Sweet Relief

The news I’ve been waiting for arrived this morning: Social Security has decided they don’t need to review my disability case after all. Evidently the form I filled out along with my statement about my various medical problems was sufficient for them to continue benefits. Hallelujah!

Now maybe those stupid dreams about working in the hospital will go back to whatever rock they hide under most of the time. I’ve had them for years, but they increased when I first got the letter about the review and they really are distressing. I literally wake up thanking God the nightmare isn’t real. You don’t suppose PTSD exists in nursing?? I never put two and two together until a friend of mine pointed out that she thought the dreams were related to my stress about possibly having to go back to work (at what, who knows?). It makes perfectly good sense when you think about it; how come I wasn’t smart enough to figure it out? I don’t suppose it matters; what does matter is that I’m going to be OK for the foreseeable future.

They (SSA) didn’t say when they would look at my case again, but if it’s the usual three years I’m home safe because I’ll be 62 then, which I’ve been told is when disability reverts to normal Social Security. So in theory, I might never have to worry about finding and holding down a job again in this lifetime. Doesn’t mean I won’t try if at some point in the future I feel I’m capable of working; it just means that I won’t HAVE to. I’m not going to assume that’s the case, of course, but the truth is, they probably think I’m too f#@%ed up and too old to rejoin the rat race, and to be honest I have to agree.

I’ve asked myself a thousand times if I really, really needed to be on SSDI because I’m not blind or in a wheelchair…I was always a hard worker, sometimes to my detriment, and I still believe anyone who CAN work, should. I wish I didn’t have all this nonsense that prevents me from thinking clearly enough to work, I wish I didn’t have physical limitations either. It’s embarrassing to have to tell the front desk girls at my doctors’ offices that I’m on Medicare because I get disability. I look fine, I’m able to get around under my own steam…how come I can’t work? I bet people wonder about that, at least for the brief time we spend discussing it. You’ve heard the term “invisible disability”, well, that describes me perfectly. You can’t see arthritis or bipolar disorder. You can’t see joint damage or memory loss or anxiety. But they exist just the same.

Thank God the SSA acknowledges this, even though the burden of proof with an invisible illness is pretty heavy. I’ll never know how much paperwork my psychiatrist and primary care doctor had to submit on my behalf because I had an attorney to deal with all of that, but it obviously was enough to merit disability payments. And now I won’t have to worry about being cut off with no income and no health insurance to pay for the medications that keep me sane and alive. It’s all good.

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.

4 thoughts on “Sweet Relief

  1. Glad to hear this. I was in this situation myself, and it is very confusing and brings up ghosts from the past. In my opinion something like PTSD can happen from working. I said to my therapist once, I felt like I got PTSD from working myself, so you are not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yep. We have invisible disabilities and are judged because we “look fine.” We’ll, we are not fine. Glad to hear that your anxiety about the SSDI interview has lifted.

    As to PTSD regarding your work as a nurse, I used to work with severely emotionally disturbed adolescents (SED) in residential treatment. When speaking with my friends who worked with similar populations, my work Day seemed normal. When I started to go to church and talk to people who didn’t work in social services, I noticed their reactions to the stories I told (protecting patient identities). Only then did I realize that I worked under tremendous stress in very unusual and frankly dangerous circumstances. In fact, my long-term boyfriend asked me not to talk about my work. He said he didn’t think it was safe for me to do home visits in the housing projects and didn’t want to hear about it because he couldn’t stop me or protect me.

    Liked by 1 person

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