Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How am I supposed to know?

Is it depression or is it anxiety?

I called the disability insurance company again to try to find out what is going on with my disability insurance coverage.

We haven't seen a check since June.

Of course, I've called before, I've been calling since I got the letter with the three forms that were dutifully completed by myself, my employer, and my doctors. I know that I am just a number, just a paper in a pile of papers in someone's To Do box, I know that in order to get through the system faster (or in any kind of timely manner) I have to push the system.

But I am depressed and anxious. So once, when I was talking to The Guy in Charge of My Financial Future there was yelling and crying. Irritability is one of the myriad of symptoms of my disease. Also taking things too personally and getting hurt too easily.

Today, when I called and asked for The Man, I was nervous, my heart rate was up, and afterward when I didn't get him and was also told that there was no record of a conversation I know he had with my district official (she called me right afterward) I was sad-feeling. But I didn't yell at the nice customer service assistant (I think they like to be called CSAs now), I just said thank you and hung up and pledged to call The Man again in an hour even though a message was supposedly left for him.

Then Justin got the mail and there was a bill from the psychiatrist I had to see once a week while I was in the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Intensive Outpatient Program. It seems that while the program costs $17 per day with our military insurance (a "perk" for Justin's being an amputee because of a combat-related training accident involving boat propeller; I'd rather he walked without pain and we had better insurance), the 5-10 minutes with the doctor costs another $12 per day. Justin just learned this when he called the company that sent us the mysterious bill; thankfully he has always been the CFO of our household, but he also knows I get easily confused when it comes to numbers (normally--even more so now) and he would handle it better. They say I was told about it, they say I signed a paper about it. I don't remember any of that, and when we get through the apartment cleaning and find the papers I signed I will look for that document. I was so freaked out about $17 days, I know that I would have added worrying about another $12 every time I saw my assigned doctor. Does passing him in the halls count? Does a quick question count?

Justin said one of the people he had to talk to was very rude and he's a bit angry now too. "She was depressed!" is his reply... why they allow the sick people to read and sign complicated forms I do not know.

So now (I'm doing laundry still--it took me about two hours to get started on that because I kept forgetting I was supposed to do it and kept getting involved in cleaning other things that in The Plan were supposed to be cleaned while the washing machine washed and the dryer dried our clothes.) I have this sick feeling--is it depression or anxiety or both?

Justin keeps telling me money won't be a problem, we won't end up on the streets like the guy we frequently lying on concrete in positions that make him look possibly dead (the first time I saw him and told Justin, Justin was still in his scrubs had to go back downstairs to the alley behind our apartment because he had to make sure--the guy said he was just getting some rest (with his neck bent over a parking lot block and his bicycle wheels wrapped around his legs)).

I know that thinking that might happen is what the COG people call catastrophizing. I know we have savings and credit and family and friends that would never let that happen. So I let that fear go but am still plagued by the notion that I am creating a whole lot more work for him than I ever meant to and than he ever expected.

But we've discussed this too--I had to do a lot for him when he almost died of osteomylitis right after we got married and I take care of him every time he has surgery--which for an amputee is more often than for the average Joe. When we go a year without a surgery of any sort we celebrate. This taking care of each other is what marriage is. It's tough right now because it is, but he said we'll be stronger for it later. I know. I just want later to come faster.

Justin is a true prince. I am blessed to have him as my husband.

Everyone said the first year of marriage is the hardest, but once we were sure he wouldn't die (though he also couldn't get good life insurance) we sailed through the year, not bothered by the little things that might have bothered others, because just being alive together was so neat.

I want to get better so badly. I want to get better faster. I am not good at working on a project for so long with such meager results. The old me would be done by now--or self-flagellating like nobody's business.

But this creating-a-new-me project is really really hard. It's kind of like I'm a snake and I have to shed my old skin before I can get my new skin. The problem is, unlike snakes, that new skin isn't just right there under the old stuff, ready to protect me and carry me through the next part of my life. As each bit of the old skin peels away, I am left raw, an open sore. And that makes it kind of hard to get through the day sometimes because everything hurts so much. It also makes it hard for people to be around me. Which makes it even harder for me to get through the day because who wants to go around wounded AND alone. (Catastrophizing again--I know I haven't been completely abandoned by my friends, I've just been put on hold because sometimes it is too hard to look at open sores, some people just don't have the strength for it, plus I've somehow managed to put on a happy face for long enough to manage to make some new friends and enjoy some activities and contact with old friends--that song we sang in Girl Scouts comes back to me: make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.)

Right now, I'll take what I can get and what I can handle.

I'll try to learn to be my own best friend, which I suspect is important in this whole process--to learn to take care of myself before and more than anyone else. The analogy they used at cog was this: "You know how when you get on a plane they tell you if something goes wrong and the oxygen masks come down anyone with a child or someone they are taking care of should put their own mask on first and then tend to the others."

I guess since sometimes I actually have to remind myself to breathe evenly or deeply or at all, I should take heed the advice of the airline attendant. I'll put my oxygen mask on first.

I just have to find it.

*this entry ended up longer than I expected, but I feel better now. Breathing evenly, returning to the laundry*

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