Originally Posted by FindingMyWay
I am new to the group. I am currently a service member on my way to a retirement shortly. It has been a lengthy process. I was first diagnosed with epilepsy in 2010. I had a series of seizures and was rushed to the emergency room, where they performed a CT scan. I had what was going to be later called a Cavernous Malformation. It was small according to doctors, but the reason for the Epilepsy which was not showing up on the EEG. At the time, they informed me that it didn't matter, as not all seizure activity shows up on EEGs and started me on a regiment of AEDs. According to the military rules, as long as I didn't have another seizure while on AEDs, I could stay in.
So, I tried my best to ensure that didn't happened. I was the breadwinner in my family and I needed the health insurance more than anything because I had children with disabilities. Needless to say, I continued to have seizures. Not many at first, just a few hear and there. But, because I needed to keep my job, I didn't say anything.
But, my work was failing, BIG TIME! I was forgetting things, having poor concentration, speech was becoming a task... I would be in the middle of a conversation and respond on something that had nothing to with what was going on! The randomness of my behavior was unwinding.
In May of 2011, Everything in the fan. I fell out of the shower while having a shower and was rushed to the emergency room. After being released, the seizures didn't stop. I started having petit mal seizures every week! I went to see my neurologist, whom had changed by this time because of a military move, and they diagnosed me with PNES and was referred for "review of retirement". I was crushed. How could this be? How can I have PNES? I was sent over to Neuro-Psychology and came back with Conversion Disorder, which was linked to the PNES. But, neurology has informed me that we cannot be sure that you also don't have Epilepsy, so keep taking the AEDs.
I have trouble with concentration, focus, memory, and speech. If I don't put a reminder in a cellphone calendar.. I am screwed. Trying to find the words to express that to a SSDI worker vocally is crap! It takes me about a while to formulate the words and when I have them in my head... the brain and mouth don't coordinate to make it happen! I forget how to spell simple words, I know the letters involved but trying to arrange them becomes a task. I feel helpless and lone... without anyone being able to understand me. Of course, I am being selfish here, because there are still 3 children with bleeding disorders to think about while I am going through this.
Sorry to hear about your problems.
If you have stopped going to work and are on some type of medical leave and will be on that leave until your retirement date, you should file an SSDI claim now, not later. You can start the process online at www.socialsecurity.gov
When completing the forms, you can get an exit number that allows you to start and stop the form completion. So, you can take as many days or weeks as you need. If that is still overwhelming, you need to get help. I think your spouse would be the first best choice. If that is not viable, my next choice would be another family member or close friend that you can confide in and who is willing to take time to help you. If that doesn't work, and you are still overwhelmed, you may want to contact an attorney. However, the attorney still doesn't know your life and you or someone who knows you still has to answer the questions.
I do think one of the common problems with initial applications is lack of thoroughness in answering questions and the assumption that the medical records will speak for themselves. Maybe they will; maybe they won't.
If you are still doing your job and getting paid for it, you probably shouldn't bother filing until you stop work. SSA will not make a decision based on what you going to do, that you are going to stop working.
One step at a time. Make it a priority but complete the application in your time frame.