New dawg in town just sayin' HEY
Joined: Feb 08, 2006
Posted Feb 08, 2006 at 11:28:54 PM
Subject: New dawg in town just sayin' HEY
Howdy all! Woof! :lol:
Man, there's so much to say and so many questions. I guess the best way to start this is by introducing myself and giving you all some background.
I was born in a field off the coast of Tipperary... LOL. (Okay, not THAT far back)
I'm 46 years old and male, in case the dawg reference didn't make that obvious. woof. I wasn't "properly" diagnosed until the fall of 2001, which means I spent 42 years not knowing why my life didn't work. And when I use the phrase "didn't work", and not talking about getting ONLY a 2.9 GPA at Harvard (it still amazes me what people think is difficult, but it's all relative I guess)
Here's the basics: My parents divorced when I was 13, right about the time I was beginning to really struggle in school. My dad was never supportive and he responded to my mistakes and misguided behavior by belittling me and turning everything into a cruel joke for his (and friends and family) amusement. I wanted him to love me so badly I even tried to laugh about it, yet inside I was crushed.
I started failing algebra in junior high school, and by the time I was ready to move on to high school, I was so behind in algebra that I was forced to take it in summer school. I failed that too, but for some reason I don't remember, they let me go to high school anyway. I had started smoking pot at the end of junior high, but now I was drinking more and doing other drugs. I didn't fit in anywhere, so the "stoners" were about the only people I could hang out with. My drugs years would last a LONG time.
By that time I was humiliated and ashamed of not being able to keep up with other students. I tried using the "class clown" approach to deflect attention and pass it off like I didn't care, but I was losing ground fast. My home life provided no security and no respite other than the basic necessities, such as food, clothes, etc. I didn't want to be there because my mom was distracted by trying to earn a living and dating new men occasionally, and my brothers were doing their own thing and didn't want me around them while they did it (I'm the oldest of 3 boys).
My dad was called in occasionally to deliver some swift "justice" if I got so out-of-line that my mom couldn't handle me, which was happening more and more. Finally, they agreed to pull me out of high school halfway through my junior year at age 17 and enlist me in the US Navy. I hated the Navy. I was a no-rate, non-striker boatswain's mate and my boat went into drydock almost immediately after I was assigned. I was set back in boot camp 3 times for being unable to keep my mouth shut (major impulsivity coupled with anger of being rejected).
9 months later and a lot of minor infractions, the Navy got tired of me and sent me packing with a general discharge under honorable conditions. I went home to stay with mom, who had gotten remarried and tried to reintegrate myself into the family. But I was not wanted, only tolerated. I felt like the outcast of the family, and in fact, I was.
From age 18 till 26, I moved from place to place, got and lost job after job, and never could seem to stay anyplace long enough to develop roots and grow. I couldn't save money and then started accumulating debts with credit cards. That started back in '89 and they still haven't been paid back.
Fast forward to 2001...
After I finished the testing for LD and ADHD, I left town for San Diego, thinking I would start a "new life" there. I ran out of money in 2 weeks, and limped back to the bay area, making a pit stop at my mom's house in Merced (central valley) to pick up some cash working around her house. I spent the next 1.5 years in homeless programs before moving out to Sacramento in the spring of 2003.
I have severe ADD and MRELD. The VA doctors gave me a psych eval and say I have OCPD. Before that it was Bi-polar disorder. But I know now that it's been ADD and some form of LD all along. I'm on meds now for ADD, depression and anxiety (Adderall XR, Paxil, Wellbutrin, and Remeron). They help, but the underlying problem is still there: basic life-management skills I should have gotten in my teenage years are a constant source of agony. I'm always going from one financial crisis to another, never have enough to pay back debts and save, and I'm just hanging onto a slim ray of hope that I'll catch a break someday.
Dept of Rehab approved my request to support my education to become a physical therapist back in 2002 while I was living in the homeless shelter in San Jose. But they didn't bother to evaluate my capacity to complete that goal, which any decent background check would have revealed an obvious weakness in math and sciences, the very foundation of a medical career. I had no clue what I wanted to do or could do and just picked it on a whim (like most things), but after a couple semesters of college in Sacramento, I was so lost 3 weeks into chemistry and failing algebra that I panicked and dropped my classes before consulting my Dept of Rehab counselor. Several months later they closed my case for being "non-compliant" with department guidelines.
Now I'm considering seeking legal representation to recoup financial losses suffered (not to mention all the emotional heartache and stress) from being denied benefits. I had to drop out of school and my SSDI payment isn't enough so I had to go back to the temp agencies to find a full time job. I'm back where I was before I moved out here!
I'm so heartbroken. Everything I read about help and support for ADD and LD is for children or their parents, and I feel like the unwanted bastard of the new milleneum. I'm legally and officially documented as a disabled American citizen, and yet I can't get the help I need to acquire the necessary skills to compete in the job market so I can become self-supporting and not have to rely on public assistance. You would think the US Govt would be interested in helping me do that, but there appears to be nothing farther from the truth!
I can't believe a counselor would commit thousands of dollars of the State's money to a 4 to 5-year plan for a guy with learning disabilities who lives in a homeless shelter and has a history of failure in school and vocationally without even bothering to do ONE assessment! And yet that's exactly what they did. And instead of helping me make a more informed choice on a career path, based on my strengths, they close my case because I'm not following the rules!
I truly believe in justice. I truly believe that my rights as a disabled American were violated and neglected, and I believe there is someone out there who has the means and the resources to help me win this case. But I want to win for more than just myself; I want to win to help pave the way for all the other poor souls who got shoved aside because they suffer from sjmilar maladies and don't possess the money or the know-how to fight for their rights. It's a damn shame.
Well, sorry to ramble. I guess I really needed to write. And if I do find someone to take my case, my writing is only just beginning. By the time I go to court (or settle out of it), I'll have enough for a novel.
They can deny me benefits, but they can't take away my courage or my ideas.
Thanks for reading.
"This will be the worst disaster NASA has ever experienced!" Arnie Aldrich, Director of Flight Operations "With all due respect, Sir: I believe this will be our finest hour!" Gene Kranz, Apollo 13 Flight Director; from Apollo 13, the movie.
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