Daily Prompt: Viable

Daily Prompt: Viable

To be viable means to be capable of surviving or living successfully in a particular environment.  If we consider a plant, the concept is easy to decipher as to whether they need a desert, a forest, or the sea. But, as for people it is a bit more difficult to discern where they are viable or not in varied settings.  I must say that I am most viable in a peaceful environment wherein I feel safe. Being one with PTSD the world can startle me in many ways. It is then that I pull back into my cocoon and attempt to block it all out. For example, one day I had traveled to a little town to look at a dog I was considering to adopt. A large truck turned the corner near me and as it did it hit a light pole and broke it in half. The pole must have impacted the tire as an explosion ensued. I was not far from where this took place and it brought about a reaction from my gut. I sat there in my car trembling unable to focus on what I needed to do. As cars behind me began to blow their horns I had to regain my composure and move on.  Other examples are not as extreme. People who are aggressive and accusatory scare me as well.  The emotion that comes with such behavior impacts me more than most people. If I see someone engage in an argument or accuse someone of something that they may or may not have done I pull back into my shell and retreat. I do not tolerate that environment well.  I do not flourish in any unloving scene. I retreat and want to leave it as soon as possible. Most recently I find myself pulling out of society for the most part. I am happier alone where I know what to expect. I don’t even like to answer the phone depending on who is calling.  If I feel that they might be negative or want to gossip I don’t answer. I seem to want to manipulate my environment in the hopes of being able to grow, survive, be me.  PTSD has changed me in how I live. I now dread certain places I need to go and people who are mean just simply infuriate me. I can barely tolerate them.  In order for me to be viable in this society I need to force myself out of my shell I have built and get out there. I will not be successful if I don’t.  I need to take baby steps and go where I feel safe. Church is one of those places. Being with certain family members is another. Crafting is peaceful and I flourish in my own little zone doing that. I am one when planted in certain areas I shrivel up and would surely die without the proper feeding of love and being given the waters of life.  Viability I have found is not just about plants.  It is about humans as well. I think that many who withdraw cannot tolerate the negativity that is rampant in our society. The media is made up mostly of negative gossip and hatred. Even our t.v. shows upset me and I have to turn them off. I do not flourish in society much anymore. I need a viable setting in which I can live.  I live in my little world and try to keep out the boogie men. I just want to survive in this world.  But it is getting harder every day.



Ohio Teachers, Did You Know?

Having been through the process of attempting to get disability for two years now through STRS I thought I would journal some of my experiences, not as to complain, but as to allow others to glean from my experiences with that system. As one who believed the system was there in case I needed itH I must admit that I was more than stunned by the paperwork needs for proof. Not because of the difficulty of the task which appears to be quite simple,  but because of the variety of issues trying to figure out how to get the paperwork done. About two years ago I began to collect paperwork to prove my injury from an accident. At that time I did not even know I had a TBI. I went to a neuro psychologist to take his tests and also went to other doctors for documentation. Being that my primary physician would not complete the paperwork I sought out a new doctor that would. That doctor did fill out the first set of paperwork as he promised and I submitted it. The first round of paperwork was declined. I see now that I did not have enough proof. Yet, I hired an attorney and went to court.  (DO NOT pay up front – we lost $2,500 as I thought that cost was for the entire process and it was not.) We lost. That week I called in to the office to report I had gotten the denial and to ask how we should continue to find that my attorney had left the firm. I had no records of what had transpired in court as I did not pay for it to be typed up. I was more than upset. She had never mentioned to me she was leaving the firm.  Moving on I went to therapies for months at a time etc trying to get my vision returned to normal. It was during this process that I learned I have post traumatic vision syndrome and a TBI. It can be improved through therapy, I was told. The therapy made me ill and I really hated doing it. I went from there to find a neuro ophthalmologist to be told that nothing could be done and that the therapy was a waste of time and money. I needed to accept what was happening. My vision issues were permanent.  But, that doctor who was an MD would not sign the paperwork for disability. You see, I had a signed paper from an eye doctor that is world renowned for her vision therapy techniques but because she was not an MD or DO (which I thought was a doctor of optometry) , her paperwork would be acceptable as additional commentary but without the signature of an MD the paperwork would not even be looked at.  I went to so many MDs trying to get paperwork signed. But, as many of you know a TBI is not easy to prove.  Meanwhile, my attorney had told me that a  new person was taking over my file. He let me know that when I had a doctor that would sign the paperwork he would help. Basically until then I was on my own. I was told that I had the EASY part getting the doctors to sign the form. He gave me no suggestions as who to go to for the form to be signed nor any help at all. He seemed to be one that gathered my paperwork and sat on it while I did the work.  When I attempted to give the firm a bad rating I got a letter in the mail that was not nice. I got scared. Anyway, finding a doctor to sign the paper is not an easy task and will be a topic of another blog. I went to visit STRS when I was almost out of time and the person assisting me explained to me that there are teachers in Ohio that are completely blind and teach. Even if I went totally blind I could not get disability from STRS.  I called senators and congressmen trying to find help. They said it was not their jurisdiction although one did call STRS to state I had called them. ?? Not much help in my eyes.  I ended up not being able to get a doctor to fill out my form so that STRS would review my file a second time. I recently ran out of time and am now waiting on paperwork for standard retirement to process.


Those of you who teach in Ohio, I suggest that you not rely on the STRS disability system.  It is not what I thought it was at all.  I have had no income now for over two years. I will not have an income for a month or so even with the standard retirement. When you file for that you cannot work for a few months, even part time. Paperwork takes time. When I tried to work a few hours during the process even the local service to assist those who are disabled told me that I could not work and file as STRS is very picky and will decline an application for anything they can.  I might be able to work a part time job a few days a week but have been unable to do so. You cannot get unemployment during the process either. If you do that you are in fact stating that you can work. You will be denied if you take unemployment.  In addition most all applications are denied the first round. You will need to be seen by the STRS doctors that they assign you to. Some say that they have more clout than the doctors you choose to go to.  I am not one that knows that but can see how it can happen. My suggestion would be to look into a disability rider on your insurance. It would possibly help to pay your bills during the process. People have lost their homes etc. during this process. I also suggest that you spend less out of your pocket for classroom materials. Put that money in the bank. You might need it one day to buy food for your loved ones.  By the way, if you become disabled and do not have enough years in service you may need to wait to get payment from your file. I was told I needed a certain number of years to get retirement at my age or I would need to wait until I turn 60 to get anything. Know the rules. Pay off you house. Pay off your cars. Be ready in case. I am blessed to have a spouse that supported me.  Can you live on one income for years? Are you a single income family?

Ohio teachers, did you know all of this? I will write more when I can. Eyes are tired. I want to let others know what you face in the real world. It is not an easy thing to get. Your life can change permanently at any moment. HUGZ

Cherish :Daily Prompt

via Daily Prompt: Cherish


“Cherish is the word I use to describe… all those feelings that I have hiding deep down inside…. ” These lyrics rang in the mind of my younger self.  I loved the words to this song and yet I had just begun to understand the true meaning of them. To cherish back then was to love in a simple way; holding another’s hand or to view a brief kiss of a couple nearby.  Yet, now I see so much more depth and breadth to that simple word.  To cherish now means to hold one’s heart in your hands and in your heart. To be blessed enough to have that person in your life for the long haul no matter what is to be able to cherish them. It is to know that person inside and out and to love when they walk into the room even after forty years of marriage.  Cherish is only one part of the vows I took so long ago – I pledged to love, honor, and cherish the man I love. Those words spoken to be done in any condition even in sickness. In the last few years since the accident that left me unable to work I have watched my spouse take on all of the challenges including the monetary ones without even one word of complaint. In those years I have watched him work hard as he always has asking nothing in return. He has even told me that all will be okay and has encouraged me on so many occasions. I am so blessed to have a man in my life that is so loving and caring. I cherish my time with him. The time home has brought us closer together and allowed me to love him through simple acts such as baking or cooking meals for him. To cherish is to love in a way that nobody else will ever know of. Even if you read this you will never understand the meaning of our love.

As I read posts on Facebook from those who are caregivers I see so much distress in their words. I see their emotions that they wear on their sleeves. I feel for them. Yet. I also feel for their loved ones with the TBI. I wonder if their loved ones read their posts. I wonder how they feel being caught in a world that they did not ask for with someone they cherish complaining about them. To lose one’s self has to be hard enough. To lose one they cherish and live through their opinions and blasphemy has to make it far worse.  My old self is gone. But parts of that old me remain. I am thankful that my love for my spouse remains. I am thankful that he cherishes me enough to not cast his problems on me as I heal.

“Cherish is the word I use to describe… all those feelings that I have hiding deep down inside….” Do you cherish the person you are a caregiver for? if you do then think of how you show that to them in your every day actions.  I am blessed to have my spouse. Are they blessed to have you?



Proclivity – Daily response

via Daily Prompt: Proclivity

I wish that I could state that my thing I do regularly is blog. But I don’t. I seem to do well for a while and then life and it’s activities grab ahold of me and I am not focused on my writing.  My tendency is to choose other things. I do so many things on a regular basis, but not write. I need to make it a predisposed part of my day.

I have been so busy attempting to fulfill the requirements of the STRS disability  board that my life has been like a ragdoll tossed to the side for near two years now. I just ran out of time with the whole process of getting disability. It seems as if proving ones traumatic brain injury is not easily done. I have been to so many doctors over the course of the last two years and to no avail have not one doctor who was willing to fill out the documentation.  I am left with no money; no pay for over two years now and bills from trying everything I could to get what they asked for.  I feel as if I wasted thousands of dollars in an effort to get something I was due and lost.  I paid into a system that was supposed to be there if I needed it.  But, as for me it was not. I now must accept the lower payout of standard retirement. I will not get any money for a while now as the process will take time. I cannot work as I am disabled – just not on paper for STRS.  I had lived in a world filled with illusions that the money I had put into the fund was there for me if were ever to need it. But, I have found that to get that money back out is not that easy. I wish I had bought disability insurance prior to my accident. My hope is that I will be able to find a part time job that I can do a few days a week for a few dollars. I am not sure I can work in fluorescent lights at all but I think I would like to try.

Perhaps now I can write a bit each day as the paperwork attempt is over. It filled my life and robbed me of so much. I need to move on. HUGZ



Anticipation of the Unknown

via Daily Prompt: Anticipate

Ramblings on the topic of anticipation of the future, the unknown:

Carly Simon’s song Anticipation begins with the following words,

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway 

So true, we think on the future most all days and wonder about what is to come. This week we have watched as Texas has been digging out from the massive floods and see that more trouble could be heading toward more in the US. We hear predictions of this and that. Turn the channel and hear yet another prediction or commentary on the prediction of someone else.  Some people are rushing to gather needs as they anticipate what will occur over the course of the next few days. Will it hit the East coast or the Gulf side? How strong of an impact the trail of terror impact us all? Will my loved ones be okay? Will my home and belongings be lost? What will happen?

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway 

So, what do you do when you want to know of the future and want some input from an outside source?  Do you turn on the news? Go online and research the topic? Visit a psychic?  Pray and ask God? Worry and think of every single possibility that might occur? Call your friends and ask them what they think will happen? Most people do one or more of those things. So much of the time we spend our moments in the future. Is it an attempt to control it? Does it give us a sense of security?

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway 

What about premonitions and dreams that we have to tell us of the future? Do they come true? Why do we have them? Those are good questions and I would love to have input from others on this topic.  I do not know the answer. But, I hope I am making you think. (In my opinion those are to not so much warn us of things to come but to be able to pray for those situations in advance to alter them to lessen the effects on all peoples.)

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway 

We are not in control of much. Especially not the future. Yes, we can do things to alter our direction but we cannot control what will happen with those things we do. Take for example the impact of flooding on the good people of Texas. Many had wonderful homes, vehicles, belongings and more. All gone. They had planned to be ready for the future with said items and now … nothing much is left. They will be lucky to have their insurance companies replace those items. Another example-  I had taken several classes to advance my career and now have a traumatic brain injury and cannot work.  I do not regret taking those courses and still wish I could use the education but I cannot.  What about the loss of a loved one? How many times have you wondered who will go first – you or your loved one?  We are not in control of that unless we break the law. That is written by God.  We are not in control of near as much as we would like to be.

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway 

Those days to come are going to come (unless we die) and will be filled with all kinds of life. There will be bad times, good times, happy times, and sad times. There will be days that will feel as if someone grabbled hold of your heart and ripped it out. There will be days when we will feel love overtake our beings and we will weep with joy. There is no song, no dreams, no time travel to let us know what will occur. We try to embrace those who will predict, those who seem to know and hold on tight to hope. Hope that we will guess correctly and that all will be as on the happy ending movies or in the TV shows of yesteryears. But more than that we fear that a bad thing will happen and at times we dwell on it.

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway …… even though what we think never comes true as we thought it would.  Live for today. Be in the moment and place the things of tomorrow in God’s hands. Your life will be so much happier if you do.


Anxiety Attack

I am having an anxiety attack – lawyer called and he had my stuff on hold as I have not gathered the paperwork he needs. “That is the easy part,” he stated. I need to figure out how to do this paperwork gathering thing as it is supposed to be easy. My head is spinning. I am crying. I am trying to focus to write this. My heart is racing and I think I should just go lie down and pray my mind stops. I cannot keep up the process they are asking me to do for the disability paperwork. I am trying. I have no help and see no end to this. I am not usually this negative but will this ever end? I need someone who can prove what is going on in my head. The attorney says the doctors know and can refer me. That has never happened yet! I keep on having to call to get ideas from organizations etc as TBI is not something most people understand. I feel like I am going to have a full blown panic attack.  My eyes are burning as I type. My neck is aching. I am waiting on a psychologist office to call me back. I need to see if they can just drug me to get me through having no income, not being able to work nor volunteer, and just being a nobody to please the system that might eventually see I cannot work. When will this all end? I wanted to write when I am in this state of mind to show you how frustrating this system is. I hope that you do not ever have to go through this stupid setup of a bureaucratic mess.  Cannot proofread right now. Gotta go. HUGZ to you all —and I care and that is why I write even when I am like this.

Critical – TBI Needs to Have More Awareness / Understanding

via Daily Prompt: Critical

I once lived in a world with the unknowers. Those who did not know about Traumatic Brain Injuries nor of the vast number of people who this, at times life long, issue effects. I used to teach TBI children and in some ways be like those who had no clue. I read a bit about it and I tried to understand as to make the child’s experience in school the best possible. But, I never knew the true impact of the condition on their well being and their being able to learn. As I grow in this field of knowledge I see so many things that I never knew before. I would like to share a few of those with you.

1.  Getting disability is not easy nor is it a given – I have been to so many doctors, therapists, counselors and more. Yet, the proof of my TBI and how it effects me has yet to be completed. I have until December of this year and then I am out of luck. If I do not prove my disability to them I will continue to have no income, and possibly no back pay.

pasted in — {Here in Ohio in past years, OPERS, STRS, and SERS were better disability plans than Social Security Disability. It used to be that an individual would be eligible for a disability benefit if he or she was medically unable to perform his or her job. You did not have to prove you were disabled from performing any occupation in the economy. Beginning January 7, 2013, this has all changed.
A pension reform bill, passed in 2012 and effective January 7, 2013, made obtaining state disability payments much more difficult. You now must prove, after either two or three years of a disability, that you are unable to work at any job – not just your past job. You are also required to attend and receive rehabilitative services if you desire benefits beyond three years. And although your disability might have forced you out of work, disability back payments are cut off for any time period prior to your last contribution date, meaning a longevity payment while you are “on leave” from your job could cost you tens of thousands of dollars.} copied from an STRS attorneys site as to clarify 

Going on in my own words- I translate this as saying that I need to be without an income all the while paying doctors, therapists, attorneys, drivers, and more. Without an income I am sure that some have lost their homes etc all to attempt to prove their disability. Never think this is an easy task. It is not.

2.  Working is not always possible even if you want to do so to make some kind of money – In my experience I have not been able to be cleared by a doctor to work. I can only drive within 20-30 minutes from my home as my vision issues could bring about an accident etc. I have been selling some things online and have gone to a few market events to sell my crafts. But, I make very little. I have been told that even that minor activity could result in my losing my claim for disability. I even went to a state agency to help me find a job and I was told that I would need to wait until after the STRS hearings are complete to be able to find anything. They are concerned that I would not get my disability. The job I was looking at was 3 1/2 hours a day placing dinner in front of the elderly at a local resident care facility. I would only do so four days a week and the owner knew of my ailments. He was going to work with me to help me be able to have some sort of income. The main objective of the job was to be caring toward the residents, serve them, talk to them, love them. I could do that! I have also been told that I cannot volunteer in any capacity. To do so would reveal that I can work. WHAT? To go talk to the elderly would help me to have connections with the world. That is nothing like the job I had teaching. There is no paperwork, no reading with comprehension, no stressors. If not for my spouse I honestly do not know where I would be. I know I am grateful to him for working so many hours to support my livelihood. I cannot work for many reasons. Many of them I had not known about prior to being in this position.

3.  Attorneys are not always the answer.   The attorney for my accident would not believe me that I was going to be unable to return to work. The settlement for the accident barely covered the cost of the a few of the bills I had accumulated in the first two years. I took what I could get and felt angered at the system that tells us that insurance will care for us. They are there “On your side”. On your side is varied from behind your back dear friends. I can stand at your side and hold you up for a while but being behind your back would mean that I would support you and know of your hardships. I would fight for you.

Attorneys were also hired to help me with my STRS claims. The first lady was quite nice and did talk to me quite a bit about my case prior to the first appearance in court. I spoke mostly that day to defend myself. She spoke some. We left and the paperwork that I had ben denied soon came. I called the office to let her know per her request and was greeted by a confusing response. I was told that she did not work there and that I had the wrong number. Going on to tell them that I had just been in court with her last week they then changed their answer to that she had left her position there. I would need to talk to someone else. Since then I have had very little help. I call and the message boxes are full etc. My spouse and I had prepaid up front for their help – $2,500 to be exact.  Now, I was being told that they would continue with my case if I now offered to pay them their share when we won.  That was not what had been presented before. I would never pay ahead again. We had to take that money out of our savings. It is not right. I pay and I get no help. I am awaiting a call back again as I type this.  My attorneys have not been doing what I thought they were supposed to do. I hope it gets better.

4. Support systems are needed – Living in a rural area I have found a great group online that I belong to on Facebook and I have gleaned much from it. Yet, I would like to see more for those of us in need. I see lots of fund raisers for all kinds of things but I have never seen one for TBI sufferers and their families. I feel invisible at times. I hope for this to change and for my being able to help with this cause.

5. Continued Research is Needed – I have been to doctors who really have no clue. I am not being mean, just honest. It seems as if this topic is not one of great wisdom. I keep on seeking people to go to and they are versed in one area of understanding but not in what I need. I would like to see more research and publication of findings for those in the medical field to have available.

TBI and its effects is now gaining more awareness through the venue of football but we need so much more. It is critical that we all speak out and aid those in need. My eyes can no longer focus to proof this etc. I am sorry if there are typos.