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5 Reasons Applying for Disability Can Be So Difficult

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It may sound silly to most of us that this even needs to be discussed, but I do think it needs to be said, out in the open: there are many reasons that
applying for SSDI (social security disability insurance) is so difficult when you live with Crohn’s disease/chronic disease!

Reason 1: Admitting to myself that I actually need to apply! 

Many of us may spend our medical careers trying to be like everyone else and seen as “people, not patients” so this feels wrong. For me it represents yet another place where I lose both my dignity and privacy!

Reason 2: Having to face and talk about all of the negative stuff I deal with every day, those things I have spent so much time trying to ignore or spinning to be as positive as possible, but just aren’t!

I spend so much time living in that “it’s OK” phase that I forget all of the pain and embarrassment I live with is not normal, and now I have to actually say it all, out loud, to a stranger!

Reason 3: Having to allow a stranger, who neither knows me nor truly cares about my disease, judge me and make decisions that impact my entire life based upon their belief(s) about how bad they perceive my struggle to be.

Understanding that these Hearing Officers have jobs and rules to follow (and quotas to maintain) but still understanding that what they are really judging is my ability to be resilient and persist through the pain and struggle and then apply their opinion/belief to my case.

Reason 4: Having to admit to myself that the career/profession I dreamt of all my life, and dedicated years of training and schooling to attain, is just too much for me to balance and maintain as I face the daily fight with the disease, and then having to face the feelings of failure that often come with making that admission. 

No one works to acquire multiple training certifications/educational degrees just to apply for SSDI… Despite what other people see and think they know, those of us applying aren’t “giving up,” “getting lazy” or “giving in” –  we
just realize that taking care of ourselves finally does become our only, most
important job!

Reason 5: Finally, having to risk the statistical outcome of them denying the application and facing, in writing, the statement that they believe I could be working, full-time, and knowing it is yet another place where I am not believed or understood.

I’ve spent my medical career as a patient going to doctors and meeting with medical professionals/teams, preparing to be questioned about my body and my knowledge of my body/disease. I often hesitate to be honest, because I even get tired of hearing myself complain about how I feel, so I get used to saying the phrase, “Eh, I feel OK, I guess” and hope they can translate the real meaning and see through the phrase that has become my armor against the world not believing I could actually feel as poorly as I do, yet continue to function as well as I do… Wouldn’t it be great if, after I send in the reams of medical results, paper work and proof of multiple diagnoses, in addition to both my doctors’ and my own writings, it would all be seen for what it really is… the truth!

Getty Image by designer491

Originally published: March 20, 2018
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