I’ve had time now to reflect on both the game-changing appointment with Dr. Awesomesauce and the death of Robin Williams, and between those events and my chronic worries, I’m feeling sort of, well…..squirmy.
It’s hard to describe, this restless, inwardly agitated sensation; it’s not depression, and it’s certainly not mania. In fact, it doesn’t really have anything to do with my illness at all. I just feel like I’m on the precipice of some major alteration in the course of my life, and I don’t know what to do with the accompanying emotions.
Don’t worry, I’m not contemplating anything foolish, like dinking around with my meds. Far from it. I got that out of my system in my last post, and I apologized if I scared anybody. A dear friend of mine told me that sometimes I do scare people when I talk about certain subjects, and all I can say is, by the time I get to writing it down the danger has usually passed, and sometimes I’ve even figured out how to handle whatever prompted it. Even the times when I talk about death, it’s basically only a thought that I’ve let out for a little stroll…..and believe me, if I’m talking about it, I’m not going to do anything about it.
I think I am going to file for disability though. In a way it feels like I’m giving up on myself, and of course there’s the discomfort about living off the taxpayers…..although as more than one person has pointed out, I’ve paid into the system for 35 years. I’ve gone so far as to contact an attorney who specializes in disability law, and she thinks I should get benefits fairly easily because of the combination of physical and mental problems I have. She’s being realistic in that most people are denied the first time they try, and said it will probably take quite a long time to see a check; but there’s no question in her mind that I’m disabled enough to qualify.
I’m not sure how I feel about that. In one sense, it’s a relief because it validates my experiences with my illness and the world of work, which have not meshed well despite many, many tries. It also acknowledges that my physical issues (including aging) are a big factor and that I shouldn’t be expected to do strenuous labor, in nursing or anywhere else.
There’s only one problem: it feels like defeat. I have always prided myself on my ability to keep going in spite of my weight, my arthritis, my bipolar. No matter how much it hurt or how hard it was, I just kept pushing myself. But even though I’ve reached a place where I don’t have much pushing power left, I’m still in denial…..I keep thinking I can do it, and that if I simply take myself by the scruff of the neck and make myself do it, everything will be OK.
Then I bump up against the reality—again—that there are limits to what I can do, and it will not go well for me if I keep trying to exceed them. That’s what my mind says; my heart still wants to go back to the way things used to be, even though I know life will never be quite the same again.
No, we really DON’T know what we’ve got till it’s gone. I just hope that whatever replaces my old life will be OK. I’m afraid to ask for more than that.