Hey all, I have been MIA for a while now, my daughter is home on summer vacation. Have been doing alright I guess. can’t wait for school to start and having my peace and quiet back during the day. Today was a really bad day. The past month or so I have been doing worse instead of better. Not really depressed or manic, but just apathetic and “numb” as my psychiatrist described it. Have been doing not well enough that my husband accompanied me on my last p-doc appt to voice his concerns. I feel so bad because he worries about me so much sometimes. My p-doc changed some of me medicines around at my last appt and my schedule is all messed up, I haven’t been sleeping well and am no longer on any kind of sleep/wake schedule. I have made myself a cocoon. I am to the point where I don’t really leave the house except to go grocery shopping once a week. I am not afraid to go out… I just have no desire to go anywhere.
We have stopped going to church on Sundays due to some conflicts and unfortunate events that have happened recently. About a week after school was out one of the men from our congregation had told my father-in-law that the school was contacting DCF (dept of children and families) regarding my daughter. My husband and I kind of brushed it off because school was over at that point… and this man has nothing to do with her school or DCF so there was no reason that he would have known this information before we did, especially because DCF in Florida is required to make contact within 48-72 hours after the abuse report has been filed. This same man had come to us about a year ago and said that some of the ladies in the church had come to him stating that they were going to contact DCF but he told us that he had told them to hold off and he would speak with us. We had told him then that there wasn’t anything that we weren’t doing for her.
My daughter has very bad eczema over a good portion of her body… and she scratches. A lot of her scratching is anxiety related. So her skin looks terrible most of the time, because she fights baths and fights prescription creams, and even over the counter stuff like Eucerin and Aveeno. The more we push it on her… the more she scratches. In the past few months she has taken to biting herself on her hands and arms to scratch herself. So anyway, we kind of poo-pooed the warning as nothing. And nothing came of it.
Well, my daughter and I went to CA to visit my mom the end of June for 10 days. Halfway through our vacation my husband calls and tells me that he found a note on the door from DCF. So he called the investigator back and told her that my daughter and I were out of state and let her know when we would be back. The investigator came and inspected our house and said it was fine, they just needed to see my daughter when we returned and that she needed to go in for a medical evaluation. So when we got back, she and I were both interviewed, and I took her to the Children’s Medical Services offices to be seen by the Dr. there. Medically she checked out: no signs of physical abuse. She exhibited some of the behaviors in the office of how she is at home. She got anxious speaking with the dr. and started absently scratching at her face. The dr flat out asked me if I thought that her scratching was partially anxiety related and I told her… absolutely it is. This is where I made a mistake. I told the dr. that there is a history of mental illness in my family and that I had bipolar disorder and ADHD, as well as anxiety/panic disorders. The dr. didn’t say much, but after that the case manager followed with a slew of questions about :who takes care of her during the day; have you ever forgotten her anywhere; how do you discipline her; does your bipolar affect your ability to care for her, etc etc etc. A few days later I got a call from the supervisor of the investigator asking questions about my bipolar, then asked to speak to my husband. She asked him questions about: What medications am I on; Do I take them; Do I have a pdoc/tdoc; who is my pdoc; again, etc etc etc. Questions about ME and MY illness. The case was closed out stating that there were no indicators of abuse or neglect either medically or environmentally and we washed our hands of it within 2 weeks.
So… back to how this involves our church. Our attendance had been sporadic since my hospitalization in February, as I became increasingly more anxious about people asking me questions about how I was doing.. etc etc etc. So we hadn’t gone for probably about a month, and then we went one Sunday morning. It was that same day at evening services that my father-in-law was approached with the “heads up” about the “school” calling DCF. Then 3 weeks later DCF actually showed up on our door. Now, the problem with this whole scenario is: we don’t’ go out anywhere. I am not working and waiting on SSDI so we have NO money to do anything. The only people we really see is my husband’s parents and siblings, who are in their late teens/early twenties. And people at church when we go. My husband called his parents when he got the note from DCF and flat out asked them if they had called in the report. They denied that they had, so that left only someone at church, and most likely the man who TWICE had told us that “other people” were going to or had contacted DCF. So we are fairly certain that it was this man or his wife who made the report. What is very, very sad is that the report stated that our house was filthy and that we didn’t’ bathe my daughter and she was always dirty. That she had medications but we refused to give them to her. That she was playing in the yard and got bitten by bugs because the grass was tall. (That one made me laugh – We live in south Florida. It’s HOT and HUMID and MISERABLE outside pretty much April thru September so we don’t go outside unless it is to the car. And because it is so hot and humid there are many, MANY bugs and if someone lives here and has never been bitten by bugs I would like to know what their secret is)
So, we have not been to church since then. I am sure that the people there think we are hiding my daughter away because she is so filthy and bruised and beaten that we can’t take her. Or we are hiding in shame. I’m just tired of people and their small=mindedness and judgmental attitudes. Especially from people who are supposed to be my brothers and sisters in Christ. People who act like they know better than you do because they simply don’t understand. I still have faith in God, I still pray everyday. I have seen and experienced so many terrible things in my life than I want to every explain to anyone. I feel the scars of my life with every breath I take. And I look at my daughter and I hope and pray that she will NEVER experience even a fraction of the things that I have been through. I never felt like I was a victim of stigma until the last couple of months. And it has come from a source that I thought was supposed to be there to support me in times of trouble as well as in times of joy. I never expected those people to be the ones to try to tear me down and shatter what is at the core of my very existence.
My daughter is the reason that I am alive today. And I told that to the investigator too. I told her that I had been hospitalized because I had planned and nearly carried out my own death. But I didn’t go through with it because I couldn’t bear leaving my daughter without her mother. My mom suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder (she wasn’t diagnosed until I was 16) but when I was 12 she put a gun to her head, but never pulled the trigger. Because of me. Because she didn’t know what would happen to me if she died. And I didn’t even live with her. I lived with my dad 1,500 miles away. It’s all more complicated than that, but that is not my story to tell.
I feel terribly for my daughter and the hurdles she has to face in the coming years. She is one of the most neurotic 5 year olds that I have ever met. I can’t even say that it is because of my neuroticism because I lived with my mom or dad or both until I was 6 and I don’t think I was neurotic as her, at least my mom says I wasn’t, and my mom has her own set of issues. My parents divorced when I was a baby/toddler, my mom was very young, my dad was/is a control freak, my mom got remarried when I was 3, … things that pretty much mess up a kid’s psyche. Point being: my husband and I have been married since before my daughter was born. We were 19, we owned our own home, we were mostly happy, she never needed or wanted for anything, if anything she has too much.
She is the absolute love of my life (when she is asleep, lol) she doesn’t know that there is any other way of life except mommies and daddies being married and living in the same house and being a family. She doesn’t know what divorce is. Before we went to visit my mom in CA (this was the first time Angelina had ever been to grandmommy’s house) I explained to her that grandmommy lived with grandbobbi (my mom’s partner) and Angelina said “Bobbi lives with grandmommy so grandmommy won’t be alone. Does your dad live with them too?” I told her that they had gotten divorced when I was younger than she is. She had no idea what I was talking about. So I told her ” They broke up and they didn’t’ live together anymore and I lived with my dad and my mom lived somewhere else.” Her response was “That’s very sad that they broke up.” It broke my heart. Her world is so very small and so very sheltered, and yet, so very … mental. So this leads me to believe that it must be me that has messed her up so very badly. And I don’t know how to fix it.
I got my second denial from Social Security today. it was to be expected, but didn’t make it any less panic inducing. The reason for the denial was the same as before. They feel that based on my age, skills, previous work experience, etc etc that I should still be able to work as a fast food worker. They said that after reviewing my medical information that I did not meet the criteria for disability because I am in treatment for my conditions. Apparently being in treatment means that I am cured. I thought to myself…so… if I weren’t in treatment would I then qualify as disabled? I’m not better. Bipolar is not constant depression or mania. It cycles enough that it makes it nearly impossible to keep a job because employers won’t put up with someone who is absent 2 weeks every few months because they can’t get out of bed, or they can’t sit still or are so scatter brained that they accomplish nothing. I was hanging on to my last job by the skin of my teeth. I had been written up FOUR times for excessive absences, and had been “counseled” many times for low-productivity because my mind would wander instead of focusing on the task at hand. Or I would panic if they changed something. A procedure, or program modification, etc.
But social security says:
“In addition to the evidence listed in our previous notice; the following information was used in evaluating your claim:
[Medical record from my psychiatrist]
We have determined that your condition is not sever enough to keep you from working. We considered the medical record and other information, your age, education, training, and work experience in determining how your condition affects your ability to work. You state that you are disabled and unable to work because of bi-polar disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, carcinoid syndrome, personality disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. We have reviewed the medical record, and it shows that you have received treatment for your condition. We realize that it limits your ability to do some things, and that you may not be capable of doing heavy work. However, we have concluded that you can still meet many of the other physical demands of work. Additional records show that you are also able to communicate, act in your own interests, adjust to ordinary emotional stresses, get along with others and do your usual daily activities without assistance. Based on your description of your past work as a fast food worker, we have concluded that you are still capable of performing this type of work. Therefore your claim for disability is denied.
If your condition gets worse and keeps you from working, call or visit any Social Security Office about filing another application.
WTF!??! So because I can speak for myself and get along with others I am fine? I didn’t file because I have anti-social personality disorder and I have chopped up pieces of little children in my basement. I also didn’t file because I couldn’t PHYSICALLY work. Every item listed on the application, except TWO out of SEVEN, were all MENTAL disorders. And the TWO physical problems I listed were CHRONIC FATIGUE syndrome… which means exactly what it says. I’m tired almost ALL the time..even when I’m not depressed. It takes very little exertion for me to need to rest, and when I do rest it takes me much more rest to get back to my “normal” functioning.
The second thing, Carcinoid Syndrome, is a condition caused by this annoying TUMOR in my freaking lung that excretes excess serotonin into my system screwing up my GI tract, making me flush (hot flashes kinda), makes me short of breath sometimes, not to mention that I have to go for CT scans every 3-6 months so they can “watch” the tumor since these kind of tumors are slow growing and it’s not the tumor itself that is a problem, it’s the serotonin that it excretes that causes all the issues. And unfortunately I am 25 years old, and it seems, as with disability, that my age is an automatic disqualifier for this condition (at least according to the GI dr that I saw) even though my GP is the dr that diagnosed it, and had all the lab work done that confirmed the diagnosis. The test that was done only tests for this ONE thing so pretty sure that it wasn’t actually something else. But the GI dr says “Well, it’s probably just spastic colon. All the patients that I have seen with this condition have been middle aged.” F*CK YOU. Pardon my French.
It almost makes me want to never leave the house again. Never see any of the stupid doctors that negate each other’s diagnoses. Never see anyone except my husband and my daughter. My very own cocoon that will never open into a beautiful butterfly. That will forever confine me to my own world and block out all external stimuli. My very own pea pod. Maybe even just me. Just me so I can scream and cry when I want to. And laugh that maniacal laugh and no one will wonder what is wrong. Because it will just be me.
I would be perfect.