In Today’s Instalment of Case Managers Who Make Everything Worse…
Yesterday, I received a note from my disability case manager stating that it was “unclear” whether medication was part of my treatment plan (it’s not, per my wishes and after discussion with my doctors), and if my treatment plan continues to include only psychotherapy, I will be expected to return to work in a few weeks.
So apparently the treatment plan and not my functional limitations are going to determine my ability to return to work? Really?
I expressed this concern and she said she would call to discuss. I explained (for the third time, in great detail) my phone-related anxieties and asked for a time that I could call her, as it’s easier for me to make a call than it is for me to answer a ringing phone (anxiety is super fun and super rational, eh?). She asked me to call at 9am today.
I phoned at 9am. She didn’t answer. I left a voicemail (very difficult for me) and because I don’t trust her for a minute and feel like I need a paper trail on everything, I also emailed to let her know that I’d called and left a voicemail, asking her to give me another time to call her.
I hate that I need these kinds of accommodations in order to deal with life. But right now, I do. And this woman, who should be at least mildly knowledgeable about the illnesses her clients are dealing with, clearly has no understanding of anxiety disorders and zero respect for me and mine.
I’m already a little bit nuts. She’s making me insane.
Sometimes your anxiety gets the best of you, and you have a bunch of bad days in a row, and everything feels like shit but you somehow manage to keep up appearances in most of your day-to-day interactions, with the exception of the very few people you feel safe enough with to just… not.
And then one of those lucky people reads a single text from you and interprets all the things that you aren’t saying.
And instead of offering platitudes or pushing you to talk about the things you don’t want to talk about, she drives twenty minutes to your house, late in the evening, after her ritualistic going-to-pour-myself-straight-into-bed pre-bedtime bath, just to drop a pint of ice cream (your favourite pint of ice cream) on your doorstep.
And instead of popping in to say hello and forcing you into human interaction, she sends you a text as she drives away to let you know the ice cream is there.
And you text her back, joking with her and thanking her for the treat, and you hope she’s still interpreting all the things you’re not saying. Because the ice cream… It’s just ice cream. But how it got there… that’s the thing that makes you realize that when everything feels like shit, it only feels that way.
Is it a privacy concern? I can’t respond to people by email abt health related stuff because my email isn’t secure. That said…I would say she should at least email to tell you that and see how accommodations could be made. Ugh. Srsly.
She sends me emails containing personal information all the time. She actually sent me one after leaving me a voicemail to tell me she left me a voicemail.
I sent her an email back explaining the phone thing again and how I won’t be able to return to work on the (totally arbitrary) date they gave me because of [extensive list of symptoms] and her reply was “I need to understand why you cannot do two non-consecutive days at that point.”
Dear Case Manager,
Ignoring the long list of symptoms I gave you, let’s focus on this: I can’t even talk to people on the phone, let alone deal with face-to-face interactions with employees. Forget handling the difficult conversations that are the norm in my profession.
The thought of simply walking into my office makes me stop breathing, which makes me cry, which makes me hyperventilate, and all of this is so deeply embarrassing to me that I basically do a mental version of OITNB’s Suzanne’s head-bashing every time it happens, which makes me so angry at myself that I hold my breath and cry until I hyperventilate. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Now do you understand why I “cannot do two non-consecutive days at that point”?
Maybe you should read the half-page pamphlet you sent me on anxiety before you call me back. It was *super* helpful.
I JUST sent an email to my disability case manager, which included an apology for not returning her phone call, an (unnecessarily long) explanation that I’m having phone-related anxiety at the moment, and a very specific request that she please use email if she needs anything from me.
My phone is ringing. It’s her.
Way to understand your client’s disorder and respond in an empathetic, supportive way that doesn’t, you know, trigger your client’s disorder.