Getting Beneath One’s Feet

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“A journey of a thousand li starts beneath one’s feet.” – Lao Tzu

As many of you know, I’m currently on Social Security disability for my PTSD and bipolar disorder. Yesterday I took the first overt step in returning to the workplace. I had an intake appointment with Texas Workforce Solutions-Vocational Rehabilitation Services to determine my eligibility for their services.

The interview was long, over an hour, and it was very stressful, as I had to explain in some detail the events that led up to my diagnoses. That’s never an easy conversation for me to have, and especially so with a total stranger I’m just meeting for the first time as was the case yesterday. The intake counselor was very thorough, and fortunately seemed to be just as concerned about my back problems as he was the mental limitations that I have with holding a job, even though my back doesn’t figure into my disability finding. He did have an excellent point, however, there’s no sense in preparing me for a job that my body won’t let me do – that’s why I’m no longer working in the two areas in which I hold a vocational certificate, my back just won’t tolerate me being on my feet for that long without sitting.

I’m cautiously optimistic, since he mentioned to me that my being on SSDI automatically makes me eligible for services, and their brochure explains that those on SSDI receive services at no cost to the consumer (that’s their term for their clients). The counselor mentioned the possibility of a degree, but being out-of-district for Austin Community College concerns me about whether that plan would ever come to fruition, as well as the expense incurred by returning to school. He did mention that anyone that followed that path would be returning to school full-time, which I have no issue with, so there’s that at least.

It’ll be about three months or so before I hear what my eligibility is and what path we can pursue through their services, but as I said before, I’m cautiously optimistic that this will make a difference in the quality of job that I can pursue once I’m ready.

I’m nervous about taking this step, but it’ll be a challenge, and I could use one of those right about now.

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