posted on Aug, 16 2015 @ 03:55 AM
Just wanted to share my experience of what it's like to be mentally ill in America. I came down with paranoid schizophrenia when I was 17. I dropped
out of school because of it. At the time doctors didn't know what was wrong with me. When I was 20 I snapped and started having severe hallucinations.
Up until that point I only had severe delusions. My mom had me put in the hospital where I spent a month drugged to max while the doctors tried to get
the psychosis under control. I was so far gone the doctors told my mom I might have to be institutionalized for life. After getting out of the
hospital I stayed on my meds for a year and did well. I had a relapse because I didn't think I needed meds anymore so I went through the whole ordeal
all over again. The illness had done a lot of damage. I had to relearn how to communicate with people all over again. Things that come natural to
normal people I had to relearn. I had to relearn how to have conversations with appropriate emotional responses and stuff like that.
After spending a couple of years trying to get my illness under control I decided I wanted to work. My step father got me a job working with him at
Crystler. My attendance was excellent and I never had any problems over the 4 years that I worked there. One day I told a co worker I had paranoid
schizophrenia. Within 2 hours I was hauled into the supervisors office with my union rep. They demanded to know what medications I took. I told them
it doesn't effect my work and it's none of there business. Over the course of the next six months I was hauled into the office and written up 12
times. Every time I was told by my union rep to sign the disciplinary and say I agree with the companies statement. I was told I'm not getting any
time off so I'm coming out cherry in his words. I was being written up for stuff that wasn't even my fault. One day I was called into the office and
fired. I was told I had too many write ups. My union rep told me to apply for unemployment that he was having my termination turned into a lay off.
After applying for unemployment and receiving a check I got a letter from the unemployment agency telling I was fired and I received unemployment
under false pretenses. They wanted their money back plus ten times the amount I received. I called my union rep and he told me the company was willing
to give me unemployment as long as I signed away my rights to come back. I called the head of the union and they never called me back. Being faced
with a massive bill from unemployment I signed away my rights.
While laid off I looked for another job and found one within six months. I worked at the company for a year until they shut down and laid everyone
I found a 3rd job and the same thing except they closed down after 6 months.
In between jobs I had no medical insurance. My psychiatrist is a MD at a hospital and he had a pharmacy in his office. He gave me free samples of my
medication when I was out of work. My medication costs $1000 a month and his office visits were $150. My mom paid for the office visits. On top of all
the medical stuff I had a truck payment and apartment rent.
I found a fourth job but after a few months I figured I couldn't keep working there it wasn't paying enough to survive. I went to the local
unemployment office and found I qualified for federal funding to go school. I jumped through all the hoops and had a $8000 grant in my hands all
except one thing. I never filled out my draft card and need to do so to get the grant. My mother said she through it out when I was sick. So I went to
fill one out and it was too late. I could only do so until I was 26 after that I was of luck. When I was a teenager my goal was to go into the marines
when I graduated.
After loosing the grant I figured life goes on although I was pretty upset about it. I found a new job making good money again and I though all was
well. Except my illness came back to haunt me. I was under a lot of stress and I started having hallucinations again. I quit going to work because I
didn't want my illness to show. I couldn't get out bed. The owner of the company called me and asked where I'd been? I told him I found another job
and he wished me well. I got pretty depressed knowing I had lost the job.
6 months went by and I lost my apartment and truck. My doctor continued to work with me and give me free samples. I needed insurance and help so I
applied for foodstamps and medicaid. My doctor suggested I apply for disability. It took 8 years but I got it. I'm not happy about being on disability
but I need a stable income and a way to get my medication. Schizophrenics have a high disposition to becoming homeless or ending up in jail. My fear
is with my mother becoming older and if something happened to her I'd have no one to fall back on. I need a way to take care of myself.
I really want to work. I have a friend that can get me a job right now making $14 an hour except it has no health insurance. I have no idea how I can
make it and if I fail I could end up in a worse position. Basically I have no clue how I'm going to survive on my own with ss disability income. It
pays peanuts and they say I don't qualify for foodstamps because I make too much money. Also there have been changes to medicaid and medicare. It will
no longer pay for my doctor so as of now I'm paying cash. I could go to one of their recommended doctors and have no co pay but I've had my current
doctor for 15 years. I don't now if another doctor would support my case for disability or how he/she would view me.
There is no support system in this country for someone like me. I'm not talking about entitlement programs I'm talking about case workers or someone
that could help me succeed. I don't want to live as a second class citizen. I would like to achieve the American dream but I feel it's not possible.
edit on Tue Aug 18 2015 by DontTreadOnMe because: spelling in title