For folks with chronic health problems, at what point do you consider pursuing going on disability?
I’ve had bipolar since age 18 (I’m in my upper 30’s now), but I never went on disability because of it. It is managed with medication. However, when things are off for me, my ability to work productively and professionally are diminished.
In additional to mental health issues, I also have physical problems. I have lower back problems. Several years ago, I had surgery to remove half of a disc. Two years after that, I got another herniated disc and have had treatment for it (medication, chiropractic, epidural injections, etc.). Once, for a whole summer, I was on short-term disability because of the pain in my back—I could not sit or stand for more than 5 minutes without being in debilitating pain. Since then, I live with constant back pain. Some days are mild, some are severe.
On top of this, I have psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The arthritis developed last winter. It had become so severe that my feet became unbearably swollen and walking became excruciating. Medication helped to alleviate the pain (doc gave me Naproxen). This past summer was relatively mild with the arthritis, but now that the weather is turning cold, I feel the aches and pains returning. For the past month, I’ve been having blurred vision, pain, and spots (like the spots one sees when they’re dizzy) in my left eye. The skin lesions associated with psoriasis have been spreading like multiplying rabbits. I’m a bit miserable.
In spite of all these medical issues, I usually suck it up and carry on with my life. Only my close friends know to a small extent how miserable I really am. Sometimes I feel like cashing in on my medical issues and pursuing going on disability because the pain (both physical and mental pain) is just too much to bear.
I have a doc appt today, and I plan on discussing with her the possibility of going on short-term DX. At what point does one consider pursuing long-term? Should I just continue to suck it up and carry on, or should I give in and deal with my medical issues in a more concentrated effort?
This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.