This morning, I wake full of possibilities. After a passable night’s sleep, my energy is the highest it will be all day. I’ve learned that having energy translates to feelings of hope, excitement about the coming hours, and an eagerness to get started.
My first thought when I wake up this morning is that today is the day my SSDI approval will come in the mail. It seems so right, so obvious. Of course it will come today. Deep in my core, I know it will happen – if not today, then definitely this week.
I have been having these same thoughts, this same surety, since summer solstice in June. It will come this week. Why wouldn’t it? The last piece of the puzzle will fall into place, and I’ll be able to move forward in my life, secure in my financial situation.
The Social Security Office offers an online way to check one’s application status. Mine has said the same thing for four months.
Now it’s halfway through September… five and a half months since I applied. Fall equinox is just a bit over a week away. Surely my approval will be here by the equinox. I push every other possibility out of my mind.
Like the woman in my mTBI group who just got denied two weeks ago. Or the friend’s brother who spent over a year trying to get disability and had to appeal the decision multiple times. Or any of the many horror stories I’ve heard when I tell people I’ve applied for Disability.
I actually don’t know anyone who has gotten approved for SSDI with Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS). Not one single person. Usually it’s cloaked in some other diagnosis like PTSD or depression. But I’m going for PCS a la carte.
In some ways, I take it as positive that it’s been so long since I’ve applied and they’re still processing my request. That tells me that they are having a hard time denying it. Because… duh… I can’t work right now and won’t be able to for several years. And the testing I’ve had shows limitation after limitation and clearly documents my lack. But neither of those logical things is why I hope they’ll approve me.
It’s the State of Vermont. When I finally had to leave my job, the Goddess blessed me and I was eventually approved for a disability retirement. Insofar as money, that translates into just enough to pay my half of the mortgage with about $30 left over to cover electricity, food, a car payment, and everything else. I am working really hard not to think about the thousand dollars or more I’ll need to pay for heat this winter. But, my point is, unlike most people – I have already been identified by a government agency as being disabled. Yay (!?!) me. I’m counting on that being my ace in the hole.
But this morning, I’m not thinking about any of that. I’m feeling. Feeling that hope that the last puzzle piece of my life will finally fall into place and I’ll be able to move forward with my new life.
A life where I don’t have to ask friends, family, and strangers for money, over and over again.
A life where I don’t laugh in dismay when someone asks me about my budget, because I’ll actually have income that needs managing.
A life where I can focus on what I can do, instead of all the ways I fall short.
Like, I made myself lunch yesterday. Yay me! I ate well and used the ingredients available. Yes, Mary decided for me what I was going to make for lunch. Yes, she wrote it down for me. Yes, she helped me think through the steps necessary to make it happen. It is still a success in my world. If I didn’t count successes that hinge on help from other people…well, I really wouldn’t have many successes to count. There are a few, though.
Like, I planted a beautiful English Lavender plant. The tag says that eventually it will fill a space four feet square.
Another success. Yes, it took me weeks. I’m only able to turn one or two shovelfuls of dirt over a day, and that not every day. Harvesting the worm castings, weeding out the invasive bishops weed, and picking out the broken glass in the soil took even longer.
But I did it. Success. Slow as molasses, painfully slow, but I was able to do something I wanted to do. Success. Certainly not at a speed that anyone would pay me for, but Success.
Like, this blog. If I had my druthers, I’d be writing every day. That’s what I’ve read good writers do – they write every day a certain amount, regardless of whether they’re feeling it or not. That is way out of my reach and will be for a while. I thought, however, once I stopped working I’d have a lot more energy and be able to post a blog once a week. Nope. Not a chance. I don’t want to feel crappy, to feel overstimulated and make my headache worse and lose my mental acuity for the day. But I do want to write. And I don’t have the patience nor the interest to do it by hand. So I write when I have the energy to tolerate the computer. Which, honestly, isn’t much. I don’t think I got on the computer for more than a few minutes this week… except today to write this blog. But, I am writing the damn blog. Success. The sentences make sense and the flow of the story is understandable. Success. I have an outlet to share my experience with the world. Success.
That is the life I want to live. A life of feeling successful. I know my limits, I live in this body and with this mind every day. I bump against my limits, repeatedly, in ways others can’t imagine. But, I don’t want to talk about those limits every day. I don’t want to have to try to make some government agency understand why I cannot work. I don’t want to highlight what I cannot do. I want to talk about what I can do. The life that I can live. the tasks, though small, that I can accomplish. The connection I can feel. The joy of living this life that is mine.