The trouble With High Functioning Anything


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Got this in the mail today:

Your file is on hold

You will not receive ODSP income support and other benefits now that your file is on hold.

Let me repeat that: You. will. not. receive. ODSP. income. support. […] now that your file is on hold.

That means I won’t have a way to pay rent in a week.

That means I won’t have money to buy groceries starting a week from now.

I haven’t the foggiest idea why. I haven’t the foggiest idea what I’m going to do if that cheque does not come in less than a week.

I’ve been on disability for three years now and I never had to file any kind of income report before.

Why now? I don’t remember getting any kind of notification on any changes in the way things work.

That is to say I’m fairly sure I never got any kind of notification but I can never been one hundred percent sure I didn’t. I make sure I read all the mail I get from ODSP. But ever since I had the TIA, some things do go through the fabric of my memory instead of sticking on it.

This is an fine example of how and why highly functioning [insert mental illness here] is so painful to live with; how disruptive, and frightening it is. In real life, people only see Compensated Me. However, since these days I rarely go out anymore, all people see is Virtual Me. My Avatar. And it is infinitely easier to project a compensated avatar.

People never see the me that doesn’t understand official forms. The me that gets overwhelmed to the point of panic attacks when it comes to dealing with red tape. The me that was never able to deal with the police regarding my verbally abusing neighbours, to give a specific, real life example.

People were very kind and caring and supportive, giving all kinds of great advice. It truly was the kind of useful advice. But it was all in this form: This is what you can do…

Which may work great for any other person. You follow the instructions and bingo! You get the wanted results.

Not so much for me.

Make phone calls? Major anxiety generator.

Fill out reports and give statements? Um… yeah, good luck with that.

A simple google search will give you myriads of articles on High Functioning Mental Illness. About 2,200,000 results (0.76 seconds) to be exact. Even one here on Canvas, so I won’t go into the details of it.

To be honest, I don’t even know if I qualify as High Functioning. After all, I am on disability for a reason. I can’t hold a job because of it.

But I am able to more or less feed myself (although some days I do go without eating because I can’t get my work to function enough to be able to cook). I am able -when I am compensated- to appear well groomed. You know, shower, brush my teeth, comb my hair, get dressed.

Right now, it’s been a week since I took a shower.

But since it’s been way more than a week since I went out, nobody gets to see that. On social media networks, my avatar is always well groomed.

So here I stand. Panicking. Crying. Unable to see how I am going to fix this.

I’m sure I’ll find a way. I always do.

But at the moment, I do not feel the confidence that should come along with that knowledge

© Summer Solstice Girl and A Canvas Of The Minds 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Summer Solstice Girl and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


21 thoughts on “The trouble With High Functioning Anything

  1. Hi Claudia

    Sorry to hear about your plight. I have lived it and still do. If you cannot jump through the hoops, go to your local CMHA branch and plead your case today or phone or call their crisis lines. Be praying for you. I ended up in the trustee program that kept a roof over my head. I nearly landed on the street.

    Praying that God will go ahead of you and prepare the way.


  2. that is a scary letter you got. i would be freaked out too. but after your panic calms down a bit, reread the letter and take it from there, maybe with a phone call to the place to ask how to do what they say. (i am also freaked out by this stuff).

    • Thank you. Yes. After I calmed down enough, I called my case worker. It always goes straight to voice mail (grrrrrr) but I left a message. It took her two days to reply but as it turned out, it was a glitch in the system and it is all good now *happy dance*

  3. I am so sorry for the bureaucracy you’re dealing with. And the troubles being heaped upon you on top of the ones you’re bravely working through. xoM

  4. I’m very sorry to hear about to your situation. Truly I understand. People only see me socially when I feel great. So it’s easy for people to think oh Bens okay. So I get it, sorry.

  5. High functioning to me means highly having to fake being well in front of others but dieing on the inside. Praying everything gets straightened out for you.

  6. Wil, I totally agree that high functioning is merely high faking, and definitely still dealing with the repercussions at the end of the day if that long.

  7. These kinds of letters are not meant to be helpful, sadly. They are meant to do exactly what they are doing…deny care until you provide them with whatever bullshit they need so they can check the right box that lets things resume. The fact that you have never needed to do this before is irrelevant to them. I have been there with lots of different things, but it is specifically enough to bring on full anxiety when your rent is at steak. Seriously there should be a better way. My heart goes out to you. 😦

  8. Pingback: Freaking out? Moi? – Summer Solstice Musings

  9. Oh heck, Claudia. I’m sorry I didn’t get to read this at the time of posting. (I think I might have been in retreat and then, well, life happened again.) I hope everything has been sorted out for you now. Xxx

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