Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Am I THAT Disabled? Really?

Working in the disability field, I know it is unheard of for anyone to qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits the first time they apply. The norm is two-to-three years to finally get the decision IF you were approved. Imagine my surprise when I was told within 3 months of applying that I qualified for Disability. And not for a physical disability, but an unseen disability – depression. Cerebral Palsy didn’t keep me from having a successful career. One day, I just broke down. I knew I could not effectively counsel clients with my mindset. I would be violating the therapist’s oath of putting the clients needs before my own. So I had to quit. Quit everything I had worked so hard for, I had to walk away. A single person with no alternative income. I had to quit. I love counseling and miss it terribly. I loved being a counselor and hated to walk away. But my depression was so strong, I did what I had advocated so fervently against – I applied for Disability based on my depression. And I was so depressed, I couldn’t even fill out the paperwork. I had no where to go, no family to take me in, and I was too depressed to care. God provided through the church I attended… somehow, God provided until I received the letter from Social Security in record time – a matter of months – yes, they agreed, my depression was too severe for me to engage in gainful employment. I remember what a blessing, what a relief – I qualified for Disability! But then again, it hit me…  I really did have a mental illness. And even though I did my time in college and interning and supervision and licensure exams, I was too disabled to work. I vowed not to let the depression keep me down, to take a couple months off and then go back to work… I’ve lost track as to how many years ago that was,. Yesterday, I received another letter bringing similar feelings… regarding my student loans, the Federal Government has determined my depression and anxiety are too severe for me to ever return to gainful employment and my loans will be forgiven if I don’t make above the poverty level for two people within three years.

What? Do you have any idea how hard it is to have your student loans forgiven? Am I THAT disabled? I WANT to pay back my student loans. I WANT to work again. I can push through my anxiety and depression…and my thoughts alternated to thinking I had to show up to volunteer at church, and how anxious I was, and how I wanted to stay in bed, and my heart began racing and I was sweating and… I worked myself up into a pitiful mess just thinking about leaving my home! It was ridiculous. If I wasn’t in my body, I would think I was overreacting, but I was there and it was real.

I did the one thing that always calms me – I went to Jesus and asked Him to let me release my past and my future to Him… help me focus completely on glorifying Him today, this very moment, and leave the future to Him. Cast your anxiety on him because he cares for you and Take captive every thought and make it obedient to him.

I don’t know what’s going to happen… and that is okay, because God does… and God is in control.

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