The Initial Aftermath

Yesterday was the SSDI hearing. Turns out I was dealt the most difficult judge, and despite my intense anxiety I went in feeling more confident than I expected to be going in (which is slightly laughable, considering I was on the verge of a panic attack at any given moment).

I couldn’t tell for certain, as the man was straight-faced and tight-lipped, but I’m about 98% certain he didn’t like what I had to say. I laid everything bare, even things I haven’t told my therapist at this point… all of these horrible questions making me say things I didn’t want to say (but needed to). I answered the questions as best as I could, and despite the anxiety felt a stillness of emotion for the hour I was engaged.

I’d be lying if I said it was anything less than traumatizing. The sense of relief I felt when I walked out the door (feeling as if I’d done and said everything I possibly could have) lasted about an hour. As soon as Corey and I got on the bus, it began. My mind started replaying every little detail, every moment that made me cringe. Every instant I have suddenly began second-guessing. All of this has made up some horrible loop in my mind, giving me only a 15-60 second window of being able to think about anything before my thoughts automatically cycle back to the hearing. The hearing. The hearing. The hearing.

“Alan Tudyk will be at comic con this year… what about when you said you’d only posted your blog once last week? It looks suspiciously like three posts. But I did technically only post once! One was a re-blog and the other two I wrote at once and scheduled to be posted on the same day. That’s one day’s work, it just looks like three!”


I got in bed early last night and took an Ambien to silence this obsessive inner monologue. I felt sneaky, like maybe I had beaten it, when it started up again at 4 o’clock this morning.

I’ve been trying very hard to look at this hearing like I might look at a job interview. The way I feel about most jobs is that I am not particularly interested at first, I’ve even been wary about the amount of stress the job would put on me. Then, after thinking about it a little, I become interested. As time begins to pass, my enthusiasm begins to grow, and I move from being interested, to wanting the job, to passionately wanting the job, to feeling like I need the job and ultimately feeling like I can’t live without it.

In the last year, my mind has moved from a place where “it would be nice” to have SSDI benefits to, “there is no point in living if you don’t have them,” (which I understand is untrue, just the way my brain tends to exaggerate sometimes). Undoing this thought is difficult, and doesn’t really lend itself well to helping me not frantically obsess over this for eons.

The truth is that I’ve been obsessing over this for a year. I am ready, really ready, to obsess over something else. Wrestling with this situation has been extremely difficult, so please refrain from calling/texting me right now in an attempt to find out more detail about how things went. That’s why I’m writing this post.

Luck was not on my side. I will find out “for certain” in a few weeks, but I can say with some assurance I really don’t believe I won.

5 responses to “The Initial Aftermath

  1. Obsessing is hell, I feel for you. Good luck.

  2. I wish you the best outcome, and I admire your bravery for getting through the hearing. One of the major reasons I have been unsuccessful in getting disability is the very reason I need it: I can’t handle social situations without severe panic attacks. So talking to lawyers, judges, even over the phone, is nearly impossible for me. It’s a nightmare, because even though I have been hospitalized in the past, even though I have not been able to hold a stable job for very long (and have been completely unable to work for the past three years) it’s just not enough “evidence” that I am in need of disability. So, I live in poverty. My doctor dismissed me because her efforts to treat me were fruitless, and I don’t have insurance to go anywhere else, which only further makes it impossible to get disability because I don’t even have a current doctor to vouch for me. Again, I say, a nightmare. So I know (partly at least) what you are going through, and I really hope the judge makes the right decision in your favor.

  3. Thinking loving thoughts your way.

  4. I started getting SSDI several years ago. I think it was because I blurted out (the first time that I considered this to be true) that if it wasn’t for my husband taking care of my kids and me, I’d be in an institution. The judge ended the hearing at that point. I continue to be haunted by this thought, and realize how true it is.

    I read several of your posts and nodded with recognition of what you are going through. This one got me, with your SSDI battle. Entirely unfair to put us through such stress for so long. I hope your decision comes through quickly so you can get on with your life.

    I know you have probably heard this many times, and it probably does me no good to say it, but it deserves to be said anyway: let go of it. For me, that means to do what I can to refocus my thoughts on something else; find something that absorbs me, whether it be something physically exhausting like a hot bath or hard run, or mentally demanding like income tax returns or word puzzles, or spiritually demanding like a complex meditation technique. The more I can engage elsewhere, the less I obsess. I still obsess, but less. I still am low-functioning, but less so. You can only do what you can do. On the other hand, You certainly can do what you can do.

    I hope this helps.

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