I applied for CPP disability (Canadian) when it became apparent this vertigo issue was going to last for some time… who knows how long. And the chronic migraines and fibromyalgia were already affecting my capacity to work part-time. The vertigo just killed the possibility of working at all. I got approved without having to endure the struggle of appealing. That is good because my energy is very limited for that sort of thing. I think it took me more than a week to just fill out the form. So I am not just disabled. I am officially disabled. Because they understood what I am going through and for that, I am very thankful.
And it is an interesting feeling being approved for government disability. I feel relieved. Very relieved. I have been dropped from long-term insurance from work on a whim before when I was ardently suicidal at the time. So I do not trust that income. Although I will appeal if they try that again… because I have the will to fight now. And I didn’t then. I just… gave up. So CPP income is more solid of an income without that insane fear.
But it sounds so permanent. Like maybe I’ll never get better. And I really do have that fear. That I will be stuck like this. However, it is regular income… doesn’t mean it is permanent. Because I just do not know what sort of improvement I could have in the future. You just never know. And it would be lovely to work again someday.
Also there is the whole I am a completely nonfunctional human being. But we know that isn’t true. We are just riding out a rough storm. We have a lot of value and worth outside of work.
Do you call yourself disabled?
For many years, deep into my depression and with daily unmanaged migraines I refused to call myself disabled. I was working full-time, right? Sort of. Not very well and with a lot of leaves of absence, missed days, and presenteeism. But I pretended it was temporary and I was functional enough. And I think somewhere after my suicide attempt I realized I couldn’t just ‘push through’ and force myself to function without massive, deep, horrific consequences. And then I understood I have a disability. When I returned to work after my long term leave… I couldn’t function because I hadn’t improved. And so they bumped me down to part-time. And it was better… but not enough. Still too many missed days and having a really hard time functioning and coping with the pain and concentration issues when I was present. And I knew I shouldn’t be working at all. My doctor said I shouldn’t be working. My psychologists… all three I’d seen for the depression said I could not work. But I was in a rock and a hard spot because my insurance company couldn’t care less about what they said or what I said.
And then worse happened.
Then the vertigo happened. And worsened. And then got really nutbars. And I couldn’t function at All. Or drive. Or even be upright for long. Or even get through the day without periods of long rest. You can’t push through vertigo. It isn’t like pain… where you shouldn’t push through but you make yourself. Vertigo just gets violently worse with activity. And you fall more and more episodes of severe external vertigo and start vomiting. That deters you from doing too much or much at all. Also every damn time I take a tumble I injure something. That is beginning to tick me off. This last one I tried to put my pants on… standing, and of course severely lost my balance, staggered and fell on the bed… and stabbed my heel on the metal part of the bed. Stabbed it good. And the fall before that was an external vertigo bout while standing, which makes you drop like a rock… fortunately I fell onto the couch this time, but I twisted myself somehow when I did and ripped the muscle in my side which hasn’t recovered yet. I guess a pretty severe tear or I just am not recovering well. Anyway, I fall. And sometimes the wall catches me and sometimes, well, not so much.
And I completely accepted that while this bout lasts I am truly and completely disabled. But I didn’t think at all it would last this long. And now I just have no clue how long I will endure this. It took a year to get on short-term but a lot less for long-term. Now long-term is at the point where they will decide if I cannot do Any job. And, man, there is no job out there that would let you be unreliable, undependable, and unable to actually work if you managed to get there.
So there is acknowledgment this is necessary but a bit of melancholy that it is in fact necessary. No one wants to be disabled. By pain. Or other things. And it can really suck to not be able to work let alone just do the things you like to do. I don’t like admitting to that. And once you do, you do feel a bit of sadness about it. Even though you know there is nothing else you can do to change it at the moment. This is the way it has to be for now.
Canadian leave and disability
Question: Is fibromyalgia a disability?
When to disclose and invisible disability in a relationship