Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hell Disguised as a Blessing

There is something to the Bible's old testament story of the beguiling snake coaxing Eve to eat the from the fruit of the tree of knowledge in spite of her love for her freedom in the garden of Eden.

I feel like Eve after she has eaten the apple whenever I receive a letter or inquiry from my disability insurance company; Naked, overexposed and afraid I will be cut off from receiving support while I try to get better.

My mood has dropped immensely over the past two weeks. I cried on my way to my appointment today. I cried much of my appointment today, and most of the way home.

To top off a bad morning, when I got home, I found a letter in my mailbox from my insurance company wanting to know EXACTLY how I was, WHAT I had been doing and for how long, what I as able to do, who I see, if I am volunteering or working, at what and for how long, what I participate in, and sign the note at the bottom saying we can have access to all your doctors notes, thank you very much (my paraphrasing of the received letter).

This letter put the fear of God into me (only God is spelled "losing money to support myself before I am well enough to do so on my own").

How do I fill this form in? I am so conflicted because my mood is so unpredictable. If you had asked me 3 or 4 weeks ago I would have been positive I was getting better, last week not so sure and this week, back to square one.

I volunteer 5-6 hours a week (2.5-3) I teach beginner's drawing, the other I show up on a specified day and help people in the painting studio if they need help (often I just show up and do my own art and no one needs my helps, but I am there if they need me.

So I struggle. I think to myself, "well, if I can teach an art class, why can't I go back and teach a banking class? what's the difference? And I am really afraid that is how the insurance company thinks?

The problem is at the Art Clubhouse I put my best face forward (just like I did at work) and I am professional and outgoing, and matter how I feel inside, because I feel that way is my responsibility. At work I never let my illness impact my work until the end when I was so sick I couldn't do anything but stare at my computer screen. Even then, because I was so reliable for so long, my boss never even noticed me crashing and burning.

What the Occupational Therapists and staff at the Art Clubhouse don't see is that spend all morning trying to get to the studio by 1:00pm and when I leave and get home at 4pm I am so exhausted I sleep until 6 and sometimes 7 or 7:30pm. I do this everyday, even if I've done nothing all day. I feel so exhausted I feel sick.

I cannot manage to clean my house. I have not been cooking anything other than pre-made dinners, or smoothies, or eating cereal except maybe once a week or even less, when I somehow find the energy to make dinner. Even when my mood was really good I could not get these things done.

I am worried that the insurance people will translate my being able to volunteer 5-6 hrs a week, and take a guitar class, and paint sometimes as a sign that I am well enough to return to work. I know I am not. I know I can only do those things at the studio because of the type of supportive and safe setting it is. I know I can only manage that volunteering because I know that when I get sick (which I always do) I have the option of backing off on any commitments.

Anyways, I feel sick about having to fill out this form. I don't even know where to begin when some days I soar, and others I want to stay in bed all day. This past two weeks I am nosediving into the latter scenario.

I wish I had not accepted the fruit from the poisonous tree. It ties me down, frightens me, limits my ability to try new things and makes me feel like I am doing something wrong by volunteering, makes me feel guilty for accepting money while I am not working. I am constantly worried I will lose my insurance before I become well enough to work again and take care of myself.

I wish I had been able to quit my job when I became ill. I wish I had not needed to rely on a bureaucratic organization, one that scares the crap out of me, to survive.

1 comment:

Coco said...

Sorry to hear you've been put in this position. One option is that you could fill out the form in all it's black and whiteness, and then attach a copy of this blog post which states how you really feel about it all! They need to know the truth about how you really are, and this post certainly provides it. Take Care ~coco