In my last post- which feels like forever ago (December 2015)- I said I would discuss one sexual topic per day, that is relation to TBI. However, when I posted that I would commit that way, I was being extremely optimistic. Optimism is one of those outlooks I try to have more of since my TBI. Though, lately it is increasingly more difficult.
In December, I was medically released from my career of 15.5 years. I went on FMLA leave in June 2015, and since I am not able to return to that line of work, I was medically released after six months. Though I knew it was coming, I had a difficult time accepting the fact that I was no longer employed, especially at a place that I was with for so long, and the only place I ever had a career. Additionally, the short-term disability company that I was receiving my benefits through, stopped paying me in the beginning of October 2015, forcing me to dip into savings. I won't place their name in the blog (right now), but their reasons are the most appalling. I have never felt so stuck in a situation as I do right now.
I am currently pending approval for an early retirement for disability reasons, relating to the depression & ADD symptoms I have now since my TBI. As part of the process, I had to undergo independent exams with a neuro-psychologist and psychiatrist. These professionals were chosen and paid for by the board which is reviewing my retirement application.
The neuro-psychologist was first. He spoke with me for about 10 minutes, and then left me in a room, alone, to do a series of tests, including the MMPI-II and others. I took one bathroom break and he entered the room one time to check on me. These tests were all true and false, with no in-between. When I asked for clarification on answering the questions before the test, he said to answer anyway I interpreted the questions, and he would answer any areas I left blank after the test. Unbeknownst to me, answering honestly was setting me up to look like a liar.
The tests had questions that inquired about whether I got headaches, neck aches, trouble sleeping, etc. I answered honestly. However, what I found out in the results was that my honest answers showed me as a "malingerer"- aka LIAR. What????? Of course this was more difficult for me to deal with than not having a job. I have never been called a liar. If anything, I tend to say more than I should. Why would this test do this? In speaking with my therapist, and of course doing some research, I found out that these tests are so poorly designed, that anyone with trauma, PTSD, injury (especially TBI), and ADD are going to result as "malingerers", since the questions target symptoms and experiences that this population suffers from and deals with. After finding out that these "fake bad scale" is not used by reputable psychologists or recommended in a forensic setting, or to be used for people with documented trauma and injury, I felt better. However, now I have the word of a irreputable psychologist with antiquated TBI knowledge, going before the retirement board. He had the nerve to say that all mild TBI are 100% recoverable with no symptoms of trauma occurring. I thought this was interesting, especially considering the mass amounts of research and information being disseminated daily about the impact of even "mild" TBI on the brain (additionally, my TBI was a "compound TBI", stemming from multiple head injuries (the last one was "the straw")). The medical psychiatrist perspective was much more aligned with current fact and information, and was entirely opposite the psychologist opinion. I guess I will have to wait and see what the retirement board believes.
For my short-term disability claim, I received a notice that there was not sufficient evidence to support my claim, and essentially pay me the money they stopped paying me from October 11 through December 3. I did not see that coming. They noted that they could not reach my psychologist, psychiatrist, internist, neurologist, or therapist, but were still able to conclusively make a decision based on the fact that my one year vision appointment noted no change in my double vision, and that I likely exaggerated my symptoms based on the independent exam by the independent medical exam. They received that information from one note that my therapist wrote, where she stated that I was upset about the malingering conclusion, and continued her note to include that the results would not be supported based on medical information, etc, and that she believed him to be inaccurate in his findings. The short-term lady chose to exclude the content apparently.
I am going nuts with all this.
So, though I am still trying my hardest to stay positive, I am having a VERY difficult time. I have applied for a cashiering job to make some money, but I am not confident right now. I still have my personal business, but my depression is really in the way of my success. I am my own worst enemy. I am logically aware of the issues, yet I continue to struggle to get past them. I know in the long run I will be okay, but I really feel as though I am not being heard.
Thank you for listening here.
Be the reason someone chose not to give-up.
Photo credit to https://beacon.wharton.upenn.edu/entrepreneurship/2014/11/scale-your-mindset/