Friday, September 17, 2004

Getting Up

Falling Woman Statue

I spent part of this morning crying in my attorney’s office. Not while he was in the room, of course, I don’t know him well enough to accept any attempt to make me feel better. It just struck me all of a sudden, that I am 55 years old and disabled. Yesterday I applied for social security disability, today I was discussing the possibility of disability retirement with my lawyer; it all seemed rather surreal.

 

Now, I know I am no more handicapped today than I was last week, when I was happily basking in my15 minutes of lesbian fame in J-Land. The pain is no worse, the exhaustion hasn’t changed, the brain fog that I struggle with is the same. Nothing has changed but my perception of my self. I simply stumbled over the edge of a concept, and fell again. This time flat on my face into misery.

 

I know lots of disabled people who get along just fine. Hey, I married to one, for Goddesses sake. My mother has one arm and I never realized until I was an adult that I grew up in “a handicapped household.” (The truth is, of course, that the household handicap was really emotional, not physical, but that’s another story.) I know people who have overcome incredible obstacles, and would never consider themselves handicapped. I ought to know better than to label myself.

 

Surely my working life is not over. Because I was a SAHM, so I didn’t even start that work-for-pay thing until I was forty and divorced. After 15 years, I finally had something of a career going, a state job, no less, with a good paycheck that enabled me to have a real savings account for the first time since the divorce. And I actually loved parts of what I was doing. What more could I want? (Besides less paperwork and more money, of course)

 

Sometimes I second guess myself and question my own experience. If I only tried harder, I’d be okay to work. A little pain? So what, just keep slogging forward. Brain fog? Find a job that requires no thinking. Exhaustion? Join the world, we’re a sleep deprived nation. Depression? Snap out of it! Just stop Dwelling!

 

Well, I do know I am somewhat dis-abled. I am not able to do a lot of things I could before. But despite being a cup-always-half-empty depressive, I do have some resources. I stumbled out of the attorney’s office and sat in my car. First I cried some more (I seem to do an inordinate amount of crying in my car these days), then I took stock.

 

I had asked the lawyer if I could at least volunteer some place, and he said yes,for a few hours a week. I decided to call the local women’s center on Monday. Then I drove to a small, very local Farmers’ Market and bought myself some flowers. From there I went to our local BBW clothing store and bought bits of a fall wardrobe I don’t need, spending money I can’t really afford. Retail therapy is not something I indulge in often, but it can be helpful. I began to feel better.

 

I am actually quite well off, if not financially. I have house to come home to, and Rene waiting inside the house. I have a great neighborhood to be out of work in, and it is my favorite time of year. I have friends and a support system, online and off. And I get to go on living, even if life is difficult at times. I do not know what tomorrow will bring, but then who does? Life is always lived without assurances.

 

Whatever the lesson I am supposed to be learning from all this, I will keep on keeping on. Tomorrow I may fall off the edge into the oblivion of permanent depression. Today I tripped over a concept and got back up.

 

Blessings, Margo

18 comments:

jadzia7667 said...

That's the spirit.....count your blessings, and do some volunteer work :)  Things work out the way they're supposd to, you know.  Goddess has plans for you, my friend :)

csandhollow said...

Now the real work begins. My friend just got her disability.. Took her 3 long years to get it. You fight girl and get what you desrve, You earned it.

ksquester said...

Gee, I don't view you as a victim at all. Somedays reality just SUCKS. Good things will come to you. YOU are a survivor. Anne

dizzydyke18 said...

SOmetimes dealing with disablities isnt easy... I'm still trying to deal and accept the fact that I am a 30 y/o disabled.. It can be very frustratung at times.. Sometimes I continue to try to act like I'm ok and try to do the things I used to until I put myself in more pain..  

slowmotionlife said...

Honey, I know this must have been hard for you.  It doesn't change anything.. it's just a label.. but it's a difficult transition to make.  Just remember that it only has power if you give it power.  For several years, my mother's health was declining and declining.  I think depression spurred it on and made it even worse.   She refused to admit she was handicap and ended up doing more harm to her body [trying to walk when she clearly couldn't.. broke her hip, etc.].  I think you're probably doing the best thing for yourself - however difficult.  ::hugs::

abeator81 said...

Brainfog sucks...I'm not registered disabled or anything but I have been ill for long enough now to know that in a way I am. My illness has affected my life so much and I cant do the things I used to love doing before I got ill.  I did have a time when I mourned my losses and got angry about having lost them but now I make the best of things. Maybe my life has changed, maybe I am different but maybe it's not all bad.  The aching, pain, fatigue and many other symptoms that I experience wont keep me from being happy...it's hard sometimes but I try my best. I hope things work out for you...best wishes, Amy

kathleenggoode said...

I do wish you well.  What I know about disability is that a large percentage of people are refused initially, even when they are clearly disabled.  Hence, the reason an attorney is often needed.  My father was not approved until his third request with an attorney and a series of doctor recommendations.  I am thinking about you.

hestiahomeschool said...

Don't let a label define you.  You are still you.

jeanno43 said...

That's the way Margo, count your blessings, give yourself little treats, it all helps. Oh dear, that statue, my body looks to be in about the same shape or maybe slightly worse lol.  Not very flattering is it? xxxxx

momdadat447 said...

Oh Margo sweetie keep your chin up :) I just dont know what to say you got people out there that refuse to work and then you have you that wants to work. Where is lifes lesson?! ~~Angela~~ (((((((HUG))))))HUG((((((((HUG))))))))

poetmom1968 said...

I love that you bought yourself flowers and an outfit.  You keep taking care of yourself like that and you'll see this through.  You're a strong woman and don't you forget it.:)
Steph

luckyismle said...

Sometimes we have to trip, the fact that you got back up is what is important. Take care, Darla

judithheartsong said...

I am so glad you got back up. I am a very different person than I was years ago....sometimes there is acceptance of the change... sometimes there is a fear of losing my mind. I guess every day it is just about trying. hugs to you today, judi

nurs4now3739 said...

Have the Doctors found a diagnosis? I only read a little about you but sounds like me before they found I had Fibromyalgia. E-mail me if you want.

ryanagi said...

Thanks so much for your visit to my journal. I'm glad I came looking for yours. Our lives are different yet similar. I hope you can work through your negative feelings over this "disabled" label and realize you have much to offer. Here's hoping we both find brighter days and better health soon. -B

anlaas said...

Hello! Just wanted to pop by and thank you for posting such kind and encouraging comments in my Journal, I really appreciate it.
What a fascinating read your Journal is. One of the things I love about Journals is that we get to dip into the lives of others - and find that although we may have differences, we are essentially the same. Human beings with cares and concerns. Many congratulations on getting your Journal featured by AOL, you have every right to feel excited and proud - I'll certainly keep reading!

valphish said...

Margo, thanks for visiting my journal and leaving the very nice comment!  I am also on disability.  To be honest, it was such a shocking time for me.  I actually grieved for awhile.  Great journal here!  Take care!  ~Val
http://journals.aol.com/valphish/ValsThoughts

indigosunmoon said...

Margo,
I so understand how you feel.  I haven't worked
since last October, and it's really taken it's toll
on our family.  For me, I feel worthless so often
because I can't work, and I know that my wife
is having a hard time.  She's wonderful to stand
by me through all this crap.
I hurt my back years ago, and had surgery in
December of last year, but I'm really not much
better.
So, as you can see...I totally understand how
you feel.
Great entry sweetie!
Lovish!
Connie