• Quote of the Day
    "Too bad the only people who know how to run the country are busy driving cabs and cutting hair."
    George Burns, posted by David Baxter

stargazer

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As I mentioned earlier, I finally applied for SSI and SSDI about two weeks ago. Since it will take an average of 160 days for my claim to be processed, I told myself I would continue to look for work. Then I wound up interviewing for a pretty good summer job which, though only a 6-week job, is very high-paying. They liked me a lot at the interview, but they're also interviewing three others. I'm supposed to have an answer today, in fact.

My concern is, if I work and make significant money while waiting for the disability claim to be approved, isn't it going to lessen my chances of getting disability? This also gives rise to a philosophical issue. I feel as though I have to either put my heart into receiving the disability, and characterizing myself as disabled; or into working, in which case I can't really view myself as disabled. The truth is actually somewhere in the middle, I suppose. I think a lot of people with bipolar disorder do work and function well, but part of my problem seems to be that because I am currently without meds, the mood swings are experienced as more severe.

All that aside, I just wonder if I am ruining my chances of getting disability by working, even on a temporary six-week job; and if, by getting disability, I am perhaps ruining my chances of returning to work on any kind of permanent or well-paying basis. I'm a little confused about the whole approach.
 

ThatLady

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Hmmm. This temporary job...is there any chance it might become permanent? Another thing...would the increased income from this job help you to get back on your medications, thereby making it more possible for you to find meaningful work and continue to get better?

I don't really know much about disability, so I don't know if being on disability hampers your chances of getting a well-paying job in future. I do know that if you have a job, even a temporary job, it's a lot easier to GET a good, permanent job. Don't ask me why that is. It seems stupid, but it's true. :eek:
 

David Baxter

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I don't know how it works in the US, Stargazer. Here in Canada (or at least Ontario), disability isn't necessarily all-or-nothing. Once you are recognized as having a "disabled" status, there is also an acknolwedgement that the degree of disability can vary over time as well as from person to person... some can work short contracts or part-time, while others really cannot work at all. For those who are able to work partially, Ontario Disability has a a Supplement plan, where whatever you are able to earn is topped up to what they consider to be your living allowance (which usually is not a great deal of money).

You might want to ask someone in your area how they view short-term or part-time employment.
 

stargazer

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To address both your replies, I just learned that the same company who is considering hiring me for the summer job is hiring year-round. Since they already had my resume and references, I went ahead and applied for a position there. Also, a friend of mine who is on SSI and SSDI just gave me the number of a local person to call who can advise me as to the levels of disability vs. workability -- I don't think it's "all or nothing" here either. But if I *do* get hired full-time by the company, of course my preference would be to put my heart into the work, and as ThatLady says, I would be able to afford doctor's visits and medication in good time. I guess it will pay to keep all options open.
 

ThatLady

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In my experience, stargazer, it's always best to keep as many options open as you can. The more choices you have, the more chance you have of finding the best possible solution to your problems. I'm really keeping my fingers crossed for you, hon! :)
 

Peanut

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Good luck Stargazer! It sounds like you are really thinking through all of the different angles. I know that the process for elgibility/determination for SSI and SSDI can be very taxing and complicated. My entire family works for the state disability office so I get to hear all about it all the time. It's not an easy thing to sort through by any means...

Anyway I just wanted to express my support. They work for the state so I'm not sure how generalized their knowledge is across the US but if you have any specific questions I could try asking and see if they know. My mom's been working there for almost 25 years and is really a wealth of knowledge and everyone is always going to her for information and clarification (and she lives with me so it's easy access!). But it sounds like you may have already located someone locally so maybe you've got things straightened out already.

Good luck--I'm sure you'll make the right decision about the job. :)
 

Holly

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Good Luck Stargazer,
I just wanted to wish you all the best, it would be important to find out the process, I know in Alberta, you can only make so much income if you work. It is different in the United States. Take care ok :)
 

stargazer

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Thanks, everyone, for your support. And Toeless, thanks for the offer. I'll let you know if I need to ask some questions of your Mom. And by the way, I have *not* yet heard about the job, which probably means she's still phoning everyone's references. It's about 9pm here in California, so it's unlikely I hear back tonight, unless by e-mail.
 

stargazer

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It's occurred to me that there's a whole other level to all of this. It's one thing to get the doctor's appointments, the medications, and eventually the disability check. But does that solve the problem? When I first went to the County Mental Health Center, my overwhelming need was for someone to *talk* to. I find that on a forum like this, on the Internet, I simply don't open up. Who would? I can't just post what's going on with me, for everyone to read. I need to be sitting across from a therapist, saying, "Look, this is what happened to me, here's where I am now, so where do I go?" And I can't figure it all out inside my own head.

Anyway, they told me that it would be a lot easier for them to get a therapist to me than a doctor, but now they've given me this doctor's appointment, it's almost a month away, and I think they just forgot about the whole therapy thing. I just called them and left another message. I keep wondering if there's any other context in the community in which I can just show up and talk about my issues and not be judged, but be given ideas for direction and focus.

I guess I'm in the space where I don't trust that anything is going to help me. Sometimes I wake up in the morning, and I'm so frustrated with my overall situation, I can't see straight to make the next right choice.
 

David Baxter

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They may feel that getting you evaluated to go back on medication is the priority - and they may be right about that. However, there's nothing wrong with reminding them and requesting the referral to a therapist.

The only other option I can think of at the moment would be a support group - check to see of NMHA and similar groups has any support groups in your area.
 
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I find that on a forum like this, on the Internet, I simply don't open up. Who would?
Me. I guess I'm the opposite in that I don't think I can open up to somene in real life. It's easier here for some reason. I was hospitalized and in counseling years ago and I never was able to talk about my problems.

I guess everyone's different?

I keep wondering if there's any other context in the community in which I can just show up and talk about my issues and not be judged, but be given ideas for direction and focus.

What about some kind of support group?
 

stargazer

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Janet said:
I guess I'm the opposite in that I don't think I can open up to somene in real life. It's easier here for some reason. I was hospitalized and in counseling years ago and I never was able to talk about my problems. I guess everyone's different?

It might be that I was assuming everyone would know it was me who was opening up, in other words, that all these posts are traceable to my real identity in real life. I'd sort of forgotten that this was my choice to begin with, by linking to my web site and so forth (which initially was just in order to get web site hits--but now I've somehow started to open up a little more.) But believe it or not, that's all part of my issue, and all part of what I need to talk with a real-life therapist about. I'm sort of all weirded out about my relationship to the Internet, and to what extent it is hindering my real-world associations. (Not that the Internet is not part of the total "real world" -- but I think you know what I mean.)

In any case, I'm particularly disoriented this morning. I think, as Dr. Baxter says, they may be right in prioritizing the medication prior to the therapy. But I was also always taught (except by Kaiser) that medication alone without consistent therapy is insufficient. And it does seem to me that, while medication might be helpful or even necessary, there's no substitute for hashing out one's issues with someone whose purpose and training it is to deal with them effectively and provide ideas for focus and direction; i.e., a therapist.

Then again, once I'm working, my focus will again be on my work, and chances are I won't want to deal with my issues at all. They'll virtually have to creep up on me from behind and knock me flat. That's what happened last time, anyway.
 

David Baxter

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I think, as Dr. Baxter says, they may be right in prioritizing the medication prior to the therapy. But I was also always taught (except by Kaiser) that medication alone without consistent therapy is insufficient. And it does seem to me that, while medication might be helpful or even necessary, there's no substitute for hashing out one's issues with someone whose purpose and training it is to deal with them effectively and provide ideas for focus and direction; i.e., a therapist.

I totally agree.
 

stargazer

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Yes, that seems to be about where to frame it. I think that, in Kaiser's case, they're simply understaffed. (At least at the department where I was.) I recall there was an initial therapy benefit which I later lost, and it devolved into meeting with a psychiatrist four times a year, only for the purpose of renewing a prescription. The psychiatrist & I met for a half-hour and talked only about classical music during that half-hour, because we had a mutual interest. Occasionally, I'd bring up one of my issues, and she would reply that her function was only to dispense medications. (Of course, I'm sure she had her own issues.)
 

David Baxter

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The sad truth is that many psychiatrists do not do therapy at all. As in your experience, they review medications and change them or mix-and-match as required.
 
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It might be that I was assuming everyone would know it was me who was opening up, in other words, that all these posts are traceable to my real identity in real life. I'd sort of forgotten that this was my choice to begin with, by linking to my web site and so forth (which initially was just in order to get web site hits--but now I've somehow started to open up a little more.) But believe it or not, that's all part of my issue, and all part of what I need to talk with a real-life therapist about. I'm sort of all weirded out about my relationship to the Internet, and to what extent it is hindering my real-world associations. (Not that the Internet is not part of the total "real world" -- but I think you know what I mean.)

That makes perfect sense. :) I kind of get what you're saying about the Internet. I have worries about my relationship with it too.
 

stargazer

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Yes. And then, I tend to view someone like Dr. Baxter as an example of one whose relationship with the Internet appears to be very balanced. I like to think that once I'm working again, and I have less time on my hands, I too will be able to achieve a better balance. I do value my Internet friendships, but I start to worry when I feel that I am sending far more e-mails than I am receiving. This seems to indicate that most of the recipients are spending relatively less time on the Internet than I am. And that's a worry.

Also, and more to the point, there are a number of things I said and did when my initial manic episode was full-blown, for which I am still experiencing consequences, more than two years later. It was almost as though I required myself to converse with every stranger I met, and to engage them in conversation about my own interests, my own project, etc. It was all about me. And so, I fear that this will all come back at me somehow.

This occured both on the Internet and on the streets, while waiting for a bus or train, etc. It occurred in coffeehouses and even in the hospitals, when I could get away with it. And it wasn't just that I was being inordinately sociable. It was that the subject matter of these social interactions was always me, my project, and my delusion of grandeur. I honestly believed in those days that I was famous. I would often approach strangers and tell them I was a famous person. In reality, I'm not famous at all, unless I have a remarkable gift of enacting a self-fulfilling prophecy in this area.

In real life, I think they could tell that I was a little nutty, but on the Internet, I don't know how it came across. Plus, all those posts are still cached on search engines, and there's no way I can possibly remove them all. What I've done on the Internet is there forever, and it kind of scares me. Even if I've since cleaned up my Internet habits somewhat, Google's spiders don't seem to think so.

In short, I'm not paranoid: the spiders of Google really *are* out to get me.
 

David Baxter

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If you're mainly worried about Google, rest assured that most of those cached pages are probably disappearing along with many others since the infamous "Big Daddy" update. :panic:
 

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