I tossed around the idea of applying for disability for a period of many years, prior to initiating my application. I was truly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of extensive documentation that was required to support my initial application.
I had stopped working full-time, a full four months prior to starting my application for social security disability benefits. Nevertheless, I honestly felt like I was working again!
I filled out endless forms that documented my chronic diagnoses, carousel of medical specialists and sub-specialists, daily medications, imagining results, labwork values, surgical procedures, and multiple follow-up appointments.
I knew that the overwhelming majority of the time, most individuals were initially denied disability benefits. Given that I had been diagnosed with multiple chronic conditions, I thought that I might possibly have a better than average chance of being approved my first time.
I decided to not retain an attorney. I waited, and waited, and waited some more, periodically phoning the Social Security Administration for an update on my case. I was placed on hold for insanely long periods of time, being forced to hear an annoyingly cheerful voice reiterate just how much she appreciated my patience while waiting (how very presumptuous!).
When I was finally connected with a live person, I did my best to hide my irritation. I pleasantly asked how much longer I might need to wait to receive a decision about my case.
I never received consistent answers to my questions. My caseworker was changed during my initial application; not surprisingly, this resulted in further inefficiency in processing my file.
I tried my best to distract myself from the frustration of not knowing how mych longer it might take to receive a decision, or what that decision might be.
One day, I casually picked up a block of polymer clay, simply trying to distract myself. I still have not put my clay, nor my paints, nor my colored pencils, away. This agonizing period of waiting allowed me to rediscover my artistic interests and abilities. I never read had time to pursue them when I was frantically working 60 hours per week.