I am feeling so incredibly stressed about my upcoming SSDI hearing and everything related to it. It has become an obsessive thought pattern that I can’t get out of. This always happens when something I am super nervous or scared about is looming on the horizon. My mind is a circular track of “what ifs”, incessant thoughts about things I need to do, fears that I will make a mistake and blow my last chance for SSDI benefits, and fear that if I fail and am denied again, it will once again send me into a suicidal spiral of feeling worthless, disbelieved, and like I will forever be a burden to society and those I love.
Tomorrow I have to ask my psychologist to fill out a RFC (Residual Functional Capacity) form for the hearing. I think she will be open to it and want to help, but I am still anxious about asking and scared of rejection. I have to ask my primary care physician to fill out a similar form when I see her next week, and am even more nervous about that because I know she is often rushed and I don’t want to be an inconvenience or annoy anyone by making demands.
As you can see, I struggle greatly with asking anyone to do anything for me. I’m not sure if it is just my lousy self-esteem or what, but I always feel like anything I need is an imposition on someone else. Maybe the result of being raised by a narcissistic parent? Growing up, I often was made to feel like anything I needed (emotionally or physically) was selfish and inconvenient to those around me. To this day, I struggle with feeling like I am actually entitled to anything – even basic human respect.
I think my fear of being disbelieved about my disabilities also stems from the fact that when I first started getting really sick, even my own husband and family didn’t believe me. My husband came around first, when he saw how much I truly was suffering every day and how even the things I loved most were being ripped away from me. He has even apologized for his initial doubts. Some of my family (including in-laws) still make me feel invalidated, but I’ve come to the conclusion I can’t do much about that.
Yesterday I had rather a bit of a breakthrough moment. Now, to most people with healthy backgrounds and relationships, this will likely be a bit of a “duh” moment, but to people like me who were groomed to be codependent caretakers, it is an immensely important realization.
My “eureka moment” can be summed up in one sentence:
I don’t owe anyone ANYTHING, and no one owes me ANYTHING.
Of course, this does not mean that I can’t give to others out of the goodness of my heart, or that they can do the same, but none of us should feel required to do so. I would say the one exception to this rule would probably be children. If you bring children into this world, you do owe them something – and that is to do your best at providing them a safe, stable, and loving childhood. I guess pets fit that category as well. If you sign up to take care of something that can’t care for itself, you are essentially accepting that responsibility.
Outside of that, I’m not sure if any of us should feel like we have to fully take care of others emotionally, mentally, physically, or materially. We all have a responsibility to do our best to meet our own needs, and while that may mean reaching out for help now and then, we have to realize that sometimes we may be turned down and that is ok. If so, we just need to keep looking I suppose.
As someone with disabilities though, I do want to say that I do feel it is vitally important to have public programs and assistance available (whether these be government or charity systems) for those of us who sometimes struggle more than others at being “functioning adults”. To me, it is just a simple matter of society welfare and empathy that should strive to help anyone who falls through the cracks.
The Comfort Trap
By: Maranda Russell
The comfort trap
has closed around me,
its cold metal arms
crueler than a vice.
But don’t help me out,
for I’ll only find
a creative way
to crawl back in.
I enjoy taking prompts and writing six word stories. I find it challenging to come up with something truly original and attention grabbing with only a handful of words. Here are a few more I wrote just for fun:
I often quarrel with my squirrel.
Introduce me to your soul asylum.
Wake me up, slow me down.
Is there room amidst your gloom?
Build a bridge. Don’t jump off.
I feel like most of these have at least a general association with mental health and mental illness (not surprisingly), even though that wasn’t planned. You are welcome to use these prompts if you wish to have some fun and play with words!
“Without Tess”, written by Marcella Pixley, is one of the best YA novels I have read in a while. I rarely give books five stars when rating them, but this one I did. The story revolves around the main character (Lizzie), and her dead sister (Tess). Lizzie is the younger sister by a couple years and was only 10 when her older sister tragically passed away.
The real star of the novel is Tess. As you read through the book and relive vibrant memories Lizzie shared with Tess, you come to both love and sometimes dislike Tess. Tess was a true believer in magic. She was creative and passionate. She was both loving and loyal, but at times cruel and violent. She was mentally ill, and at times downright psychotic. This novel is a lifelike retelling of what it is like to grow up with an extremely mentally ill sibling. It addresses the love, the hate, the sadness, the pain, the rage, the guilt, and all the other emotions that come along with such a disturbing family dynamic.
I had a deeply personal connection with this book, both as someone who grew up with a mentally ill sibling, and someone who eventually lost that sibling, mostly due to that mental illness. At one point the book even made me tear up, which is extremely rare for any book to do. Definitely recommended!
Cook Me With Tenderness
By: Maranda Russell
and not yet
I seem to
But I beg of you,
don’t roast me –
just smash me to bits
and cook me
I woke up this afternoon (I am a late sleeper lol), and as soon as I put my feet on the floor I noticed it was freezing! Fall hit overnight it seems! Or maybe even winter! So, I had to break out my Garfield fleece pajama bottoms, my thick black cat slipper socks, and my plush hot pink robe. Now I am super comfy, but still a little cold! Even as I type this, my numb fingers feel like ice.
I don’t know if it is the cold, or the fact that I am all snuggled up on the recliner, but now I feel incredibly lazy. So, I think today I’m just gonna sit here with my Halloween blanket, watch some Dr. Phil, maybe drink some hot tea, and probably eat some chocolate. Love you guys! Stay warm!
By: Maranda Russell
Why do I feel like
my poetry sucks?
I try to write,
only to find myself
poured out like milk
and starting to
By: Maranda Russell
and clenched fists
accompany defiant eyes.
I have high expectations
but I avoid them all.
Sick in the stomach,
sick in the head,
sick of this life.
I would cry,
but I never
penciled it in today.