SSDI Prep – Keeping a Journal

My hearing is in just over a month.

I rung in the new year with an intense sense of urgency and anxiety.

My lawyer sent me a brochure that listed some helpful things I can do to prepare for the hearing. The things listed include:

1. Keep a diary
2. Make a list of things you used to do but can no longer do
3. Make a list of medications
4. Write out a description of your job duties of your former jobs
5. Meet with your lawyer

I decided to start number one (keep a diary) when the new year began.

I keep general diaries, and I also have a small book I log my mood charting information in every few hours. This, however, would not be enough. The journal they’re requesting wants times I wake up and go to bed, what I do around the house, and generally things that are bothering me. 

I consider myself a fairly adept writer, so no big deal, right?

Ugh.

Now, normally I don’t write out my thoughts much anymore, aside from writing NT (for “negative thoughts”) or RT (for “racing thoughts”). I try not to get bogged down in the content, because even trying to explain the things going through my head to my boyfriend is extremely distressing because I know they don’t make any sense.

When I was psychotic the other day I was having an emotional tug of war because I could hear this loud, impending sound in my ears and even though I kept referring to it to Corey, I also was somewhat aware that he had no damn clue what I was talking about and the situation didn’t make sense.

This situation left me feeling extremely embarrassed.

Then, on to journal day number one. Mixed episode. My mind was throwing images of violence and self harm at me. I sat down and tried to write out what happened in the five minutes previous but found myself hitting a brick wall.

How do you explain something that doesn’t make sense? If what I’m feeling has me wanting to harm small, defenseless creatures, how do I convey that in actuality I’m an animal lover? These tangled up, most twisted parts of me are not things I share with everyone equally, and I’ve only started sharing them in the last couple years. How can I show the most ill parts of me knowing I would be both embarrassed but also knowing this is all information that would potentially help my case?

The lack of money I talked about in the last post is really not the stressful part of this. The difficulty comes in being shown, over and over again, that there is something keeping me from doing what I want to do, and that player manipulates my life in many ways.

How do I take off the mask? I’ve been living openly with bipolar disorder for the last couple years but that doesn’t mean there are things I allow many other people to see. I mean, writing about something like homicidally is one thing, but actually standing in the kitchen, talking to my boyfriend about it as it is happening is frightening at best.

People with bipolar disorder often spend a long time learning to mask their symptoms, make themselves look “normal” or act the way most other people do. It is really one of those things that when you try to peel those layers back, it comes with some resistance. Something about it doesn’t seem right. It feels terrifying, even if you know it is the only way you can truly receive help.

I’ve got five more weeks of diary writing, I’m just hoping it doesn’t feel as horrible as it has the first couple days. In any case, I expect to have a spiral-bound piece of my actual life, as I know it, to show for it. If this will help me win the case, so be it.

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5 responses to “SSDI Prep – Keeping a Journal

  1. Your blogs are also a pretty impressive record. Not sure if the SSA has caught up to using things like blogs, posts, tweets, or comments as part of their evidence pool. My hunches are it hasn’t unless it’s to “root out” fraud.
    Do what you think best. Your idea of ‘best’ might adjust over the five weeks.
    Revu2

  2. Blogs are definitely a useful tool, yes yes. When I was trying to get the point across that there WAS something wrong with me (I was up against a doctor who tried to insist I just had a ‘nervous personality’), it got him to change his tune. Not as well as I’d’ve hoped, but enough to get my foot in the door.

    I definitely don’t envy the diary diary though. I just… I sort of cope and try to not dwell on the bad bits lest they drown me. :s

  3. Pingback: Social Security Update, Part 9 | bi[polar] curious

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