Good luck.

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