That’s not a mistake—it’s shorthand for Social Security Disability Insurance. There’s a big difference between SSDI and SSDD (Same Shit, Different Day). Then again, there might not be.

I just got done filling out about 20 pages of information about my functional status and all the jobs I’ve held over the past 15 years. They didn’t give me enough pages for that. And how the hell am I supposed to remember how much money I made way back then? I did the best I could, until my hand started cramping and my handwriting looked like a four-year-old’s scribbles. Fortunately, my ability to focus has improved somewhat since my meds were increased, so I was able to get the job done in two sittings.

The hard part was making myself look as pathetic as possible without letting go of ALL of what little dignity remains to me. I don’t do the poor-poor-pitiful-me routine very well. But this is definitely not the time for false bravado—this is a time to talk about how much my illness has impacted my life, especially my work life, and I have to be brutally honest about my shortcomings in that regard. I have to make it known that I’ve lost several jobs and quit several others because I couldn’t play well with others, or because I became manic or depressed or anxious (or all three at the same time). I also have to spill the beans about my inability to handle stress, whether work-related or not.

To say the least, this makes me feel like the world’s biggest loser, even though in my heart of hearts I know I’m not. I hate having to depend on others to provide for me—I even applied for food stamps last week—because I believe I should still be working and providing for others. I don’t want to think I’m disabled enough to merit SSDI, but after the events of the past few weeks I realize how tired I am of fighting the truth. It doesn’t mean I have to accept the “loser” label, just that my circumstances have changed and I can’t change them back.

This reminds me of what it was like back when I stopped drinking. Once I finally realized that I really was an alcoholic, there was no unringing that bell—no going back to being in the dark about the disease or the fact that I had it. But for some strange reason, that was relatively easy to accept and it took me only about six months to stop feeling ashamed, and even to embrace it. Bipolar, on the other hand, has been ridiculously difficult to wrap my mind around, and it wasn’t until I received a definitive diagnosis that I finally—finally—“got it”. I wish it had happened sooner; I might have spared myself a lot of internal conflict and delusions of being in the middle of an existential crisis that would end at some point.

But everything happens for a reason, and perhaps the bipolar 1 label will help me get Social Security. Which would mean that I could stop looking for jobs I can’t do and not need to depend on others for support. I paid into the system for over 35 years; it’s not welfare or charity. I do expect to be denied the first time; it’s pretty common, and I know better than to expect a ruling anytime soon. I’ll probably have to see their doctors and/or psychiatrists, even though I’ve seen five of them in the past three weeks (including my own). But I’ll do what I need to. Because that’s how I roll.

Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

3 thoughts on “SSDI

  1. I just got denied this month. I am appealing. I hired a lawyer, just got all that paperwork which is about as much as I filled out the first time. Let me tell you the good and bad about hiring a laywer. The good thing is they get 25% one time of your first check and the maximum is $6,000. This reason for this is that it may take a long time to finally get it, and then they backpay you. So the sooner you get approved, the less you pay the lawyer. You can actually go to the SS web site and it will tell you how much you will get if you are approved. If Dr. Awesomesauce filled out his notes correctly, that will help a lot. If you look up Bi-Polar under Affective Disorders on the SS site, it will show you all the qualifications you have to meet to get SSDI. Being hospitalized will help your case. Good Luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Vicki. I’ll definitely go check it out on the SSA website. Someone told me in the hospital that having bipolar 1 makes my case stronger, and having been hospitalized and had *many* medication adjustments helps as well. I sure hope so!

      Liked by 1 person

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