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.

 

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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

 

 

Daily Prompt: Penchant

via Daily Prompt: Penchant

         Okay, I am going to come out and just say it, I had to look up this word to know what it meant. LOL According to the online dictionary it means to have a strong or habitual liking for something or tendency to do something. Well I have a bunch of those.
1. Chocolate – I love chocolate. In fact some might say I am addicted to those little chocolate pieces we call M&Ms.  My kids knew I love those little morsels and avoided eating them. They knew that momma had times where her cravings were too big for her and if they were gone a silent parade of events would occur. First up would be the finding of the keys and some money. Second would be the drive (20 minutes) to town to buy more. Lastly, the overindulgence of chocolate — as by now the craving was more intense than ever. If the purse was empty then a search of the house for anything else chocolate would ensue. Fudgesicles, cookies, you name it, even chocolate chips were in danger of being consumed. Chocolate is an obsession for me. It is my number one go to in times of stress.  I have a penchant for eating chocolate as many do.
2. I have a penchant to fight for what is right. I do not know why this is a part of me, but it is. If I see something I disagree with I do not just do it as some do, I stand up and say something. I must say that this has caused me a lot of stress in my life. My book, Molding Sharon, is an example of this. I wrote it as one who has lived life with the loss of a child due to an abortion. An abortion that neither the father nor I wanted. I wrote the book as a way to process what had happened and it helped me to heal immensely.  Following it’s publication, I was asked to speak in DC at the march and other locations locally. That was all fine. But the ramifications from family were the things that hurt the worst. I have found that even when you stand up for what is right (in your mind) there will be people who oppose your line of thought. Some are nice about it and others not so much. That is their right. After years of fighting for the rights of my special needs kids, asking for clarification in the laws as to be sure someone is not being forced into an abortion, and now the effects of a TBI on oneself and family I have slowed down fighting for what is right. My PTSD flares up easily and the possible threats from those in opposition scare m
e away for the most part. Typing on this site seems safe thus far. I will fight in a new way for what is right. It is a part of me, that part of the old me did not die.
3. I love animals. When I see a puppy or a pet of any kind my world turns into a childhood sea of emotions. I want to run to touch, pet, kiss, and love on them every time. In the past I was the person who had the imaginary sign that only animals could see in my front yard. I imagined it saying in bold print – SUCKER LIVES HERE – GO TO THE DOOR and look lost.  Worked every time. Over the years we have taken in so many strays. Some I kept following a search for the owners. Others I nurtured and set free. The last stray I took in was a little raccoon. He had been bit by a car and was stunned. I fed him with an eye dropper. He was too cute, but oh so messy. I love animals and always will.  It is one of the best things about working the farmer’s markets. I get to see all kinds of dogs there. I even get to pet the Amish horses waiting to pull the buggies home.
4. I loved teaching. It is in the past now but I yet find myself doing things that will help my grandchildren to learn. I buy the  gifts that will foster their creativity or love of sports. I miss teaching for it was a big part of me for over 30 years.
5. I love learning. Why, even today I learned a new word! Life is so full of wonderful things to explore! Why not explore it to the fullest all the while doing as you love. What are your favorite things to do?
 When someone asks you who you are do you answer and say what you do for your profession? Many do.  I have changed that now. I would say that I am one who is a Christian woman, in love with chocolate, animals. children, and learning. I stand up and fight for causes I believe in and love the little guy. I am me. How would you describe yourself? I would love to know.

Will I Overcome? Not This Time

via Daily Prompt: Overcome

 

My fortieth class reunion is tonight. I am not going. I would but the people I held most dear during that time on my life are not coming or have passed away. I thought about going but then realized that with a traumatic brain injury the band after dinner alone would be too much. I picture the reunion in my head and see the tables of people talking and laughing about old times. They are discussing their careers and grandchildren. I have grandchildren. I could discuss them. But my career is over and I miss it dearly.  The multiple conversations going on about me would force me to attempt to focus in on the one nearest to me and somehow attempt to hear what they are saying. That used to be so easy to do. But, now it is frustrating and it makes me quite anxious.  I have overcome so many things in the past forty years. I have lost dear friends, family members, loved ones. I have survived major accidents and more. Yet, this time I cannot beat this thing that has messed up my brain. I keep on trying. I cannot overcome. I cannot be successful with beating this injury. It has literally taken over my life. I cannot even go and enjoy my class reunion. I know I am venting. I seem to need to do that from time to time. I vent because when I looked forward in my life I did not see this one coming.

I sat at my graduation while over 400 students walked up to get their diplomas and pictured my future. I saw a family who loved one another, a good looking dude at my side, a house with the white picket fence, a dog, and I was working as a teacher. That was all I wanted. I wasn’t asking for much. God blessed me with all but the dumb fence. I was living my dream. Then came the accident. It all seemed to come crashing down little by little after that. No more career, no more being able to drive to go family or friends, no more dog. Why no more dog? I get sick if I bend over too much. To care for a dog and have to hook them on a line to let them out would literally make me ill. So, I visit them at the farmer’s markets and swoon over them there. I miss so many things. I miss having a dog to jump on my lap. I miss being able to drive to soccer games and to be at the pool with my grandkids. Yea, I smile and make people think it is all good. I am pretty good at wearing that mask, jacket, whatever you want to call it. Then days like today come along and I come on here and type. I type to let others know how I truly feel. How hard it is to not be the old me. I miss her. I liked her more than I like the new me I have had to become. She would have been able to go to the reunion. But, here I sit and read the posts of the people in town and sulk. I have not overcome. Not today. Some days I do all right. But just like when someone you love dies you have those days that rear their ugly head and remind you of your loss. You cry and move on. It is life.

I thank you Lord for my family, and my home without the silly picket fence. I thank you for my dude at my side and for all of the things you have blessed us with. I will overcome this day by day one step at a time with you by my side. But as for today, keep me busy and let me feel you near. I overcome only with you at my side. HUGZ

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.