So, I have come across some very colorful people and their stories since my tumble from grace with this arthritic condition in my hips (I have the hips of a 65 year old and they need to be replaced). Now, not to mention my uphill battle with mental illness, after a decade of first being diagnosed “Bipolar” I still have no idea if that’s what is really going on or not. I get medication that is supposed to stabilize my mood, but then that interferes with my a.d.d. stimulant medication, then I have to take benzodiazepines to not feel sick fear anymore. Literally, I believe more and more each day I am becoming agoraphobic. Since my first hip surgery, I have rarely left my room. I have lost at least another 25 pounds because I just gave up on eating. This was not meant to be a sad post, but again, look at me, I turned it into another self loathing festival of fun. Anyway, about my situation. Until I can get my hips straightened out I have put grad school on hold. However, I am using this blog as a catalyst for the memoir I am working on. There’s just so much I could use, I don’t know where to start. Okay, off track from my point again. I don’t know what my actual “mental illness” consists of, but, I think it’s a bunch of confusing emotional disconnects. Honestly, I have told plenty of therapists this, so I don’t care to write it in here. I am 30 and 100% absolutely emotionally stunted. I am probably at the emotional age of a 23 year old now that I am an “adult”. I remember, when I was younger, people would always agitate me. They would antagonize me, for no reason, or so I thought that was the case. Through many therapy sessions, I realized that they only did it because they knew I would react to it. I would get really angry and upset and hurt and my friends or (evil assholes) thought it was a game. This was my emotional stuntedness. I grew up with an alcoholic father and a co-dependent mother. There was no peace in my house. I went undiagnosed with ADD until college (where my grades drastically shot up). And, I discontinued the therapy I was placed in as a child. That’s the biggest mistake my parents made was taking me out of children’s therapy. I had no way to cope. I didn’t know what coping even was! So, I got angrier and angrier. Every friendship I have ever been in save a few, have either ended dramatically, fizzled away, or just stopped. I went on this whole sabbatical about a year or so ago, where I just decided to stop going out and seeing any friends or talking to anyone. That was cathartic at first, but now it’s been so long and I want to talk again, I just don’t know what to say anymore. I think my sabbatical backfired on me. So, my disabilities, so to speak. I am currently collecting SSI for being Bipolar. I get a monthly government stipend (believe me, it’s not much), but it gets me by. So, with my insurance completely free, I can go to any doctor I want or see any specialist or get any medication for no cost. That is the only plus, with my physical and mental problems I think the health insurance more than makes up for the lousy stipend. Anyway, I have been bouncing around from therapist to therapist for years. I still haven’t found one who has really enlightened me. In fact, the last therapist I had before the one I am seeing now (whom I have to leave due to insurance and limited psychiatrist accessibility) she actually pulled out a pair of nail clippers and CLIPPED HER NAILS during our session. That is disgusting and totally unprofessional. Needless to say, we didn’t get along. Well, through numerous hospital hospitalizations, partial programs, group therapy, working at the United Way (resource line) and connection to the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation; I was able to gather more than enough resources on how to quickly get the medications and help I needed right away. I made my way to a community behavioral health center. I never knew what a zoo it was. Not only is it public, for people with no insurance and disperse income, it’s also right next door to the probation court building. The people who were put in jail for drug related offenses are sent there for rehabilitation, drug testing, classes, and group therapy. Also, I found out that my former psychiatrist (who left without even giving me a heads up) was leaving the end of last month. In his defense, he was seeing over 200 patients, but geez, a letter from the receptionist informing me of my choices would have been, oh, ideal, maybe. Anyway, he was responsible for one of the Suboxone programs that the clinic offers. There are A LOT of people there who take Suboxone. I learn a lot in the waiting room, because in public clinics they do not CARE how long you wait out there. I mean, my therapist admitted to me that she’s got 100 clients herself. Anyway, There’s always some amusing character in the waiting room though, so at least I am never bored, maybe a little anxious. However, I have always been uneasy around people. It’s just natural for me. So, today when I was seeing a nurse just to get my routine medications refilled, I noticed one of the windows in the waiting room had been busted out and was boarded up. I am telling you, if these people can’t get their shit to keep them clean, they go off the rails. This black lady was sitting on the other side of the room rummaging through her purse. She pulls out a baggy (yes a plastic baggy) of Cheetos. She then looks up to me and says “I ain’t paying 15 dollars for food at no theater!” My eyes instantly lit up, it was the interaction I had been waiting for, for days really. She, then begins pulling more and more Cheetos from her bag and putting them in the baggy, rambling on and on. She also informed me that she takes capri suns, skittles, and kettle corn, to the theater. She said, “I say to my kids I know you aint goin’ to no concession stand; I’ll smack you upside the head!” I laughed at her whimsical attitude. And, it is a very smart choice to sneak snacks in. So, she throws all her trash away, tells me that she’s so happy to be under 200 pounds for the first time in a long time, and tells me she also has a nutritional bar in her purse. She was sadly missing a few bottom teeth, but otherwise, looked very healthy and happy for her age. So, that’s not even the most interesting part about my waiting room experience. This younger girl (I would say mid 30’s? I couldn’t really tell, she was crying and strung out). She sits down by the woman and says “hey, are you Mammy?” The woman looked confused, and said yeah… I am, but I don’t know who you are? Then she proceeds to name some people in common they know. This woman still has no idea who this crying girl is. Then, out it came! “We was in jail together.” Oh, and also “don’t you remember we got high and went cruising” and the woman responds “in my lincoln?” This girl clearly remembers her, but this woman has no idea. The young girl had come in there on heroin and was trying to get on suboxone and she didn’t know if they were going to give it to her. She said “If I don’t getsuboxone I will just have to go out and self medicate again.” Mammy, on the other hand tells her that she went through a few programs and I think she said she’d been clean over some 18 + months? I wish I could have recorded this experience. Sometimes, my memory fails me. These are the kinds of people I come in contact with every time I am at that agency. I do not look down upon them nor do I judge them. I am only moving to a private practice because my supposed new psychiatrist was only going to be available once a week. So, that was my no thanks. I enjoyed being there because they really helped me, but sometimes the waiting room could be a little intense. Some people, especially ones with serious mental illnesses do not understand boundaries. I wouldn’t have these stories if I didn’t go to these public facilities under federal care. I feel like I am undercover doing research, because I have seen it all. I come from an upper middle class educated family and I have jumped into the depths of poverty. Mostly, because I just wanted to know how they were feeling, what was really going on, how they were being treated, and who was even being taken seriously. It’s awful. If you don’t know how to fill out years of paperwork, answer confusing questions, find loop holes in the system, or fight for your case; you’re screwed. I was in a public housing unit and my neighbor had the same lawyer as I did and she could not get SSI- Her anxiety was ten fold and she was probably 25 years older than me. It made me wonder, how did the judge decide that I was too “disabled” to continue with normal life, yet this poor woman with nothing, can’t even get a judge to listen to her. I didn’t even have to go to court. I just got a letter one day from a judge saying that he completely sympathized with my case and that the social security administration wasn’t taking my case seriously enough. (This was before the debilitating osteoarthritis). I have thought about being a social worker, because I know SO much about the system, I know that there are loopholes, faster ways to get what you need, getting everything and anything for free, etc.. However, due to my anxiety, I don’t think I could handle that kind of stress every day. Ironically, my first caseworker through work and family services , his name was William Faulkner. I am NOT kidding, and no it was not the author (I don’t think?) I was desperate to get medicaid, but since I didn’t have SSI yet, I was not covered. The Pdocs had me on medications that cost 660 out of pocket! One month supply! Don’t even get me started on that. Wait, I will, for a second. They want people to take these ridiculously expensive medications that are NOT affordable unless you are on welfare, which I don’t even know exists anymore? Yet, you can buy pain killers out of pocket, 20-30 dollars. Benzodiazepines – 11 dollars out of pocket. Ritalin- 30 dollars out of pocket. So, we’ve got narcotics, sedatives, and stimulants, way way way undercutting these alleged “maintenance” medications. Anyway, William Faulker said to me “Hey, I know a lot of Bipolar people, and they will approve you for SSI faster than if you were missing a leg”. Now, I know there’s a lot of welfare “haters” out there. But, I have seen this first hand. Yes, there are wastes of human life that just sit around and eat all day. (I lived at the YWCA for a little while) I saw this one HUGE girl get so much food from a food pantry you’d think it was for an entire year. That program at the YWCA was a joke; it was supposed to improve the lives of women who were mentally ill and struggling. Instead, the taught you how to frost a fucking cake. Something was very backwards about that “women empowering women” banner on the front of the building. Anyway, I have seen people who were so miserably desperate for just housing it was at least a flicker of hope in their dark deluded world. Also, I hate the people who are taking advantage of the pain killers with the system. BECAUSE I am on Medicaid, and I don’t look elderly, it took forever for a doctor to take me seriously as an actual sufferer of chronic pain. I now have a wonderful pain management doctor and I get these back treatments that are amazing. (Yes, I have scoliosis and degenerative disc disease, too). I don’t believe in the so called welfare queen. The government gives you JUST enough to squeeze by. My government stipend went up 12 DOLLARS starting the beginning of 2013 and my food stamp allotment was lowered from 106 dollars a month to 16 dollars a month. I want to see these people “living pretty” off of government funds. You show them to me and I will shut my mouth. Most of those people are hard laborers, no joke. Even if they have babies, someone’s gotta work. And yes, some are pathetic and shouldn’t even have children, again, I have been witness to this in ALL socioeconomic classes. So, that argument will not fly. And one last thing, I absolutely 100% stand behind people getting drug tested if they were or are receiving ANY government assistance. Yes, that includes student loans as well, those kids aren’t off the hook! Anyway, I was so worried about getting health insurance I just thought it was useless, that since I wasn’t married had no kid, and wasn’t officially on disability yet, there was no “box to check” for my particular case. But he told me that there was this medical board approval form that you fill out at work and family services and they submit that and proof from two doctors explaining your disability.This is, IF you have the documentation (oh, and I had LOTS of paper trails that came with my illness). As, my dad so playfully conjoins “you’re a nut with papers” . The family services building workers will submit that for approval and you can get medicaid without having 20 babies. I was lucky that he was my first caseworker. He was smarter than most of the people in there; he knew what was up and I was magically sent to him. Anyway, things are just, arbitrary for me right now. But, after I talked to a few book publishers, one from NYC, I have been trying my damnedest to pour all my focus into this book. I just don’t know where to start. I have years of documentation, doctor’s records, psychiatric records, journals, online journals. I just can’t seem to [[<contain>]] it into a worthy subject to write about. My sorrowful plight as a dysfunctional unfortunate human species who cannot seem to function on her own? We’ll see what I bang out within the next few months.
Go home to your mother! Doesn't she ever watch you? Tell her this isn't some communist day-care center! Tell your mother I hate her! Tell your mother I HATE YOU! All work Copyrighted by Sara Ribar
It’s every day people who make life worth fighting…