Since going on SSDI, I’ve struggled with feeling useless and like a drain on society and on my family (who, thanks to the fabulous government we have, help me out financially from time to time). Now, don’t get your poopy-pants all twisted because you think I’m implying that everyone on SSI, SSDI, Welfare, government assistance, etc is a drain on society. I’m not. Dude, I’m one of those people! I’m just saying that personally, I feel like a mooch, and I hate it.
I had only been working at my dream job for about 6 months when I had to stop working. I was only 30. 30! It fucking sucked. And then it took 2 1/2 years of not working and having my family support me to get my SSDI claim approved. Sure, the government ensures the right to a quick and speedy trial for rape and murder, but points and laughs when we ask for financial decisions in less than 24 months.
My biggest disabilites are leg weakness and full-body fatigue, plus cog fog (cognition issues where words get confused in my head and I open my mouth to say “I think this comma needs to be a semi-colon” but instead say “goo blah itchy-witchy yah yah whee.”). As a result, I often feel tried (physically and mentally) when I do too much in one day, and have to rest and recoop the next day (or three if I did something awesome like that Rob Zombie concert last week!).
Over time, the useless feeling wore me down into a bad depression (as if that took much work). I felt guilty when I didn’t do anything, even if it was because I was so exhausted I could barely walk the 4 steps from my bed to my bathroom. So I asked my friend (Google) for advice from other young people on disability. What did they do all day? How did they pass the time (because Great Goddess I was SICK of tv!)? How did they avoid feeling bad when they had a rest day (or week)?
Ask and Google shall answer!
- Make a Must List
- Keep a Fun List
- Log Your Day
Make a Must List This was the first thing I did. It’s basically a list of things that I MUST attempt to do every day, no matter how shitty I feel. This way, even if I don’t do anything else, I can say I accomplished something and feel good about not wasting my day.
My Must List is pretty small, since I know that I’m pretty lazy, even on days I’m feeling good. Every day I must: shower, get dressed (clean PJ’s count, but they must be clean and not the ones I slept in), take my meds, give my diabetic cat her shots, and open my blinds for some sunlight. Exceptions are only allowed if it’s a stay-in-bed-because-I’m-too-sick-to-move-day or if it’s rainy (don’t need to open the blinds to see that).
Keep a Fun List This is a list of things to do when I’m bored and sick of doing all the normal things I like to do. Things that I don’t think of very often, and never think of when I’m bored or depressed or whiny. It’s like my own Activity Suggestion Board except it’s just a list I keep on my cell phone. It has things like write (duh), read (duh), sew, do origami, work on my family genealogy, practice my Reiki, do some herbalism cooking (I’m a certified Herbalist), swim, take photos, etc. Funny, but since I’ve made that list, I haven’t had to resort to it at all. And I think that might be because of the third trick I learned about.
Log Your Day I’m not a journal writer or a diary keeper. I don’t like to write how my day was every day or keep a log of three happy thoughts for each day. But this seemed like something I could do, and I actually enjoy it.
Every night (or every couple days I backtrack and catch up) I write the day and date in a notebook and jot down a few quick notes of what I did that day. This way, if I feel like I haven’t been doing much, or I feel guilty for not working full-time (even 6 years later, this is a common occurrence), or I’m feeling bad for having to take a Do Nothing Rest Day (Fortnight), I can look back and see that I have been productive and I have been doing something with my life. I haven’t just been wasting it away. Even though the things I do are mundane and not all that exciting, they are still things I’m doing and I feel good about it. It’s a nifty little trick.
Last week looked like this: Monday, 5/5/14 – shower, dress, face (I put on makeup). Dishes, dinner with (friend) Michael. Tuesday, 5/6/14 – shower, dress. Lunch with mom, plant shopping at the nursery. Wednesday, 5/7/14 – shower, dress. Gardening, laundry. Thursday, 5/8/14 – shower, dress, face. Rob Zombie concert! Friday, 5/9/14 – shower, dress, face. Dinner with (best friend) April. Saturday, 5/10/14 – shower, dress. Gardening, started blog, wrote 8 posts and About Me page. Sunday, 5/11/14 – shower, dress, face. Lunch and shopping at outlet mall with Mom and sister for Mother’s Day. Worked on blog. Work (part time freelance work I do every week).
Suddenly, I look like a busy mo-fo, and not like the lazy bum I thought I was. Huzzah!