Revelations

Seventeen Years.  

Let that number sink in for a minute.  It may not seem like a huge number when you think about how humans are living to be over 100 years of age these days, but it’s a decent chunk of time, right?  I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder seventeen years ago.  I was sixteen years old.  In the past few weeks I’ve had some serious revelations in my life that were difficult to swallow, but they have given me a healthier perspective.   

It has been nine years since I graduated from college.  I have been struggling to find and sustain a full-time job ever since.  There have been very few job interviews I’ve attended where I’ve not gotten the job.  I have a great education, I am an intelligent woman, I work very hard, and I am passionate about doing well as a professional.  Yet, the longest I have held down a full-time job in nine years has been eight months.  Until a few weeks ago, when I was (I believe illegally) terminated from my job, I could not understand the why of this seemingly unending pattern in my life.

I understand now.

I have such severe MDD that it is disabling.  I am disabled.  This is a revelation for me.  And until I just typed that ‘out loud’ I had no idea how difficult this would be for me to talk about.  It is something I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, ever admit before because I had the education and intelligence that I believed there was no reason I shouldn’t be successful.  I watched all of my friends from high school and college go on to build careers for themselves and I thought, “What am I doing wrong here?!”  I was terrified of being fired so I always made sure to quit all of my jobs as soon as things started to go downhill.  Mainly, I was afraid of having to explain to future employers that I had been previously terminated, or having to put it down on an employment application.  In fact, my most recent job is only the second time I’ve ever been terminated, I did not take it well.  Then again, I was also in the midst of a major depressive episode. Thus, bringing us back into the vicious cycle.

revelations

The girl in that photo did not see these revelations in her future, she did not have hope.

Being terminated was what it took for me to understand that it is not my fault that I have been professionally unsuccessful.  Even using the word, ‘unsuccessful,’ versus the word I have always used to describe myself – a ‘failure’ – is a huge step for me, another revelation.  It is not my fault that I was born with a body that doesn’t produce or hold onto dopamine.  It is not my fault that I was born with a body that produces too much adrenaline and therefore causes me to feel anxious.  It is not my fault.  I have fought this for so fucking long, and it has destroyed so many dreams I had for myself when I was younger.  It is not a battle for the weak or weary, and that’s one of the things I find so frustrating.  Most ‘normal’ people wouldn’t survive a day in my shoes yet they look at me cry and call me weak.  People think that just because they can’t see my illness it is a flaw in my character rather than my chemistry.  I will say it again – those same people would not survive one day living in my skin, with my chemistry.  But that is why I write because generally people don’t understand and the only way to educate them is by breaking our silence regarding mental illnesses.           

I digress.

So, I can finally admit to myself that I have a disability.  With the support of my husband, family, friends, and (hopefully) my doctor I am going to apply for social security disability benefits.  That’s not to say I’m giving up on working altogether.  I don’t think I could stand being home all day every day.  It would, however, reduce my stress by roughly ninety percent or more.  

My husband and I live paycheck to paycheck, we live in a POS rental that won’t stay cool during the summer (we’re talking upwards of 86 degrees in our house during the summer and our electric bill is $300/month year round), and my medical expenses are outrageous.  The most I’ve made since living in Florida (full-time) is $11/hour.  Thankfully my husband has a decent and stable job.  Up to this point I have put enormous pressure on myself to obtain and sustain a full-time job so we can make ends meet, eventually move out of this shit-hole and one day start our own family.  The only piece of that puzzle I’ve been able to complete is obtaining the jobs.  

Once again, it all comes down to hope.  I hope I qualify for SS disability benefits.  I hope I can then find a part-time job I enjoy.  I hope my new meds will continue to make me feel like a human who can function and actually live my life.  I hope one day soon my husband and I can move out of this place and start thinking about starting that family I mentioned.  I hope the pieces finally start falling into place.  Actually feeling hope is another revelation, for I haven’t truly felt it in so long I don’t know whether to say it has been months or years.  Whatever happens, these are huge revelations for me.    

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19 thoughts on “Revelations

  1. We have to stand in our truth. Even if it isn’t the truth we want it to be, we need to acknowledge it before we can understand who we are and what we need.
    I believe you are on that path and that is a very good thing.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Truths can be hard to accept and this one was very hard for me. It’s looking like the state won’t see in my favor. It feels as though this fight won’t end until it kills me but that’s not to say I will give up. Some days are just harder than others.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Its often both shattering and a relief when the mystery patterns in life come clearly into focus. And, so many find that label of “disability” terribly hard to accept. The last time I was on the point of being terminated, I asked if it was too late to resign. My boss, who really didn’t want to have to do it (complicated back story) said it wasn’t and we agreed a graceful exit was better for the team. That was along time ago. Thank you for your courage in facing your changes and writing this. reblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey lady. I can relate to your story a great deal. I graduated from university in 2007 and in 2008 I was completing a year at my first job win I became mentally ill. I have a depressive mood disorder and am severely fatigued because of that. I was lucky enough to have some money in the form of long-term disability from my job, but I was just starting out after moving from reception to a better job so I wasn’t getting paid much. In Canada we have CPP Disability. Canadian Pension Plan Disability and where I’m from they AISH for the disabled who can’t work. It is great have a bit of money each month but it is also limiting because I cannot make money without it being taken off what I’m already earning. I’m not sure if that’s an issue where you’re from but I’d check that out. Best of luck to you and your husband and I hope they accept you as disabled so you have some money to live on. It took me awhile to come to terms with the disabled label too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Getting assistance from the government is not looking good for me. I’m glad you were able to get the help you needed. 2008 was when I experienced my first major episode as well, it lasted about four years for me. I had a two and a half year reprieve and then it started all over again. Thanks for the well wishes, hopefully something works out.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’ve probably tried this, but maybe talking to a social worker might help? They might know of ways you can get funding since you’re unable to hold down a job due to your illness. Wish I could help you somehow. 🙏🏻💕

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this. It’s so easy to fool ourselves sometimes, but it feels amazing when we realize certain things about ourselves…even if they may be difficult, it feels good to know we know and then can move forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Recognizing something can be such a major hurdle, and can give you a fighting chance. My husband and I had our 17th wedding anniversary last year, so I know exactly how long it’s been for you.

    I’ll be praying about the benefits for you. I know lots of people get disability for lots of things, so be persistent and talk to a counselor or social worker. Your doctor’s diagnosis should go a long way toward that.

    You’re not unsuccessful. You have different obstacles. You’re on a different course, so you can’t measure with the same standard.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Despite the struggle, you persist. That is testament to your strength. To engage in the deep and powerful conversations we must be vulnerable and amazingly you do just that. Your huge insights are gifts, revelations from which you will flourish, I have no doubt. Best of luck to you and your husband, I’m sure this post reflects one step closer to an easier life. You are strong. Stay that way

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sounds like those revelations will help with more forward movement. Here’s hoping the new meds ease the changes. You are so strong and I admire your tenacity, especially as I know just how hard it can be some days. Like today, for me. Hugs n love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry to hear you’re having a rough day, my friend :/ As you and I have discussed many times, all we can do is keep moving forward and do our best to keep our heads above water. Love and hugs right back to you ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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