I’ve been hosting a new mental illness friend that goes by the name Anxiety. He has been with me for about 2 and-a-half months now and I really wish he’d go away. I don’t remember inviting him over, and I certainly didn’t intend for him to make himself at home. Something’s got to change!
I have evaluated where I think this anxiety took root and it is in uncertainty of the future. Whenever I think about the future my chest and arms tighten up and then I begin vibrating like a personal massager, fast, intense quivers that impact my breathing and my comfort.
It has been 8 months since I held my last job. It was a job I found a lot of pleasure in despite the fact I would sleep whenever I wasn’t there (and I was only working part time). It was exhausting but being with people was good for me, invigorating. And I had a sense of purpose which, if you ask anyone who’s off work due to disability, is hard to hold onto.
Finally the anxiety was getting to be too much and I had to make a change. I had started putting feelers out for under-the-table jobs and one of those feelers offered up a real job that seemed a perfect fit albeit fully legitimate. The job was less than 3 miles from my home (which is ten minutes from the nearest store or gas station). They needed someone only 2 days a week and were paying minimum wage (which is all I can afford to take without losing my disability). Having my disability is important. I have about $20,000 worth of medical appointments a year (that includes counselling of course) and my medication expenses are over $2000 a month if paid out of pocket.
I was excited about this job because it would give me some extra padding and release some of the anxiety I was feeling about money. Most of my possessions are in storage right now ($200 a month) and I begin every month 400 dollars in the hole. Disability pays next to nothing — all of those people that think we choose not to work and that we think disability is better is wrong. Disability is barely survivable. I am maintaining because I have no rental costs thanks to the generosity of a good friend, #I’mBlessed.
And disability does allow us to work, as I suggested, but we have to work beneath certain income limits 1170 per month currently. One of the things I finally got around to doing, after about 8 years of attempting to do it, was send off my request to have my student loan debt forgiven. That government program allows permanently disabled individuals to be released from their student loans (which otherwise is a lifelong, ever-growing debt). My student loan began 20 years ago at a grand total of $12,000. It has now amassed due to compound interest to be nearly $40,000. It grows faster than I can keep up with and my disability ensures that I will never be able to pay it off. So after years of asking for the application and one denial, I got around to sending in the forms again.
And then I waited.
I grew impatient.
In the meantime I learned about a court reporting school that is cash only and affordable to most at $350 per month and no contract. What I needed was $350 and I’d be back in the sunshine of moving forward with overcoming my financial burdens. My plan was that I would find a way to make that money and then have the student debt forgiven. Then when I was well enough and retrained in my profession I could return to work without any debt and start life new and maybe eventually be able to afford to buy my own place and sail onward from there! Aren’t dreams nice?
Come to find out the Department of Education’s plan for debt forgiveness does not allow you to work at all. Not one day. Sure you can volunteer for stuff but you cannot collect monies for it. I didn’t learn that straight up either. I learned it during the process of obtaining it.
Last week I started a new job. Wednesday I worked five hours. Thursday I worked five hours. And Friday I worked 2 hours. DAMNIT! Last night I learned my application for student debt forgiveness was approved.
Dilemma! What to do? Had I already fucked myself over? I don’t know. But today I quit that new job which allowed me to see a change in my daily behaviors and know that soon I’d be feeling a sense of purpose again. Just goes to show you, sometimes a good change can throw a monkey wrench in your plans!
Now I’ve got to recontact social security and tell them that job I started last week didn’t work out so I can reapply for SSI and see that they pay me my full benefits as of course for once I was prompt at follow through and got those benefits hacked.
Now I’ve got to do as Socrates said and embrace this new change yet again. Put my energy in the positive… I will be debt free in 3 years. No more 40,000 pound monkey on my back. Will I survive 3 years without purpose? I don’t know. I’ve got to learn to try and find purpose and things to keep my brain active without a job.
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