This is depressing.
I went to see the government-appointed psychiatrist today to be evaluated regarding my disabled status, and the guy was focused on asking me about depression and anxiety. His first question was, “How long has your depression been causing problems for you?”
I get it. I do. Depression is the leading cause of disability. However, I’d like to believe that the examiner was capable of reading my file before I arrived. Instead, he just went with the odds, and they misled him.
“I’m not depressed. Um… I’ve had mental issues my whole life. I think I used to be depressed a long time ago, like in high school.”
“What about anxiety? Do you ever have thoughts of things going wrong just flooding your mind?”
“No, never.” Wow, this was not going well.
“How about safety? Do you feel safe in your house and your neighborhood?”
I refrained from telling him that I used to be known as the Ambien Walker, the woman who’d get doped up on Ambien before bed and stagger to the local drugstore at 3:00 AM in search of junk food to sate her Ambien-high’s need for snacks. Safety?! What, me worry? If anyone were to accost me, even if I were under the influence of Ambien, they’d be walking funny. I’m one person who you don’t want to mug.
I also bit back a joke about spontaneous sidewalk geysers. You know, like how you’re walking down the sidewalk, and all of a sudden, flames burst up from a huge gaping maw that appears in the sidewalk. Chunks of asphalt fly through the air. If I’m ever worried about anything at all, it’s that.
“I feel safe all the time,” I admitted. Kiss of death. I could feel myself losing my disabled status.
“Do you ever hear voices or see things that aren’t there?”
No, not really, but I used his question as a launching pad to try to explaing about my mental illness. “I don’t technically hallucinate, but I perceive a lot of energetic pollution,” I explained. “And when strangers or coworkers look at me, I feel as if they can see into my very soul, and it feels intrusive and uncomfortable. My coworkers quit seeming human and start seeming like animals or space aliens.”
He reacted as though this was totally normal and commonplace and entered some notes into his laptop. “Energetic pollution, and… what?”
“Seeing into my soul,” I repeated.
Type, type, type. “Seeing… into… her… soul. Thank you.”
I nodded and smiled.
(When I narrated this part to my dad later, he said, “Perfect! That sounds totally insane. Good job.” And I was like, “Eh.” And I shrugged.)
“Do you use a cellphone?” he asked.
“No. I do interneting at my box computer.”
“Is it because of your paranoia?” he asked.
Interesting question. I hate the idea of having a cellphone because I know they’re tracked and used for evidence in murder investigations (gee, Meg, maybe just don’t kill anyone…) and that sort of thing. But I told him that I have ergonomic issues and need a huge keyboard, mouse, and monitor. All true.
“How often do you take a shower?” he asked.
“I forced the issue last night because I was seeing you today,” I told him, “but prior to yesterday, it had been two weeks.”
“Is this due to your paranoia, or is it motivational?”
“It feels motivational,” I said. “I have to give myself a pep talk to get into the shower already. Like, come on, Meg, you can do it.”
And that made me realize that I do have symptoms of depression even though my mood’s usually fine. People associate depression with low moods and low energy levels, but in some ways, I guess I am depressed. That, or I really hate taking showers for unknown reasons. (With me, anything’s possible.)
“Do you ever get out with friends?”
“I have a lot of internet friends.”
“Let me guess. You’re in your room at the computer all day, aren’t you?”
“Yes, pretty much.” Wow, that was bleak.
“Do you read or watch television for entertainment?”
“I write novels,” I told him. “Reading’s hard because I can’t focus on books due to my medications.”
“But you can write?”
He snickered, as if my inability to read was nullified by my ability to write. I used to enjoy reading, people!!!
He told me three words (common nouns, I believe) and had me say them back to him. He said he’d ask me to repeat them in five minutes, and then he spent five minutes asking me basic trivia questions. Then, when he wanted to hear the three words again, I could only recall two of them.
My short-term memory is dead. I’ve been aware of this a lot lately. I hope and pray that it’s due to side effects of my meds. Oftentimes, I’ll find evidence that I did something five seconds ago, and I’ll search my memory, but any memory of having done it is gone. Like, literally gone. It’s almost concerning.
So… where does this leave me? If my disability gets lost, I’ll have to appeal the decision and pay lawyer fees. My dad’s a lawyer and probably knows some lawyers who do disability claims. He himself isn’t into that branch of the law.
It’s weird because there are stereotypes of mentally ill people as being depressed. Depression is the number-one cause of disability, but I’m mentally ill without being depressed or anxious; and I feel as if I fell through the cracks of the system today, which is upsetting. My cheery nature and good attitude don’t scream mental illness. But my positivity can’t just magically undo the fact that I can’t function in the workplace. It doesn’t work like that. And on the other side of it, I refuse to be unhappy all day long in order to “prove” that I can’t work. But trust me. I can’t work. It’s not a question of anything, really.
In fact, if my disability gets taken away, there’s a huge likelihood that I won’t try to get a job for income. I like myself, and I like my life, and the distinct possibility that I can go from happy to dangerously suicidal in less than a week of going to work (not exaggerating) is terrifying and not worth any paycheck I could ever get. I have a great support system now that I never had before, but that support system would be overtaxed by day 2.
And then… I’m jealous. Okay? I’m just going to own this. Do you all know my friend Ash, the psychic? Well, she’s no longer my psychic. Why, pray tell? Because she’s become quite successful. Our conversation went like this earlier today:
“I need one of those pendulum yes/no readings,” I said. (I was wondering how the disability thing would turn out.) “What do those cost, like, eleven dollars and eleven cents?” (Ash loves the number 1111, for some reason. I think it has something to do with twin flames, but I’m not certain.)
Her response: “Oh, sorry. I don’t do any readings for under fifty-thousand dollars anymore.”
I was flabbergasted, but this explains her post about moving to the penthouse of her apartment complex. She wasn’t kidding!
I told my dad, and he said, “Please don’t buy any fifty-thousand dollar readings from her.”
And I was like, “Really? Really, Mr. Brains? Really? Where am I going to get fifty-thousand dollars?! Eleven dollars, fifty-thousand dollars. Eleven dollars, fifty-thousand dollars. Huh. Even I, as terrible as I am with money, sense a slight disparity there.”
Maria, if you’re out there reading this, I’d love for you to be my Tarot reader from now on. I was already loyal to Ash when I met you, but she’s moved onto better things.
So, yeah, I’m mildly jealous of Ash right now. (That’s an accurate portrayal. I’m not prone to envy.) Giving someone psychic readings for $50,000 would be too much pressure for me to handle, so I don’t really envy her for it. (To clarify, I’m not wholly certain, but I think she’s giving people as many psychic readings as they want for $50,000 a year, and she’s got at least one taker.) Good grief. What if she angers her client, or something? What if she doesn’t tell him what he wants to hear? I’m glad it’s her and not me.
I’m also sort of offended that she sees me as being small beans. She can’t do a pendulum reading for me? I’ve helped her become successful by leaving her glowing reviews and that sort of thing. I’ve also bought expensive readings because I assumed (quite wrongly) that she was struggling financially, and I wanted to help. Her parents sort of kicked her out and she moved to an apartment in Orlando where she was jobless (except for the psychic thing). Like, I bought a $75 natal birth chart. That was largely a generosity thing, because I can calculate my own birth chart stuff, I’d imagine. But of course there’s no way to get recompensed, so live and learn.
But I’m not too miffed because I suspect she’s feeling a tad bit overwhelmed. I know I would be.