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Everything posted by aquarian

  1. I think CrazyRedhead already covered this, but if they only listed 30% of your medical records in the denial letter, that usually means that's all the medical records they were able to obtain. It's best not to rely on SSA 100% to get all of your medical records. I'm somewhat lazy and not proactive so I just talked to my pdoc and tdoc to make sure they faxed in their records when requested. And their records both showed up on my denial. This is bad of me, but I didn't even bother listing the PHP/IOP pdoc I saw briefly or the program because I knew SSA would probably have an impossible time trying to obtain those. On my own I couldn't even find a fax number to where they could request for those records (it's part of a big medical system here). However, when my lawyer asked for a list of doctors I did include the name of the PHP/IOP pdoc and the program I briefly attended. They had a difficult time getting the records but were persistent in finding out what offices to contact to get the records and kept trying and trying until they got them. I don't think those were critical for my approval but they may have playing a small supporting role since it was mentioned at my hearing that I had difficulty even with PHP/IOP. If you find a lawyer, sometimes they will have a questionnaire designed to elicit responses about key issues from your doctors (mine did). Others use a generic RFC form, but I think a targeted questionnaire can be better. Both my pdoc and tdoc provided short answer responses on the questionnaire form the lawyer's office used for mental impairments. Also, I think my lawyer provided a brief before the hearing citing specific supporting exhibits/evidence. A pre-hearing brief is listed under "Best Practices For Claimants' Representatives". I ended up equaling a listing after a hearing despite being denied initially and at reconsideration. Yes, the wait for a hearing is long (1-2 years usually).
  2. Abstract only for free: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2673971 "Effect of Opioid vs Nonopioid Medications on Pain-Related Function in Patients With Chronic Back Pain or Hip or Knee Osteoarthritis Pain"
  3. My pdoc used valium to get me off of xanax, but it was at least 10 years ago. I don't remember much except it was uncomfortable. On par with quitting smoking as far as things I only want to go through once. Just not pleasant and a lot of night sweats. Plus, add panic disorder into the mix. From what I can remember, I don't think I was ever prescribed anywhere near 40mg/day of valium. Don't remember how much xanax I was taking at the time my pdoc said it was time to switch to valium. Have an old xanax bottle that says .5mg 3x/day but who knows if I was taking that or less than that at the time I switched to valium. Anyways, probably haven't been much help. Good luck with your taper. I was on xanax for a couple of years or so and actually the switch to valium worked out pretty well and gave me better anxiety coverage throughout the day. I never did finish tapering off. I stayed on somewhere around 1mg valium twice a day for years. Then, for various reasons, I stopped valium entirely for about a 2 year period. Then went back onto my tiny dose of 1mg at night (I split a 2mg pill). I doubt it does much of anything at this dose but my pdoc keeps prescribing it and I keep taking it. And a few times a year it comes in handy for panic attacks. I crush a pill under my tongue and it seems to help eventually.
  4. I was approved for SSDI a couple years ago in my early 30s (think my established onset date was around age 31). I put anxiety and depression down on my application. I think my pdoc has me diagnosed with panic disorder and idiopathic hypersomnia while my psychologist has me diagnosed with GAD and dysthymia. I was denied twice (initial and reconsideration) and then was approved after a hearing with a judge. I just see a pdoc and psychologist, no inpatient hospitalizations or ECT, although I did briefly attend an IOP/PHP program. I agree with much of what CrazyRedhead wrote. My pdoc was very onboard with trying to get me approved and was pretty good about documenting things because she also was helping me get approved for LTD (longterm disability) through my employer. My psychologist did not take a position either way.
  5. @Alien Navel Cord, you might want to check goodrx.com. Walmart and Walgreens appear to be the only two chain stores still charging astronomical amounts for generic abilify. According to goodrx, there are several grocery chains near me who all have it for approx $35/month for 15mg. (In some states, you can use the Costco pharmacy without having a membership and Costco has it for $40.) Target/CVS has 15mg for $57. I'd argue the price is still too high for a generic at these other stores but $35-57 is a lot better than paying $250-400 at walmart and walgreens. (I've been watching the price of abilify go down slowly ever since it went generic.) Another option that my pdoc and I use is rxoutreach.org, which charges $35/month for 15mg. It's mail order and you just set up an account and later have your doctor fax your prescription in. My pdoc is the one who told me about it. I've been using it to get generic abilify for awhile now (I'm on half a 2mg pill per day). Your income has to be below a certain level to qualify (lower than 36,000/yr for an individual). I meet that requirement but they never actually verified anything or asked me to submit income info. The other weird thing is I didn't realize they had some kind of religious affiliation until I got my Rx bottles and the lid said something like "honoring god by serving others." Now that the generic price has gone down to $35 in brick & mortar pharmacies, I may go back to using them vs. rxoutreach.
  6. Be careful with trusts as some trusts still count as a resource for SSI/medicaid purposes. Be sure to find and pay a competent lawyer that has expertise in such matters and do your own due diligence. Possibly an estate planning lawyer? Maybe elder care law? Not sure. You can find out a little more here about how SSI looks at trusts: https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/spotlights/spot-trusts.htm https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0501120203 A special needs trust is one way that can work if done correctly. However, I know of a woman who paid a lawyer to create a special needs trust for her when she received a settlement while waiting to be approved, but once she was approved and a social security trust specialist reviewed her trust, it turned out it still counted as a resource because the lawyer who wrote up her trust had used ambiguous language about something (I think the state wasn't specifically listed as the beneficiary of the trust in case of death, which is critical). Luckily, this person was only potentially eligible to receive SSI during the SSDI 5 month waiting period and IIRC she didn't really need it for medicaid purposes (many states who expanded medicaid under obamacare don't have asset limits), so it didn't end up impacting her too much. But it caused a delay in the processing of her backpay and ended up being wasted money since it wasn't done correctly. So yeah, get a good lawyer. In any case, I think the money in a special needs trust can only be used to purchase certain things (not food and shelter example*). And if the trust is used to pay for food/shelter, it will reduce your monthly SSI. Definitely can't receive cash or gift cards from the trust as well without it impacting the SSI. And if you buy a car for yourself with funds from a special needs trust, I believe the trust has to be listed as lien holder. *Apparently, according to one source I read, you can use a special needs trust to fund an ABLE account and then you can use the ABLE account money for food and shelter costs? maybe? (ABLE accounts are another subject altogether.) Source for that: http://www.commerce.wa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/CSHD-ABLE-senior-bulletin-on-special-needs-trusts-and-able.pdf
  7. Good luck! I was approved myself for SSDI after a hearing a couple years ago.
  8. Sadly, I'm currently in the midwest and not out west like my uncle. But I did visit him in October last year and we stayed in West Valley. Unfortunately, my mom and I got terrible food poisoning (we think from the little food place at the Natural History Museum*) and were out of commission for a couple days so didn't get to see downtown SLC (or much of anything). My mom made it out to Antelope Island with my uncle though on the last day! Between my anxiety and still recovering from the food poisoning (my case was worse than my mom's), I opted to stay in the hotel room the day they went out. *The same day we lunched at the museum, we ate dinner at a fancy place in the woods, but I think it was the lunch that was the culprit based on timing and what food was/wasn't shared with my mom...
  9. My uncle lived in Columbia, Missouri for many years up until maybe 5-7 years ago. In Columbia, Missouri he rented a 1 bedroom apt for less than $500/month. Granted, it wasn't in the best area and the SWAT team would make occasional "visits" to his neighbor's apartment, but the rent was dirt cheap. Eventually he moved and for the last 5-7 years he's lived in West Valley City, Utah and rents a basement apartment for less than $500/month from a couple who live in the house above (the basement apartment has a separate entrance, 2 bedrooms and includes a kitchen, laundry room and so forth). It's not a deluxe place, but it's decent and clean.
  10. That's good to hear. My pdoc recently suggested I try switching from effexor to cymbalta since effexor hasn't worked well for my anxiety since about 2011 and yet I'm still on it. I did try pristiq for at least a few months around 2012 or 2013 but it felt about the same as effexor so I asked to switch back to effexor since it's been around longer and thus cheaper.
  11. I may be the only person this is true for, but I find buspar makes me sleep slightly less than my usual 10-12 hours/night and gives me more energy throughout the day. Plus, unlike with adderall I don't get an afternoon crash. I wasn't even expecting these effects as it was added to help with anxiety. I was supposed to work my way up to 30mg/day but I found it gave me an uncomfortable amount of energy (plus a slight return of panic attacks) at that level so had to drop back to 15mg/day. I see in your signature you're already taking buspar so my experience is probably not of much help if you're brainstorming other meds to try.
  12. I found the table in this document helpful (even though I have no plans for pregnancy; I was just curious): https://www.jpshealthnet.org/sites/default/files/psych_meds_and_pregnancy_e-resource_-_may_2014.pdf It was originally posted by CrazyRedhead in this thread:
  13. I had a really nice sleep study tech. He had to reattach wires or a patch or something once in the night because my neck sweats a lot when I sleep on my side. I think you just got a bad apple. Or maybe he was having a bad day. Glad you made it through anyways!
  14. SSI currently pays $735/month (some states have a small supplement in addition to this) and comes with medicaid. However, you have to have relatively little in resources and income (including spouse's income) in order to qualify non-medically for SSI.
  15. Correct generally, but it should be mentioned that younger applicants can qualify with fewer credits. "Before age 24 - You may qualify if you have 6 credits earned in the 3-year period ending when your disability starts. Age 24 to 31 - You may qualify if you have credit for working half the time between age 21 and the time you become disabled. For example, if you become disabled at age 27, you would need credit for 3 years of work (12 credits) out of the past 6 years (between ages 21 and 27)." https://www.ssa.gov/planners/credits.html [click on Number of Credits Needed for Disability Benefits]
  16. I had a brain mri w/and w/o contrast to rule out stuff. Turns out my brain looks pretty normal and we were able to rule out stuff as expected. They had only a few music choices to listen to. I did not open my eyes during the MRI, which I think helped me not to panic because I just pretended I was in an open area like my bed. I may have also taken an extra valium beforehand. Plus, I used breathing techniques, etc. to keep calm. Keep in mind, I have panic disorder somewhat in remission and hate feelings of being trapped. Even so, it wasn't too bad.
  17. aquarian

    Sexist Boss

    This kind of thing happening (especially in 2017) makes my brain want to explode. 1. A person you work with, especially one in a power position relative to you, should not be making jokes that are sexual in nature and putting you in that kind of difficult position of how to react and also should not be creating an environment that makes you (rightly) feel uncomfortable about something that doesn't even have anything to do with work. 2. Does he think a) women don't masturbate, b) women masturbate less frequently than men so it would be less of a hardship to temporarily lose the use of our dominant hand, c) women are better able to control their sexual urges to pleasure themselves whereas men are animals that can't stop beating off, or d) ???!!! 3. If this is the attitude (toward what is acceptable) near the top of the company hierarchy, it's most definitely going to trickle down and create an overall company culture that is perfectly ok with such comments. 4. There is the possibility that he forgot for a minute that he was your superior and/or was trying to connect with you in some informal way like two teammates joking and snapping towels in the lockerroom. But a) he's your boss and b) even if he was a male or female coworker on your level, it'd still be inappropriate for other reasons (I hope) I've mentioned. It's just a bad idea to ever inject sexual jokes and innuendos into conversations with coworkers, employees, bosses, etc. 5. This happens in all industries though is perhaps worse (more frequent/accepted behavior) in male-dominated industries. My mom worked in IT in the 70s-90s. She wasn't harassed personally but the industry was almost all men and there would very occasionally be jokes told in her presence if she was in a group. And when a man and woman would have an affair at the same company, the woman was always fired, never the man. Everyone knew this is what happened. It was just accepted. This was the culture. I won't even get into the other stuff, e.g. my mom would attend a conference and the people selling stuff at the conference would only speak to the men with my mom and not my mom even though my mom was the boss and decision maker. They would totally ignore her. An aside: I worked briefly (1 year) at a Fortune 500 company back in 2012. A few times a year we'd have to do online modules individually about preventing sexual harrassment, discrimation, financial crimes, etc. involving the workplace. It was annoying for our bosses because they'd rather we be working and our dept was super busy but we HAD to complete these madatory "courses" within a certain time period or everyone would get in trouble. So these online courses came complete with videos with cheesy acting in little skits about how to handle (or how not to handle) certain situations that might come up. I thought the whole thing was silly because in today's day and age, who would really do or say some of the things these people in the skits were doing and saying? And then there'd be a multiple choice about the best way to conduct yourself in a certain scenario and it was always plainly, blatantly obvious (to me and I hope most of my coworkers) which was the "correct" answer. I guess there might have been a couple of tricky situations where maybe I could conceive of someone making the "incorrect" choice because they were still living in the dark ages and surrounded by other cavepeople and so think everyone behaves like that so it's totally normal. But I digress. Then I hear stories like yours--exactly what the online sexual harrassment in the workplace "training" courses I had to do were trying to prevent (or at least cover the company's butt because they were making it known what was unacceptable and acceptable to all the employees). !!!!!!
  18. I posted about dementia & benzo research recently. Here: That said, I still think it's a worthy effort to try to reduce one's reliance on benzos (if possible) by using skills learned in therapy (for instance) and/or using other non-benzo meds. That said (yet again), I remain on a tiny dose of valium taken at night (I tapered off xanax and onto valium many years ago) and my pdoc doesn't have a problem with it. I did have a 2-year period I stopped taking the tiny dose of valium but then went back on it for various reasons.
  19. If this is the study I'm thinking of, I don't think it proved causation. However, maybe there are more recent studies?* Study: http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g5205 "Conclusion Benzodiazepine use is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The stronger association observed for long term exposures reinforces the suspicion of a possible direct association, even if benzodiazepine use might also be an early marker of a condition associated with an increased risk of dementia. Unwarranted long term use of these drugs should be considered as a public health concern." "Whether causal or not, the nature of the link cannot be definitively established: benzodiazepine use might also be an early marker of a condition associated with an increased risk of dementia." Article talking about the study: "The researchers acknowledge that the use of benzodiazepines could be just a signal that people are trying to cope with anxiety and sleep disruption—two common symptoms of early Alzheimer’s disease. If that’s true, their use of a benzodiazepine may not be a factor in causing dementia but an indication it is already in progress." https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/benzodiazepine-use-may-raise-risk-alzheimers-disease-201409107397 *http://www.bmj.com/content/352/bmj.i90 "Conclusion The risk of dementia is slightly higher in people with minimal exposure to benzodiazepines but not with the highest level of exposure. These results do not support a causal association between benzodiazepine use and dementia." *Apparently there are 9 total studies showing a "deleterious effect" but some (but not all) of those studies may have had the reverse causation bias issue...according to this abstract: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40263-015-0305-4 [I only spent about 5 minutes total "researching" & writing this post so please keep that in mind.]
  20. Were they the correct size at least? (Stolen merchandise still definitely qualifies as worst gifts ever; I'm just curious.)
  21. When I started taking adderall IR (a small dose, 5mg, which I'm still on), I had diarrhea every time I would normally go #2 (so about 1-2x/day). The liquid shits went on for about week and then finally stopped all of a sudden. I did not have this when I tried ritalin.
  22. 4theloveofJEFF, I can't read your post because I have a hard time getting through huge blocks of text. Plus, parts of it are in CAPS which makes it even harder to read. Maybe others will able to get through it, but usually it helps if you break up a long post into paragraphs with space in between and also don't use capslock for entire sentences/paragraphs. I was able to read your first sentence in which you say you "joined in order 2 help myself help someone I love who I am currently watch b SWALLOWED whole by mental illness." Do you have a mental illness yourself or just your friend does?
  23. Just echoing the beware of drinking on xanax. I have mixed alcohol with xanax and alcohol with valium in the past and sometimes (but not all the time) it didn't end well. I'll leave out the details of my cautionary tales but they mostly involve blackouts and waking up in unfamiliar and sometimes scary places. One of the times I had been super nervous for a big event so I had taken extra valium or xanax on the way there and didn't think to myself, hey you, you've just taken extra benzos, maybe you shouldn't have those drinks because you have no idea how it's going to affect you and by the time the alchohol really kicks in, it's usually too late to turn back.
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