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META-POST: Things I Don’t Blog About Weekly

UPDATE: Okay, first of all, I want to say thank you for all the comments and e-mails – WHOA, that is a lot of e-mails! More than any other post, even! – which have been very sweet and kind. Second, I know this post is like, destined to be the first thing they read in the course they are eventually going to teach on Overshare 101, and I do need to let y’all know that me and mine are REALLY OKAY. This post has some sadness, but also, do you want to know a secret? Everyone’s life, upon examination, contains some sadness. EVERYONE’S. So please, do not worry about me. Don’t cry for me, Blogentina! Okay. Anyway.

My name is Sady Doyle. I have a blog. Here are some amazing true facts about me.

I have not applied for the position of Leader of Feminism. I have not been anointed the Leader of Feminism. I have not, nor will I ever, position myself as a Feminist Hero. I have not ever presented myself as anything other than a flawed and specific person; I never will present myself as less than a flawed and specific person. I am a flawed person, flawed specifically in the ways that are unique to me. Still, when I get criticized, I take it very seriously; I mean it when I say that there is not one single criticism of me (that I know of) that I have not spent some time sitting with and trying to reasonably evaluate and subsequently internalizing to the degree that is necessary. I know people who think I do this too much. It is true that I do it even with the MRAs and libertarians and Paglia fans and assholes, which is probably excessive, but I consider it a moral regimen: spend part of every day listening to people with whom you strongly disagree, and assuming that they are just people like you who are operating in good faith and coming to different conclusions than you have, and paying attention to what they have to say without resorting to any defense mechanisms for shooting them or their ideas down, is my recommendation to everyone, and it’s even more trying and Intellectual Yoga-like if they are straight-up calling you, personally, a bitchface. (I think I might be kind of a bitchface? Or at least a brat with a big mouth who can’t always back it up. WORKING ON IT, you guys.) So, you know, when the criticism comes from folks I do tend to agree with, I take it much more seriously, is the thing.

Aside from being a flawed person, I am also a person with a family history of disability. My brother, like his father and most likely his grandmother before him, has a severe mental illness. In his case, the illness has rendered him unable to work. This illness is called schizoaffective disorder. Many people with this disease die homeless. It is the current project of my family to ensure that this does not turn out to be the case for my brother.

I do not talk about this, on Tiger Beatdown. The reason for this is that I feel that every human being is entitled to privacy, and one of the more major violations of privacy is to have one’s sister talk about one’s highly stigmatized illness on the Internet, for political reasons. However.


Here are some things which concern me, in the realm of disability: the fact that my brother’s disability application was recently denied. The fact that my family is currently going through an appeals process. The fact that the reason we have to go through an appeals process in the first place is that my mother carefully did her homework, prepared (she tells me) pages of detailed documentation, and then had a different, severely half-assed application turned in by an apathetic bureaucrat in her stead. The overall lack of investment – or maybe, just the overall lack of time to invest – among social workers and public servants that this turn of events implies. The lack of universal health care which would ensure that treatments for my brother’s illness (along with the various treatments for depression and anxiety, which at this point every member of my family requires) did not place an undue financial burden on my family in the first place. The fact that my mother and stepfather, having lost a lot of money in the crash just like everyone else, and existing in the same climate of financial insecurity as everyone else (although they are comfortably middle-class by any definition) are currently arranging a trust fund for my brother, so that when they die his lack of ability to attain an income will not result in his being unable to feed himself or find shelter. The fact that, when my parents die, I will be responsible for managing this fund, along with providing any further care that my brother may require. The fact that every decision in my life, from who to date to where to live to career and financial choices to whether and when to have children myself (since it is obvious that, given my family’s genetic history, any child of mine would be likely to at least require treatment for depression – I’ve been getting it since the age of eight – and could realistically be a lifelong dependent for whom I would have to provide; this is not to say that I would not have children, it is to say that my child would probably require more money than some children in order to be taken care of, and to say that I am already looking at a future in which it is assured that I will be responsible for the welfare of at least one human being younger than myself) will and must be influenced by the fact of my brother’s illness and my eventual responsibilities as caretaker. The fact that my mother is entering her late fifties, and is suffering from so much stress related to her job and life that it is literally making her sick – her immune system is crashing, she is upping her antidepressants like whoa, she recently had to go in for a gall bladder operation, and it is her belief that this is her body yelling at her for the amount of shit she puts it through, and I do not tend to disagree – and yet it is impossible for her to retire or to stop incurring major stress, given the above-mentioned factors.

I do not underestimate the seriousness of disability, or its very real impact on every part of the disabled person’s life, or on the lives of those who are responsible to the disabled person. I do not underestimate the ability of unjust structural factors to increase this impact to a humanly unbearable degree. There is not a moment in my life in which ignorance of these facts is possible, or permissible. This is something you should know.

I do care about the discussion around disability rights. I also don’t participate in it much. I do question this decision, in case you are wondering. This very blog post is about questioning that decision, and what it may communicate to people who have no reasonable way to know what is going on behind the scenes. But, for one: there’s no way for me to participate without using someone else’s experience as a chip or as discussion fodder, and I don’t feel that any or every person in my life has to have his or her privacy sacrificed to my own all-important blogging habits. For two: I haven’t yet found a way to engage with my own history and experience there. Which isn’t to say that my history or experience is all-important, because it’s not; it’s just to say that until I know what I have to say about it, there’s not a lot of point in me saying anything. Right now, there’s not a language I’ve found that allows me to express what is going on in that department in anything other than highly personal and vulnerable terms, and highly personal and vulnerable terms do not belong in the public square unless you are ready for someone to be all, “I hate that funny blogging lady now! Once I liked her because she told jokes and I agreed with her, but now I want to punch her and I’m pretty sure that is fine too!” I mean, them’s the rules, Here Comes Everybody And They Want To Punch Your Face, but: don’t put it out there unless you’re ready for someone to declare you punchable or pee all over you about it. Because you’re not allowed to be surprised or outraged if that is what happens. So, I don’t talk about what’s going on. That doesn’t mean there is nothing going on. It never does. And I think it’s fair, given how very much of my life I cannibalize for public expression or political purposes, to say that some things get to stay on the back burner until I can find a way to speak to them. This isn’t even the only thing I am making a decision not to speak about, at the moment, and much of it is equally vital and complicated and uncomfortable; for everything that goes out, there are about a million things that stay in, and some of the stuff that goes out… well, I still rue the day I decided to let strangers know about it, primarily because it was real stupid, but whatever. The point is, I have boundaries, and this is a moment where you get to see me cross them, just because this discussion doesn’t make sense unless I let you see how these decisions are made.

Which isn’t to say that, when I am being a bitchface, or snide, or glossing over something, you don’t get to call me into account for that. Because the fact that I don’t tell you what is going on means that you can assume anything is going on, with some reason.

Anyway, these are some facts about me. I thought you ought to know them.

Questions?

29 Comments

  1. Mark Eddy wrote:

    Yes, I have a question. Why aren’t there more people like you in the world? Because it would be a better place, IMO, if there were.

    Oh, and (let’s see if I can phrase this as a question) thank you? For everything you share? Because you don’t have to, and yet, because you do, the world is a better place.

    Friday, January 29, 2010 at 2:08 am | Permalink
  2. Joanna wrote:

    No questions, but big thanks for writing about this. I’ve also set boundaries in my blogging about other people’s lives, even though I sometimes burn with the desire to tell the stories, or complain, or confess, or just share. But I don’t regret it–they are not only my stories to tell. I have a similar family medical history, and a sibling who also had to go through years of applications and appeals until she finally got the disability status she needed. So I hope your family’s persistence, and care, and farsightedness will also results in success further down the line. These experiences have moved me to start working for disabilty rights in my workplace, although I don’t always feel up to the task.
    As for the negative comments, observe them, but remember that they say more about their writers than they do about you.

    Friday, January 29, 2010 at 7:39 am | Permalink
  3. Renee wrote:

    Sady, I’m delurking to say thank you for this post and to commend you for taking this step. I wish everyone could honor each individual’s boundaries when it comes to the disclosure of private struggles, but the Internet is merciless that way.

    My son was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder almost one year ago at the age of 10. I read a quote somewhere recently that goes something like “Cancer tends to bring families together, whereas mental illness tends to tear them apart.” It’s sad but true.

    Like you, I have also been trying to figure out how to write about my experience, in my case as a mother of a child with a severe disability, particularly one like mental illness which is “invisible.” I am a writer at heart and I feel compelled to purge my experience in words as an act of catharsis. As a blogger I also feel compelled to share my writing with others. So far I have resisted this compulsion primarily because I don’t feel 100% comfortable sharing my family’s worst moments with the whole wide cyberworld. I can’t help but think that my son might resent me for it someday when he’s old enough to draw his own boundaries. I think he should have the right to decide what the world knows or doesn’t know about his private struggles with disability and I feel like it is my duty as his mother to protect his right to do so.

    On the other hand, I very much want to tear down the terrible stigmas associated with mental illness. I haven’t figured out how to reconcile these conflicting desires so for now I continue to err on the side of caution. I’m still relatively new to this issue so I’m doing a lot of processing.

    I recommend this site: BringChange2Mind.org. It’s an organization that aims to dismantle the stigmas around mental illness and treatment.

    I wish your family peace and healing.

    Friday, January 29, 2010 at 7:41 am | Permalink
  4. Maud wrote:

    Jessica Valenti’s work has never interested me even faintly. I am fairly confident that it never will. Yet, strangely, I am in no wise disturbed by the fact that you, Sady, feel differently, despite the ownership rights in your feelings, thoughts, interests and beliefs which clearly accrue to me by virtue of the fact that I read and enjoy your blog. I am also not moved to post on my blog a supremely whining whinefest about wanting to commit violence against you owing to the disloyalty you show to me, your reader, by not conforming your likes and dislikes to mine. But then, I don’t have a blog.

    The experience, thus far, of securing disability for your brother must be so disheartening. I’ve been through it myself; it’s wearing and intimidating. Given his diagnosis, I’m sure it will be granted in the end. I hope there is a positive resolution soon.

    Friday, January 29, 2010 at 8:25 am | Permalink
  5. Samantha b. wrote:

    I’ve been told by my md. mom that, under the Bush administration, it became virtually impossible to secure disability on the first time out, and that Obama has not done much to improve the situation. My grandmother is also schizoeffective bipolar. I myself became bipolar 1 three years ago, although the meds seem to work very well for me in a way they don’t for everyone. I have had a huge amount of shame from it- no one likes to think of themselves as crazy- and it’s precisely posts like this that help me come to accept my mental illness. It’s very lonely feeling abject, and it’s (oddly?) the feminist blogosphere that has done the most to alleviate that sense of loneliness. I totally don’t want to punch you in the face.

    Friday, January 29, 2010 at 8:40 am | Permalink
  6. radsaq wrote:

    I don’t see a reason why any of us should feel any compulsion to be perfect. We all see the world through our own individual lens. Complaining aside, I understand that people are generally just trying to say and do what they see as best for a given situation.

    Also, I too suffer from mental illness (an anxiety disorder), which no one seems to comprehend the seriousness of besides my sister, who is similarly affected. Fortunately for me, an SSRI a day gets me most of the way to functioning as a “normal” human being. But I fear for any potential children I may have that they will also suffer through the same disability.

    Friday, January 29, 2010 at 9:24 am | Permalink
  7. Nope, no questions. I’m going to be applying for disability income assistance myself thanks to a combination of chronic pain and mental illness. I’m told that the Social Security Administration’s policy is pretty much to deny everyone’s first application. Because you know there are so many people living high on disability checks and shit. So they do this as a fraud prevention measure. Even if you have all your ducks lined up perfectly they fuck you up the first time.

    It’s kind of the same impulse that drives Republican legislatures and administrations to tell the IRS to devote way more resources to investigating EITC fraud (which doesn’t happen much and doesn’t make the IRS much money when they find it) at the expense of ignoring billions worth of corporate income and hidden-asset tax fraud. They want to make sure that if anyone poor gets anything from the government that they suffer like fuck for it.

    Friday, January 29, 2010 at 9:34 am | Permalink
  8. Gnatalby wrote:

    Well I think you’re great, and feel free to put your boundaries wherever you want to.

    I’ll always think you’re super smart and awesome, and I’ve never wondering why you aren’t addressing some particular topic, but if I did I think I’d say to myself, “Geez, Sady writes a LOT, for a wide variety of publications and her personal blog. There is not enough time in the day for her to address every single topic on earth. Plus she is a blogger I like, not my robot servant who must adhere to my whims.”

    Keep being awesome, lady.

    Friday, January 29, 2010 at 9:47 am | Permalink
  9. Brigid Keely wrote:

    Hi! I’m 30 and have been dealing with depression since I was 7, and had to make the decision whether or not to have a kid despite having depression and other mental illness in my family. If you want to talk about this subject, please feel free to email me. Sometimes it can help to talk about this kind of thing.

    Anyway, I really like your blog and what you talk about and I have never wanted to punch you in the face physically or verbally.

    Friday, January 29, 2010 at 10:38 am | Permalink
  10. ASIL NOMIS wrote:

    I popped in to read you today after I Blame The Patriarchy, and then remembered wanting to re-read the post in which the turn of phrase “Twisty Fucking Faster” occurs (not remembering it was yours), then I googled it and it came up you, in a post about how Melissa McEwan is awesome, which reminded me I hadn’t donated in a while, so I gave her some cash.

    Friday, January 29, 2010 at 11:09 am | Permalink
  11. Stephanie wrote:

    I agree with gnatalby. I think you’re great. In fact your awesomeness is the reason I finally registered my own blog and got to it. I do not want to punch you in the face, though I sometimes want to punch the people that are making you question yourself in the face – though I won’t, I promise.

    Friday, January 29, 2010 at 11:23 am | Permalink
  12. Kathleen wrote:

    Just to reassure you, Sady, I want to second Kaninchenzero and say that turning down first disability applications and approving them on appeal is *extremely* common. It happened to my sister, and her relevant condition is genetic (ie, as prove-able as they get and not something that anyone can argue is just going to “get better”). So, take heart. They back-date payments to the original refusal when they decide it was in error, too.

    Of course, all of this means that only people with supportive, clued-in helpers make it through the system. Ie, not the people who are most in need of help. Super, right?

    About disability — I think you will find “coming out” on this one opens up your life and soul a lot; it turns out, in the world of compassionate feminists and progressives, a lot of folks come by their convictions from personal experience with stuff like disability. I swear you will find solidarity & it will bring you a lot of joy.

    Friday, January 29, 2010 at 11:39 am | Permalink
  13. CourtneyB wrote:

    Sometimes support is hard to come by, and in those moments maybe a stranger isn’t going to be able to help you feel okay. But I’ve taken care of my family too, and felt responsible and sometimes I’ve felt inadequate at that and sometimes I don’t know how to make any of that better. And I have had days when the depression wouldn’t let me see the love around me, for all the hate. And this might seem disingenuous coming from a stranger, coming from someone who could be lying and knows nothing about you but what you choose to share, and so I’m sorry. I wish that we lived in a world where this was acceptable, or believable, but we don’t and so I am being ridiculous:

    I love you.

    I love your voice and your humor, even in your pain. I love that you are vulnerable sometimes, because it lets me feel like I can be vulnerable too. I love that you are intelligent and creative.

    .Namaste

    Friday, January 29, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Permalink
  14. Christien wrote:

    Thank you for this. A sometimes writer and a constant overthinker, I have been considering starting a blog about my dealings with mental illness. Reality as I knew it crumbled some months ago, and being a student at a large university I assumed i could find a community of other college students dealing with similar issues. I thought I could find a healthy way to work past stigma and pathology and foster a sense of true, if not conventional, mental health. I can’t find it and rarely do I encounter anyone with the empathy, honesty, and insight evident in this post. I had decided not to create this blog, because I specialize in fairly grim humanitarian work and I had decided I had chosen enough battles to fight. The comments I have read and the thread of similarity in your personal struggle and other struggles have made me reconsider; battles choose us, sometimes, and I think I will put myself out there to open the discussion for people looking for community.

    Oh, and I adore your blog. Truly. Thank you, so much.

    Friday, January 29, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Permalink
  15. Jezebella wrote:

    My own brother was disabled by a head injury about twenty years ago. It was only about two years ago that I could finally say, out loud, “My brother is disabled.” It’s a tough road to walk, knowing that, like you, I will be his caregiver once my parents are gone. My parents are worried that if they set up a trust, he will lose his disability benefits and medicaid once he inherits that trust. It’s complicated and scary. And, as mentioned above, I’ve never met anyone that got disability benefits on the first application. They always, ALWAYS, turn you down the first time. It’s an absurd and cruel bureacratic bullshit mechanism designed to punish the disabled and their families.

    Friday, January 29, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Permalink
  16. Jason wrote:

    I just want to delurk to say that I love your writing, and thank you for reminding me how privileged and lucky I am.

    Take care.

    Friday, January 29, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Permalink
  17. Laima wrote:

    No questions here either, but thanks for the education on how disability affects a whole lot of people. (Not a topic I know much about.)

    I think you have a wonderful and insightful perspective, no matter what topic you choose to address. I always look forward to reading more of your posts. Thanks for sharing!

    Friday, January 29, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Permalink
  18. Helen wrote:

    “Why must you defensd such a miserably incompetent writer…”

    Mruphy’s law strikes again!

    Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 12:43 am | Permalink
  19. Smellen wrote:

    My mom has been on disability for MS for the past seven years or so. It is pretty much the reason why I can’t participate in any debates, online or otherwise, about health care. My roommate showed me a video of some right-wing rapper (yeah, about as good as you would expect) talking about how health care for poor people would be a socialist nightmare and blah blah blah, and I ended up just screaming for a solid half hour about how “THAT CLOWN WITH STUPID FACIAL HAIR JUST WANTS TO LET MY MOM DIE!” I know it’s an important thing to talk about, but I’ve learned that, for now at least, I just can’t do it, or else my vision goes red, “South Of Heaven” starts playing, and I realize half an hour later that someone’s teeth are embedded in my bleeding knuckles. Um, metaphorically speaking.

    Also, just for the record, I don’t hate you, nor do I actually want to punch you or see you micturated upon. What I was attempting to get across was more along the lines of “I do not think that argument is very convincing, unlike most of your other arguments.” I may be kind of an asshole, but I’m not the kind who would make fun of sensitive personal information, and if that’s how I come across I’m pretty horrified.

    Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 1:39 am | Permalink
  20. Sady wrote:

    @Smellen: Thanks for the comment. And, at the risk of being the sort of asshole who takes a moment to hash things out in public that should honestly be private, I just want to say: linking to you was really just about demonstrating a certain Trend In Internet Discourse, or maybe just Trend in Discourse, a trend that I definitely participate in – and I actually am spending a not-inconsiderable amount of time thinking about how to stop participating in it, right now, since it is probably my least favorite thing about myself, or at least in the Top 5 List – whereby we’re capable of dehumanizing others to the degree that we really can take the license to write “I want to punch her” if someone disagrees with us on any particular. I mean: I guess that you can see where my problems lie with this, as the hypothetical punch victim in this scenario, but I have to acknowledge that I am just as much of a dick as anyone else, maybe more so at times, and therefore I should take my punches because… well, because the World Wide Information Superhighway resembles nothing so much as a boxing ring, basically, and it disappoints me that I can get so hugely upset by a post such as yours, that it can get under my skin and define the way I think and speak and write for over a week, given that there have to be people out there who are equally upset by something I’ve written, and to give myself the right to feel like shit for a week over this is to acknowledge that I’ve created a lot of shitty weeks in people’s lives myself, for I am A MONSTER. So, this isn’t some call for civility, because those never work. Although it peeves me when people reserve the right to say they like me just because I am “funny” and then get angry at me to the extent of delivering Internet punches when we disagree, because I am not your personal party clown who you get to punish for stepping out of line and failing to make sufficiently amusing balloon animals, and I should be honest with you about how very, very angry that makes me. Cue Joe Pesci clip, blah blah blah. It’s just disheartening, in the way that all Feminist Blog Wars are disheartening, especially when we (note the self-incriminating pronoun) ream someone over one piece that we disagree with, seemingly failing to consider that we probably have more in common than not, in terms of what we believe – like, maybe save the punching for someone who DOESN’T give a shit about these very important issues or is NOT actively working on this with us? But it’s a common narcissism: nothing fascinates feminists or has the potential to enrage them like other feminists, and from what I can see that goes for writers and other writers, academics and other academics, on into infinity. Anyway, my point was that blog posts like yours are always going to exist, whether or not they are written by you, and that I wouldn’t write anything unless I was prepared to receive a punch-happy blog post about it. Hopefully.

    Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 3:51 am | Permalink
  21. Smellen wrote:

    Oh, but I still am very fond of your balloon animals. Which is to say, I should have realized that what I wrote definitely had the potential to sound more like “Y’ALL ARE FUNNY, KEEP MAKIN’ JOKES” rather than what I wanted it to sound like (“gee golly jeepers, I don’t think that’s a sound argument, and it seems more like a knee-jerk circling of the wagons than anything else, which is disappointing coming from someone who is usually amusing and also pretty right on”). This was also at the end of the post, at which time I was pretty well potted, so I was not really expressing myself in the best possible manner. I don’t like to do a whole lot of after-the-fact editing but I added a sober-er endnote which should clarify that a little more.

    I know I am harsher on people I probably mostly agree with, which may seem a little weird. It’s just that, personally, I don’t see a whole lot of point in engaging with LOLbertarians and Christian fundamentalists and others of that ilk, since I don’t know what productive end can come out of that. I’ll just end up being a little more misanthropic than when I started. Also, I don’t like to use my blog to point out super obvious sexist stuff, because a)I, personally, am writing mostly for an audience who’s already mostly on board with me politically and b)looking at such things bums me the fuck out. Not that I think it’s constructive to pretend such things don’t exist, and I do challenge that kind of stuff outside of exotic Bloglandia, but I’m not so into purposely seeking it out and writing detailed rebuttals of it.

    And I think a lot of good things have come out of inter-feminist arguments, like challenging the universalization of what weren’t very universal ideas of “women’s experiences” and “women’s work,” and redefining views of power so that they weren’t solely focused on gender. Not that my sour little grumblings have had any earth-shaking effects, but that’s what I aspire to. In short, I critique because I care. I probably could stand to be a little less abrasive about it, of course, but I’m working on it. Sort of. Sometimes.

    Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 10:07 am | Permalink
  22. Chrematisai wrote:

    Delurking to say thank you for your writing, and your honesty in this. I have the great luck of being pretty much neurotypical, but I am trying to make myself more aware of my own ignorance and privilege. Best of luck with the appeal.

    Also, I have no desire to punch you in the face or anywhere else. Quite to the contrary , I would like to offer you a virtual hug, if you take them (((Sady))). Sending good vibes you way!

    Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 11:48 am | Permalink
  23. Amelie wrote:

    I’m a lurker here. I often find myself wishing I could just go out and see movies with Sady and have our own mini Feminist Beatdowns in cleverly-phrased and humorous dialogue. (Creepy?)

    But the point is that I really do enjoy Sady’s writing, but I understand that life doesn’t allow her to entertain me personally whenever I demand it. (What? Sady? You don’t want to go to the movies with anonymous Internet person?)

    I hope for the best for you & your family.

    Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 11:02 am | Permalink
  24. Maura wrote:

    Sady, I’ve never wanted to punch you in the face. I usually want to give you a big old kiss on the cheek, and send you some homemade brownies, for being willing to dig through the dreck in order to get to the truth, and making me laugh while you do it.

    I get what you’re saying re: writing about the deeply personal stuff. I’m not a particularly forthcoming person, i.e., I’m not the kind of person who needs to hash things out with my friends on a regular basis. And when that deeply personal stuff involves someone I love, I can’t bring myself to write about it. My mother taught me “never say anything bad about your husband in public”. I’ve extended that to all members of my family and my friends, and that includes not making negative comments, and not talking about things in their lives that are no one else’s business. Although believe it when I tell you that I publicly chastised my husband, via my blog, because he put my favorite wooden spoon in the dishwasher. :o )

    RE: disability, if I may. Everyone is correct that it’s pretty much a matter of course to be rejected the first time. I hate to tell you this, but your parents need to hire a lawyer. SSA doesn’t pay much attention to people without one. The lawyer will take a percentage of the back-benefits, but, by federal law, they are not allowed to receive more than $6000. The money comes directly from the back-benefits check, before the check is mailed to the recipient. The attorney can charge you for administrative work. We paid my attorney $95.00, all of it to cover the cost of obtaining medical records from my gazillion doctors.

    Also, if a hearing is requested (which, IMO, it should be. It helps you to force the judge to put a human face into the situation), you’ll have a long wait. We waited almost two years from the time we first met with my attorney, and we didn’t get a hearing date until 6 weeks before the hearing was scheduled to be held.

    My apologies if you already know this. Applying for disability is a purposely long, difficult, total pain in the ass process. There’s a lot of information about it that’s beneficial to the applicant, but can be very hard to find. And it’s hard to get answers if you don’t even know the questions.

    Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Permalink
  25. rosmar wrote:

    Sady, I’ve been appreciating your blog for a few weeks now (found it through a friend’s blog).

    Thank you for writing this. I disagree with one thing–I think we DO still get to be outraged when we put things out there and people pee on it (or on us). We still have the right to hope that people will be compassionate, even though so many people aren’t.

    I have two brothers who have severe FAS. One is currently in jail, which his social worker says is common–developmentally disabled people are twice as likely to end up in prison as the general population. (It is a long story, but the heart of it is a misunderstanding on my brother’s part which led him to make a bunch of angry phone calls, which was taken as harassment (understandably) by the recipient). The other is in a group home.

    I realized a long time ago that if I took care of my brothers I would have no career of my own, and I made the choice to not become their caretaker. Sometimes I second-guess this choice (like, when my brother ended up in jail), but mostly I think it was the right one. (More reasons behind the scenes than I can go into here.)

    In any case, my point is that I admire you for making this choice, and I send my best wishes to you and all your family.

    Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Permalink
  26. ginmar wrote:

    I was injured in Iraq. Several times, several different ways. Then I got home and tried to get treatment for it. That made me sicker. I blogged about it. Soon, I had people telling me I was nuts and crazy and too angry, unreasonable. I got a crash course in what it’s like to be disabled–and then more disabled, as time went on. They left a head injury go untreated because—and I quote—”it’s been too long.” I got knocked off my feet and out of my helmet by a bomb.

    I nearly died, several times over. That means I have little to fear. People mistake this for bravery. It’s called…I’m so numb sometimes I don’t give a shit.

    You? You’re brave.

    Monday, February 1, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Permalink
  27. Queen_George wrote:

    Sady,
    As others have already said, thank you for being willing to talk about this.

    I’m a (fairly) new reader who found you via your beatdowns with Amanda Hess, and I’m commenting for the first time because I have a younger brother with a disability as well. My bro is on the asperger’s end of the autism spectrum. Fortunately for him, with a lot of therapy and some meds, he will most likely be able to handle the adult world fine, excepting only occasional episodes that resemble full-on autism.

    However, he wouldn’t be nearly as successful interacting with most people (or holding a job) were it not for his doctors and his medication. When I began talking to friends about his condition, it amazed me how few people recognized the expenses involved with a mental disability. So I’m grateful that you’ve outlined in black and white all the problems that can arise, and pointed out the difficulty of finding healthcare in our current climate. When the average joe stands up to debate healthcare, I wish (s)he would think carefully about all the people who might, just might, end up out on the streets without it because of mental conditions they cannot control.

    Good luck to you and to your family, and best wishes for your brother. I’m sure your he couldn’t ask for a better sister.

    Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 8:42 am | Permalink
  28. Sarah wrote:

    At 22 I’m ony just beginning to understand my responsibility as the only sibling of a disabled brother and the impact this will not only have on me, but on a future partner/future family.
    Being the sibling of a person with a disability is a very isolating experience – no one discusses it.
    Thank you for making me feel less alone, on a subject that really pushes my ability to stay positive.
    You are a gem!

    Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 12:38 am | Permalink
  29. Monique wrote:

    Sady,

    Thank you. Thank you for sharing what you do. Thank you for being unafraid to say the harsh truths about women, and society as a whole. Your need to keep your family life personal is completely understandable; it’s an overwhelming situation. I’m 24 years old and I was diagnosed with bipolar seven years ago. Some treatments were effective, some were less than. I don’t tell people that I’m bipolar unless they see me on a frequent enough basis that they’ll need to know sooner or later because “I wasn’t feeling well” only flies for so long. My father My father is bipolar as well, and treatments don’t seem to work well for him. He’s never been able to old down a job for long, and I’m faced with the inevitability that sooner or later he won’t be physically able to do what work he can anymore. I’m nowhere near wealthy. I’m nowhere near stable in my career. How can I care for another person with the issues I have? No one aside from my live-in boyfriend knows the struggles I face with each call from him. I don’t talk about it either. What’s there to say? It’s a sucky, scary situation with no real solution.

    Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 12:27 am | Permalink

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