Settling In

Now that the dust has settled from the initial euphoria of receiving my first Social Security Disability Insurance check earlier this month, I’ve begun to reflect on all that brought me to this place of (relative) peace and quiet. I can’t get over how relieved I am knowing that Will and I are going to survive…..not that we aren’t still poor, but much less so than we were on his SS alone. I honestly didn’t know how we were going to make it—we were down to our last $200 in savings—without having to give up our car insurance and/or the storage shed, which holds almost everything we own.

We don’t have to worry about that anymore. My income alone pays all the bills plus enough for food (we’ll be getting kicked off food stamps next month), while Will’s check can go for savings so we can get our own place one day. It does seem weird to be on Social Security this early in life; it fits oddly, like a dress with an irregular hem and sleeves that are a bit too tight. I’ve already learned to say “I’m a retired nurse” when asked my occupation, because saying “I’m disabled” opens up too many cans of worms and people always want to know what’s wrong. I don’t necessarily want to share that with the entire world. I know what got me here, and so do my readers.

I am amazed at how relaxed I’ve become since all this fell into place. I sometimes even wake up smiling because I no longer have to worry about finding a job, with all the attending anxiety and frustration. I busted my chops for six long months last year trying to find something I could do and applying for many jobs I couldn’t do, and I spent most of those months severely depressed. The depression itself finally lifted after we got moved in here in January and has not returned, but this is more than just not being depressed anymore…..this is called being happy.

The fact that I am still bipolar doesn’t even bother me so much anymore. Yes, this is a wonderful time for me and I know I’ll eventually cycle out of it, just as I cycled into it. I experienced a mild hypomania a few weeks ago, and of course depression always lurks in the shadowy recesses of my brain. But being so much more at ease with my life situation is doing great things for me, as is the fact that my meds are right. Finally. That last uptick in my antidepressant was the straw that broke depression’s back. I can hardly wait to see Dr. Awesomesauce on Monday and share my good news. Hey Doc, you cured me!

Now, I know better than to believe there’s a cure for my illness; but at last I’m settling in for the long haul and I’m not constantly fighting with it anymore. The med change helped that along, but not having to worry about losing everything we’ve acquired over 35 years of marriage or getting the car impounded for lack of insurance is amazingly liberating. 🙂


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.

17 thoughts on “Settling In

  1. Yay! I’ve been on SSDI for ten years. Took me some getting used to as I was only in my early 40s. Not sure whether I will remain on it forever. But, for now, it serves me well, and I do for others as I can. In fact, it has enabled me to do so.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. SSDI has saved me and my family, I’m so glad it is there for you too. I too have learned to say, “I’m a retired Electrical Engineer”, as “I’m disabled” can be so awkward. Sometimes they ask how I can be retired so young, as I’m only 53, and look about 40, I haven’t got a pat answer for that yet. I should work on it. BTW, I’ve been on SSDI for 10 years now.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Yes, I am also an “early retired teacher”. It’s been a definite confirmation that I am officially sick. I sort of needed that. If people ask why I am early retired I tell them it is to spend more time with my husband who recently retired. No one asks anything else.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I could use that too. My husband has cancer and spending time with him is more important than being gone 50-60 hours a week. Not that I have to justify it, but it’s true.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comments. I do feel more free now that i don’t have to keep hurling myself at brick walls all the time. I wish I could have maintained my career but I just couldn’t do it anymore. I don’t even feel guilty about it anymore now that the powers that be have agreed that I need the help.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I amazed by how many mentally ill bloggers parallel my own lifestyle changes. Bpnurse you seem to be most familiar having an abruptly early retirement from nursing and a husband who is struggling with cancer. I am amazed by how much our lives coincide.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wonder sometimes if the stresses inherent in nursing aggravate our illness to the point where we have to leave or we will be swallowed whole. You and I aren’t the only ones who couldn’t take it; I run a Facebook support group for nurses with mood disorders and there are four of us who had to leave nursing for the same reason. It’s probably a lot more common than anyone thinks.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Retired nurse. That is such an excellent idea. I’m going to use that from now on even through Im not retirement age. I’ve been on disability for almost 2 years and I’m still not better or used to being home!

    Liked by 1 person

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