All of THAT for THIS?


A lot of you know that a couple of years back, I filed for disability. As probably all of you know, or can guess, it’s a terribly grueling process. You gut yourself on paper, which, admittedly I do anyway in my free time but for disability you have to basically prove you’re worthless without them. For people who have a hard time asking for help to begin with… it was exceptionally difficult to see my limitations staring back at me in black and white.

I can’t walk long distances without extreme pain. I can’t make the bed without getting winded. Dinners are confined to the microwave, mostly, because my wrists give out when lifting pots and pans. I long to run and play with Tayla at the park. Sometimes I can’t shampoo my hair or clasp a bra… Diabetes, arthritis, Graves’ disease, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system etc. all contribute and that’s just the physical stuff.

The mental health aspect is I struggle with depression, anxiety and Borderline Personality Disorder.

I’m on 18 different prescription medications.

I have a child with special needs.

I was denied disability, twice.

Until today.

“We have carefully reviewed the facts of your case and have approved the claim for SSI benefits  that you filed. As of November 2016 you met all the rules to be eligible for SSI based on being disabled.”

The rest of the 13 page letter goes on to explain that no payments can be made because of my spouse’s income, the fact that I own a car and a life insurance policy and an am working 6 hours a week.


I’m not even sure what to think right now. When I was denied previously, I told myself it was ok. Good even. People think I’m capable… it seems a little strange to wish to be disabled… and yet, I wondered if I was just … a wimp. Or a whiner. Or indulging in excess amounts of self-pity.

Today’s letter felt a little like a vindication. Yes, I have a lot on my plate. It would be a lot for anyone to handle. I’m not just being a baby.

Now I wonder, where do I go from here?

Ironic, Isn’t It?

In the end, I didn’t spend a lot of time with Natalie because I was afraid I’d end up going down the rabbit hole, too. How is it that now that she’s gone, I’m ready to jump in with both feet?

“How often are you feeling this way?” Jill asked.

I blew out the air of the breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding and rolled my eyes.

“I don’t know. It changes. Like on a second by second basis.”

There are lots of windows in Jill’s office. Unfortunately, the view is mostly of the parking lot.

“How are you? Taking your meds? Are you getting in all your doses? Do you have all your medication? Nothing is in transition or lost in the move?”

I assured my favorite med provider that they were a priority and they’d been tracked and accounted for within the first couple of days.

She took my blood pressure and my weight.

“Your weight is trending down. Is it something your working on?” She asked.

I shook my head. “Not really. I mean, I guess I have been needing to remind myself to eat… Thanks Nat.”

We talked about sleep, when it’s happening, (which isn’t nearly often enough) if I’m using my CPap machine, (I have to find & unpack it first).

“What medications are you taking for pain?” She asked.

The question caught me off guard. I couldn’t remember right away.

“Um, Cymbalta. Sometimes Robaxin, but not often- I don’t like it. Um, there’s one-”

“So you’re not taking any opiates?”


I was surprised. Offended? No, I don’t really know for sure what that feeling was… like I’d been caught doing something wrong. Guilt.

Why did I feel guilty? I wasn’t taking any opiates. I was honest with her. Maybe I felt bad for wanting pain meds. Not even pain meds but to be pain free. I take a variety of medications for various ailments and conditions and have somewhat acclimated to “my level” of pain. This emotional pain though… this fresh, deep, all consuming grief though… I can’t deal with. I don’t want to face it or feel it or tolerate it.

“Have you heard of Naltrexone?”

I shook my head.

“It’s mainly used for opiate addicts who are thought to relapse (I can’t imagine any heroin addict not prone to relapse) but over the years has proven to be effective with alcohol abuse, gambling and even nail biting. I would only use it for a short time. A few weeks or so. I think it might help with getting over this immediate time frame.”

Jill went on to explain that people are especially vulnerable in the first 6-8 weeks of grieving.  That’s when it’s most intense.

Now, nearly 12 hours later, I’m not even sure what it’s supposed to do. It didn’t even occur to me to ask.

I take 17 (now 18) medications. When I filed for disability in 2014, I was on 11. THAT was too many. I’m not sure how 6 more snuck in without me noticing.

I’m not even sure what I’m talking about anymore.

Natalie is here but she’s not here. I’m here but I don’t feel here.

I don’t want to scare anyone. I’m not going anywhere or do anything drastic. Please don’t worry.

I’m over tired and thinking about my appointment today, I thought it was kind of funny. In a sad sort of way. How I was afraid of my life going to hell in a handbasket if I’d spent a ton of time with my sister and now… I feel like I’m in hell, without my handbasket – or my sister.

My Heroin(e)