Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

July 8, 2013

GUEST COLUMN: Step into my shoes for a while

By Jonathan Julien
Chronicle contributor

— In the morning I wake up if I can get out of bed without a sharp pain piercing into my back, I consider it a good start to a day. I wake up and get coffee and head to the back porch in order to wake up some more. This is usually the time that I have to myself or in quiet with a few family members around. My body usually starts to ache by this point and causes my anxiety to begin to get worse. I sit and try to be positive because that is the kind of person I am. As I have my coffee, my hand begins to shake increasingly which I try to ignore. I then head inside and I play on Facebook and try to get comfortable.

When I interact with people in my family and people out at the stores I have to think hard about what I am about to say because my first thought is never best. I have to try to ignore people complaining around me because it makes my anxiety rise. I have to avoid confrontation as I am never sure if I can stop myself from exploding once I have hit my limit. I try as hard as I can to be nice to everyone around me but I do not always do my best.

I live constantly on the edge. I can keep myself from having a panic attack but I sit one step away from it at all times. It is hard to constantly feel like your insides are jumbled and twisted. The smallest things irritate me and I have to constantly keep myself in check so I can try to ignore it.

When it comes to pain, I have been diagnosed with a bulged disc of the L5-S1 with nerve impingement. What happens if I stand or sit to long in the same position it pinches the nerve and causes my legs to stop working. I have a torn meniscus in my right knee. My kneecaps will lock into a painful position and the only way to get relief is pop them back. I have osteoarthritis in both of my knees. I was diagnosed with a panic disorder, bi-polar, and depression. I am supposed to be having MRIs of my body in order to further diagnose my issues but I cannot afford it.

With all of my mental health issues control is the key. It is hard to keep control when I have no control over my body or anything that is going on with it. I have tried to get help from most of the free clinics and have been limited because of their limitations and my finances being non-existent.

Having no health insurance bundles me into a group I never want to be in. I am medication sensitive, which means I tend to have a lot of side affects from medications good and bad. Most of the providers I see will not prescribe me the medication that has proven to help me in the past (Xanax or something in that family, and pain medication). I have been given many different reasons for this but the main reason points to drug addicts and doctors who easily prescribe to any one who walks in the door. Neither of those answers makes me feel any better as they both make me think, “How is this my problem?”

It is so hard to control my anger when the health providers treat me like a drug addict. I do not do drugs nor do I drink because I hate loosing control over my body and my actions. Even when I have pain medication I try not to take it and only use it when the pain is so unbearable that I cannot take it anymore. I had Xanax that a doctor prescribed to me “as needed” and had the medication so long that the pills themself expired. So when I am treated like a drug addicted I cannot help but feel hugely insulted and start thinking things like “Who the heck do you think you are!”

I have been fighting with Social Security since April of 2012 for disability. Every single time I have to call and speak to someone, as soon as they verify my age their attitude changes and they act as if I have no business calling in. It frustrates me that I have to fight so hard for something that I funded while working especially since I would rather not be on it and functional and working full time. Instead, I have to deal with people with inferiority complexes who treat people like crap.

I have tried applying for TennCare and was denied because I am a male with no children. So, I am being punished for not over populating the world and popping out children as if it is a hobby. I am not sure how this is not discrimination against people with no children.

Ultimately I have to sit here and hope that things will get better. Which becomes difficult when the systems are set up to screw me not help me.