How Do You Fix A Ruined Life?
Posted 12 June 2011 - 01:45 PM
I have been on a long road to recovery. I have been under the care of the VA for severe depression and anxiety for the last 5 years. I'm sure my dysfunction goes back a few years more. I was predisposed to depression as there is a history of it in my family. The thing that tipped the scale for me was hepatitis C (HCV).
Long before I had been diagnosed as having HCV, there was something amiss. I had started bouncing from one job to the next. Never staying in one place for very long. I would take a job, work on it for a month or two, then lock myself up in my apartment. I would just abandon the job, sometimes abandoning thousands of dollars of tools too. I couldn't face the world. I would peek outside and see a strange place. A cold, uncaring, unfamiliar place. I would only venture outside when I run out of food, and was forced to. I would lay there at night, waiting for sleep to come, all the while telling myself that another day had passed so quickly, and the grim reaper was waiting for me. Expecting me. Another day closer to that end. Then the money would start to run out and I would take another job, and the cycle would start again. Each time the cycle completed, I went further down.
Then one cold New Mexico winter night, I was so far down, I was sleeping in my truck. Cold, miserable, weeping, all hope lost, I had hit rock bottom. Some how, I mustered the courage to go into the VA hospital emergency room and seek help. This was the start of a long hard path, but it was the best thing I could have done. The VA helped me immediately. They put me under the care of their psychologists and councilors. They gave me antidepressants. Even so, my problems were far from over.
I was having such a hard time doing my job. I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't remember new instructions. I doubted my own decision making. I became fatigued very easily. All this caused me to be fired from a job. One day I needed some extra money, so I went to donate plasma. A week later I received a certified letter from the plasma center. They wanted me to come see them so they could give me some information. When I went there, they told me that I tested positive for hepatitis C. I thought my life was over. That I had been handed a death sentence.
Now I had to make a hard choice. In my work, I have to travel. The VA would not treat me for hepatitis C unless I stayed put. With all this happening during an economic down turn meant poverty for me. I had applied for SSDI, but that takes forever to get approved. I was renting a room from a friend and the money started running out. I told him I would have to move out because I couldn't afford to pay him. He asked me what I would do. I told him, if getting rid of this virus meant I had to live in a homeless shelter, I would do it. He told me to stay and to not worry about anything except getting well.
You may wonder how the hepatitis figures into all this. I did a lot of research after discovering I had this virus. I found that HCV can have effects on the brain. Even though the way hepatitis C does this is not fully understood, there is compelling evidence for its effects. They have even found the hepatitis C virus in the brain stems of infected cadavers. This virus had effects on me for years, and I had no clue as to what was happening to me. I truly thought I was going mad, and all the while it was this insidious virus attacking me.
Well, after my good friend asked me to stay, I went a very long time waiting for SSDI. All the while I was flat broke. Thank God I did get $200 a month in food stamps. Then I finally did get approved for SSDI, and I have been on the hepatitis treatment for 42 weeks. Only 6 more weeks to go. I feel much better in my mind now. I really have hope for the future. I am conquering this disease. My memory is coming back. I can think clearly now. Even so, I am scared.
I think it is time for me to get back on my own. To get my own place. This scares me. It scaring me is one of the things that tell me I have to do it. It's a personal growth kind of thing. The reason it scares me is because of the bridges burned behind me. Bridges burned by my unstable previous self. Apartments abandoned. Credit in ruins. No job for the last two years. How in the hell do I fix all this on the limited income social security gives me each month? My mind is going around in circles. I guess it is a plus that I can prove I have assured income. Then again I think, there is no way anyone is going to approve me for an apartment with my past history.
How can I get over this hurdle? It is so important for me. I know I am not the only person to have ever have had such a problem. Having recovered from a long bought of mental health problems that literately ruined everything. Then you got better. Then you put your life back together. How did you do this seeming insurmountable task?
Please help. I can't even finish this with out tears coming to my eyes.
Posted 12 June 2011 - 08:04 PM
You are not alone in this ... there are many of us and we all know how it feels. If you keep on going , I will keep on going - deal ?
Posted 12 June 2011 - 08:48 PM
You have really been through a rough road. You should be so proud of yourself for making it through this incredibly difficult time!
You sound like you have a really good head on your shoulders, you did your research and took care of the situation, and took all the right measures to make things right. You are also quite fortunate to have a friend who loves you so much to let you stay over, that also goes to show what a wonderful person you are for them to care so much for you. They know that you deserve and can live a happy and healthy life again.
In regards to jobs and living situations, it is very difficult to determine what would be the easiest route. If you have past employers, than you have a resume and hopefully some good references. if you are looking for basic work, minimum wage, you can always try restaurants or part time work. The money can be slow, but it does add up. Hopefully you can find an affordable place to live.
I really hope everything works out for you, it sounds like you have been through a lot, and things are just about to get better. I would take this opportunity to look at this as a start to a new tomorrow, and a new you. Good things will come, you have already made it through the most difficult part, you can handle any of life's obstacles now that you are even stronger!
good luck and take care!
please keep us posted!
Edited by moons, 12 June 2011 - 08:48 PM.
Posted 12 June 2011 - 09:09 PM
In your situation though, since you have income, you can use paystubs, letter from employer, bank account statements, etc. to prove that you have income if the potential landlord is hesitant about renting to you. But just offer that information if he asks or if he says your credit isn't good enough. You should also ask the landlord what the approval process is. Sometimes the approval process doesn't include a credit check, so if they don't require one then all the better.
I think letters from personal references would help too, to prove that in recent times you've been more dependable than you have been in the past. The personal reference letter can say that you have been sick but have been making an active recovery. You don't have to mention depression or hepatitis specifically. But the letter should give the landlord a general idea.
One thing I find is that my hope and desire for a better life keeps me going. And if you want to have a better life then continue on that road and you will make it there, one day at a time. I wish you all the best.
Posted 12 June 2011 - 09:56 PM
Indeed this time is passing. I see light at the end of the tunnel. Soon I will be done with chemo. The doctor says I am doing very much better, and the virus is undetectable in my blood. There is cause for caution still. Six months after I stop chemo, they will test my blood again for presents of the virus. I have type 1, the hardest, nastiest type in the bunch. Six months from now, it is possible that the virus could make its presents known again. I pray that possible future never takes on reality. If it does, my fight will continue. I am getting so tired, but I will never give up. I will fight this depression and virus to my last breath.
If the thing I want to happen, happens, I will be declared cured. Then I will get off SSDI and go back to my trade. It is kind of funny. Before I got sick, I was hating my job. After 30 years it had become a drudge and an unwelcome chore, and depression didn't help matters at all. Now that I am unable to do that job, I miss it so very much. It seems to be true that we don't appreciate what we have till it's gone.
I guess I will just go ahead and fill out them applications for apartments. You know, "D*** the torpedoes. Full speed ahead". I'll try my best to convince them to give me a chance. If they don't, I'll just try again. I know my helpful friend can vouch for me. When I got my SSDI back pay, I payed him up for all them months he didn't charge me. It really made me happy to be able to do that. He has been a true friend.
I still look for council from those who may have been through similar circumstances. The recovery of a life in ruins.
May God keep you all, and may you have comfort and peace.
Edited by Pepurr, 12 June 2011 - 09:58 PM.
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