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Re: Raving SSI and other Ravens:-) Sabino

Posted by barbaracat on July 18, 2005, at 16:08:21

In reply to Re: Raving ravens :-) barbaracat, posted by Sabino on July 18, 2005, at 7:59:09

> >>I still get anxiety but considering some very anxiety provoking life situtations (husband out of work for 4 years, us living on my disability), it's manageable.
> << - Barbara
> Wow, now that's some serious stress. Having recently taken a couple of months off, and receiving only temporary disability, I can relate.

**When I first got real sick with fibromyalgia and had to quit work, my husband's company folded and he hasn't had a steady job since. I used to lay there in complete terror, with plenty of time to think and no energy to distract, catastrophizing what would become of us. It caused massive huge fights between us as well because I KNOW he could be trying a whole lot harder to earn his keep. It's the biggest most contentious issue between us in an otherwise good marriage. As it is in most marriages.

I'd say the stress caused by money is the root of all evils. It brings up every fear, every hot button, every insecurity. But I've learned so much in these 4 years about realizing when there's nothing I can do and remembering that somehow the bills get paid. We're not yet out on the streets and I can honestly say that our 10 cats have kept us from chucking it quite a few times. It's a radical training in trust that there is a power, force, presence that will support us if we learn to allow it.

> I recently closed on a house too (now there's a stressor), and just got internet service back again.

**Congrats!! Having your own home feels like such a comfort - it did for me. You're not at the mercy of a landlord and it feels so much more stable. Plus, the tax writeoffs can be significant.
> I recently quit Remeron and Effexor too. They were cognitive butt-kickers. Have gone back to a crumb of Paxil in the evening, with chipping away at Lithium during the day. I'm keeping my head above water.

**I recently tried Concerta because I've been suspecting for some time that I have comorbid ADD with the bipolar. I really did not like the feeling - more depressed. I think what I take to be ADD is actually just the distraction and stress that comes from good old stress. Besides, the last thing I want to do is add another med.

What I am going to do is go back down from 15mg to 8mg Cymbalta and INCREASE my lithium from 600 to 750mg. I believe more and more that lithium at just the right dose (I still maintain the 'therapeutic dose' is way too high) will turbocharge most ADs and keep things smooth but not duh! If Paxil works well for you, then keeping it at a real small dose and experimenting with your lithium should give you great results. I've heard of this being a very successful combo many times. I happen to really like Cymbalta, but only at very small doses. It gets weird the higher I go.
> Guess I was lucky, and did not get any horrible Effexor withdrawal, even after 2 months at mostly 150 mgs (a couple of weeks were at 225).

***I've heard that lithium will help some of those nasty withdrawals. Plus, you got on Paxil pretty quickly so it's not like you're without. It you haven't tried L-Taurine, it's a good adjunct, smooths electrical membranes.
> About the returning to work. Still don't know if I can make a go of that. I'm in IT, and we're changing over to a completely new system. I seem far less able to grasp new info than I used to.

**Yes, I was in IT also. I didn't mind programming (VB6) but would inevitably get promoted to a higherpaying but deadly for me project lead position. I liked the freedom and creativity of programming but the anal retentiveness and time management skills and multitasking of manageing projects I could give a rip about were the last thing I should have been doing. I could cope with it for a while but when my physical health and energy went when I developed fibro, my brain just frizzled. I could not go back to that corporate world full time if my soul depended on it. But it sure would be nice to find something else that makes money.
> If this isn't too personal, is the disability you receive permanent, or temporary? If I can no longer do my job, I may have to go that route myself.

*No, not at all personal and glad to be of assistance. It sounds like you've already been on short term, 12-weeks full pay disability at and now you're back at work expected to be all cured. If you can't and aren't, and if you qualify for long-term disability, you're in luck. It generally lasts 2 years at 60%. This is through your company's disablity insurance and has nothing to do with Federal Social Security Disability, which you also would apply for and which would be happening concurrently. The montly premium is based on your lifetime earnings, what you've put into it (FICA taken out of your paycheck) and basically entitles you to receive SSI benefits early. Generally, you have to reimburse your long-term disability company with your SSI premiums, but when long term runs out, you still have SSI disability.

SSI takes about 2 years from the point of application and involves gettting records from health providers, supervisors saying you haven't been producing, and anything that will convince a judge that you can no longer work full time at that kind of job or any job beyond your capabilities. It's pretty daunting, so...

GET A GOOD DISABILITY LAWYER!!!! Start the search now and make an appoinment. They work on contingency and can collect no more than $5,000. Since benefits are retroactive, by the time you're finally awarded benefits, that $5,000 will be a drop in the bucket and will be best investment you ever made. Trust me on this. SSI makes the process excruciating to weed out slackers and Disability Lawyers earn every red cent. Basically, you see their doctors who say there's nothing wrong with you, you get turned down twice and then you appear before a judge who reviews the synopsis of your case your good lawyer has prepared. If you get stuck and can't find anyone, let me know.

I'm on SSI disability, waiting to go through my reevaluation (1-2 years after benefits are granted) to determine permanent disability, for which there are great perks including educational retraining.

My main disability was fibromyalgia with secondary bipolar disorder. It was the bipolar that clinched it for me. I was concerned that my records might get out and make reemployment difficult ('she's a nutcase!') but the details are not in the public record. Bipolar disorder is considered a very serious disability in SSI so if that's your disorder, then milk it, buddy. Start amassing reams of paperwork from doctors, get your friends and family to agree to write backup supporting evidence. Very Very IMportant: Even if you have a 'serious mental disorder', if you're considered stable due to meds, you're considered fit for work. The fact that you've been having some real problems stabilizing on meds, frequent changes, relapses is VERY VERY GOOD. Play this feature up and drill it into your pdocs head as well as your lawyers. Between now and the time you're approved, you don't want to be convincing the powers that be how zippy and swell you're doing with your new meds. You want your lawyer to represent you as disabled and this is most effectively done if he/she sees you as such.

There's a lot of footwork that you have to do and if you're even mildly considering it, get started with finding a good attorney now and get the process rolling. You'll also get very good advice on what employers can and can't do during this period and how you should cover your fanny in the meantime.

I have to say that it's difficult to live on, a fraction of what you're used to, and if you can keep your job but be provided accomodation under the ADA that would be a good thing. But who wants to be accomodated and known as 'bipolar' in the workplace? Better to just get a less demanding, less stressful job. Evenso, SSI disablity is a great comfort knowing it's in process should you need it when the time comes. - Barbara
**Still in a slump but if I can force myself to get outside it gives more energy. All I have to do is recall the abysmal nightmare of my life not too long ago (before lithium) and I'm able to appreciate this little dismal blip as being lightyears better. - Barbara





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