Send Your Replies to MK

Dear MK

I am currently on long-term disability from my employer & SSDI and have been for several years. Making the decision, with my doctor and therapist, to stop working was a huge one for me, since work had been the only real stability I had in my life up to that point and I had a home and bills etc. to pay. I was diagnosed with and being treated for BiPolar Disorder and PTSD for 4 years before I went on Disability. I struggled during that time to maintain my employment. After all, my work had been the only area of stability in my life for 17 years. I tried everything including taking leaves of absences and changing job positions, etc. to try to keep working. I would push myself through each day and week, only to collapse on Friday night, have to go into the hospital, and then beg my doctor to release me by Monday morning so I wouldn't lose my job. I knew going on disability would mean major changes in my life I didn't know if I could handle.

Finally, I knew I had to do it. I was only getting worse by continuing to try to do what I, at the time, was not able to do...maintain stability enough to maintain any kind of on-going gainful employment. For me it meant giving up my denial also. Eventually I was being encouraged to go on Disability by my long-time employer. It was not an easy process getting on SSDI, even though I was approved on the first try. The transition was financially and emotionally draining for me. I even had to sell my home in the process.

But, now, several years later I can truly say it was the best decision I made for myself. I was finally diagnosed DID two years ago and have been improving with appropriate treatment, a strong external support system, faith, and most importantly the developing trust and cooperation of all of us internally. We started doing some volunteer work last year, that is very flexible. We are healing and starting to thrive. I have hope. Without disability benefits to take care of my basic financial needs, I would not be able to focus on helping myself and my recovery. We are chosing our health first, before anything else. I am learning how to live a meaningful life, not just based on working. I have grown spiritually, physically and mentally and emotionally and in my internal and external relationships. Going on disability does not mean a person can never work again, if you are able to do so. And SSDI offers programs to assist people in returning to work, without suddenly cutting off benefits.

I hope you find some of this helpful as you ponder making this important decision. SSDI is a Federal program and can provide you with a lot of information about the program that will help you make an educated decision. Making the choice to go on Disability in order to take care of my health has been the best decision I could have made for us in our situation. Best wishes to you in whatever decision you make.



Dear MK,

A lot depends on your age when it comes to filing for disability. When I had my last break down ( I say break through) about 5 years ago it was the first time that I was in a place inside where I could let everything go. I got my SSI because it was the third time asking for it and I don't think they wanted to have me fight for it. They'd have to had pay me back to the late 80's. Then when I was better emotionally they thought I'd didn't need to be on it for mental health reasons anymore. I was in South Carolina and they don't recognize DID's. Go figure.

But during those couple of years an old back injury finally need surgery so I've been out on that. Depending on where you live and whether or not you worked enough time to get SSAD Social Security Disability or if not SSI changes in each state it seems. You'll need to call your local office of the Social Security Administration to get the details and forms to have filled out.

Would I suggest it? Yes if you've never taken time off to heal yourself. I am not sorry I did. It was the first time in my life where I really didn't have to worry about anything other than getting better. My children were grown and on their own "again" and is was the first time in my life that I didn't have to be responsible to anyone but myself. There's plenty of ways to heal, whichever avenue you chose. There are lots of online groups where we try to give lots of helpful tips on how we think about our world today compared to yesterday. It's always changing. If you haven't found or tried the online groups yet Lady Jz Talk Zone is listed in resources.
Good luck Lady J