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Thread: Getting on ODSP

  1. #1

    Getting on ODSP

    Hello there. My name is SJ and I have agoraphobia, depression with gastritis and irritable bowel syndrome. I've had these disorders for 12 years (I'm 24) and have been receiving accommodations with school to deal with absenteeism. I've tried about 5 different types of anxiety medications over the years and determined that they don't work for me. I also have a history of drug abuse and would rather not take them. Last year, in order to help myself get onto ODSP I began to take meds again. After three weeks of constant, terrible diarrhea quit the meds. I also was rejected by odsp.

    My problem is proving I have a serious disability. Because of the nature of agoraphobia it appears as if I am well because I am not seeking help when it's usually when I am at my best that I am able to make it to therapy or doctor’s appointments. I've also apparently gotten too much therapy and no longer qualify to get it from cam H (I had weekly sessions for 10 sessions). Whenever I ask my doctor to find me a therapist, she pretty much blows me off. I told her to find me a therapist a year ago...she never found one. I had to go into the cam H emergency room to get any attention at all. I've lost 20 pounds in the past 2 months because I've been having panic attacks so much and not eating, but as the date for my appointment with my doctor approaches I've put enough on that I would no longer be consider anorexic (according to body mass index) but we'll see if she notices. I also have a habit of not sleeping for days on end. I also have just been diagnosed with advanced periodontal disease because of poor oral hygiene ( I just can't be bothered to wash). Even after being showed the holes in my jawbone, I still just...don't care when I'm depressed. I've started to pick at my gums until they recede.
    I just completed my BFA and because I can't work but don't qualify for ODSP I took a minor so i could live off of osap. I've already had 6 absences (they fail you at 3) and just contracted h1n1. I'll probably have to drop this semester. In high school, I dropped out three times because of the panic attacks. I also have quit two jobs in the past two years because of panic attacks and calling in 'sick'. However, I have no way to prove that there was any relationship between my decisions and there being a disorder.

    Last year when i applied to ODSP it became clear to me that my doctor discriminated against people with psychological disabilities when she literally said to me that odsp was for people with "real disabilities" and then listed what she thought was real. (apparently I got 3000 worth of disability bursaries for my 'not-real', 'unverifiable' disability)

    ANYWAY, for the past 5 years I've been trying to get help from cam h, my doctor, my therapist, my school councillors, my school nurse, my parents, the government to deal with my impending financial situation. They all tell me I'm fine. Even my parents, who have been there for 10 years holding my hair back while i vomit and other sorts of nastiness say I don't qualify because apparently I'm still functional. I am about to go out into the real world and I have 15,000 worth of student loans (and will have much more after two more years)

    All I want to do is make sure I don't starve while paying off my loans. I strongly believe that it's imperative I get financial help, above all else, to improve my health and standard of living. This is not an imagined scenario (I am not being illogical, paranoid or unreasonable) please don't say anything that may be informed by CBT or positive thinking. I've had 12 years of that and it's not helpful. I guess what I need is someone to tell me what I can and can not use or should or should not say when I re apply for ODSP.
    I'm just sad and angry that, as I get older, the people around me who have the power to help believe more and more that I'm ok, even when I say I’m not as I increasingly become less and less ok.

    sigh....that was long....

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  3. #2

    Re: Getting on ODSP

    What you need for ODSP are

    • clear and detailed documentation from a physician (and any psychologists you may have seen) of significant ongoing/chronic impairment of ability to work
    • clear and detailed documentation that you are doing everything possible to address your impairment
    • probably clear and detailed documentation that you have not declined some form of treatment likely to reduce or eliminate your impairment

    If you are not taking medication for your condition, not in psychotherapy, and able to make progress in your educational program, in all likelihood that will be viewed as evidence of inelgibility for ODSP.

    Your doctor is correct in a sense: ODSP is intended to help people with serious physical or mental disorders who are not able to work. It is not easy to meet the criteria for ODSP and that is by design.

  4. #3

    Re: Getting on ODSP

    I am aware what's required for ODSP and of what type of person ODSP is for. I've obviously come to the conclusion that I am that type of person. .. I need some advice specific to my situation. That's why my post was so detailed.

    When I applied to odsp I was in psychotherapy and on medication.

    If I don't have a therapist how do I get a therapist to write something? If my doctor doesn't believe me when i relate symptoms to her, how can I trust her to fill out the forms? If my agoraphobia is so bad that I can't even make a phone call, how do I get myself a therapist? If whenever I ask for help I'm turned away, why would i continue to pursue it? How am I not participating in the the system when I walk into cam h and say "I need a therapist cause I wanna kill myself" and they say "sorry you've used up all your credits here, go somewhere else."

    "able to make progress in your educational program, in all likelihood that will be viewed as evidence of ineligibility for ODSP." I know people who are on ODSP who are getting straight A's and not having a single absence in a semester, who are no longer medicated OR in psychotherapy but because they are schizophrenic continue to be supported.

    Also, when I went to cam h the first time and they hooked me up with someone, they weren't even qualified to fill out an ODSP wtf is that?

  5. #4

    Re: Getting on ODSP

    I'm not attacking you and there's no point in getting irritated with me. I don't work for ODSP and I don't set policy there. I'm simply trying to acquaint you with reality.

    Schizophrenia is a debilitating and life-long condition, where there is no cure - only maintenance. You're not in that category.

    The conditions you mention, while debilitating, are treatable. That's what I posted what I did earlier.

    You may have been in therapy and on medication earlier but I gathered from your first post that neither is the case currently. Consequently, reapplying or appealing at this point is pretty much futile.

    As I see it, you can do a couple of things:

    • ask your physician for a referral to a psychiatrist - that will take time but will help if you do meet the criteria for ODSP
    • revisit the issue of medication - there are numerous choices, so if you had adverse side-effects with one, try another
    • look for a private psychologist in your area, at least while you're waiting for the psychiatric referral, since that will almost certainly take time - go through the Yellow Pages and call or email psychologists to inquire about their availability and fees - do the same with psychiatrists (I do know someone in the GTA who found herself a psychiatrist who was taking new patients that way and that was just a couple of months ago)

  6. #5

    Re: Getting on ODSP

    dude, I'm not irritated AT you, I have swine flu and have been awake since 8 am yesterday...I just don't want valuation judgements about how sick I am or am not.

  7. #6

    Re: Getting on ODSP

    Ok. But it's actually Dr. Dude.

  8. #7

    Re: Getting on ODSP


    I am on disability, in a different province but I imagine the criteria is similar.

    I don't think Dr. Baxter was judging whether you are sick or not he was just telling you exactly what you will need in order to get on ODSP.

    You will need a diagnosis and actual professionals to give documentation to ODSP that you are unable to support yourself. It is definitely not as easy as going in telling them your problems and getting assigned a case worker.
    I had two psychiatrists, my psychologist and my worker providing them with all they needed. I think if you can get some professionals in to help you it will be much easier, otherwise you going in alone really is not worth it. You say your Dr. doesn't believe you, could you not get a new Dr.?

    BTW:Schizophrenics will always be supported.

  9. #8

    Re: Getting on ODSP

    Hi SJ.

    Have you also considered maybe trying online or phone therapy? This way someone will have experienced all your symptoms? Since you said you can only get to therapy when you are well enough to go out, which is understandable with Agoraphobia.

    I also find it difficult to go out at times, although not diagnosed with Agrophobia. Is it possable to have someone go with you to therapy or to the doctors when you aroraphobia is bad? Are there anythings, even if they might seem silly that could offer you some comfort for the trip to the doctors? Maybe treating yourself after your appointment to your favorite snack etc?

    I find when I have to go out somewhere and I am afraid, if I can at least anticipate after I am done there will be a "treat" of some sort for me, it helps (I know this might sound silly) often times I will "treat" myself to a drive to the lake even.

    I agree that trying to get a psychiatrist is a great idea too, they are very helpful in the Pharmacology aspect of treatment.

    by the way, to Psychlinks

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