Live from Emo Dojo
Live from Emo Dojo

Episode · 4 years ago

Why no health insurance? Is Bipolar even a "disorder?" How do I know if I'm "disabled? "


John Emotions answers the burning question, "Why don't you have health insurance?" and talks about creating your own Fox Force Five; your selection of the five people who surround and support you. John then discusses ways people evolve from undiagnosed bipolar to certified disabled and the heart-wrenching decisions made along the way.

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Welcome back to bipolar style, thepodcast for bipolar people and those who love them. Join US online at bipolarstylecom and now here's your host, Johnny Motions Day. That's right, I'mjohnny motions and I have bipolar style and that's the name of the PODCAST,bipolar style. Why didn't I call the PODCAST bipolar disorder? Well, becausethat's a stupid name for a podcast. So I did think, though,what was a good one? Oh, like the bipolar show. It usedto be called bipolar show. Kind of generic right, but what I thoughtwas kind of funny was that each podcast was an episode. Get it,like I had a bipolar episode. So anyway, bipolar style, yeah,that's what I call it. There's a lot of talk lately, or ongoingtalk, this kind of a perpetual argument, about how you label somebody with bipolarstyle. Do you say that they have bipolar disorder? Do you saythey are bipolar? And it really just gets down to knowing your grammar.Bipolar itself is an adjective, like black or gay. You would not sayI have black or I have gay. You say I am black or Iam gay. Same with bipolar. You can say I am bipolar bipolar disorder, however, is a noun. When you put those two words together,it relays to the disorder a noun, and in that case you would notbe the Noun. I'm not going to say I am disorder. You wouldsay you have a disorder. So anyway, to avoid all of that, Ijust have bipolar style. You have to prove that it's a disorder tome anyways before I start labeling myself with that kind of stigma. So untilyou can prove that it's a disorder, that there is some perfect level ofchemical levels that were aiming for, cool, until you can prove that our chemicalsare imbalanced and that it's actually a disorder, I'm sticking with bipolar style. The last couple of weeks have had the youtube live stream going while Icord the PODCASTS, and that's getting I think it's a little too much pressurebecause I find myself focusing on like how to how to present to a camerainstead of kind of narrating or conveying a story and the optics of the storyaudibly. So what I think I'm going to do? Well, actually,I think we're going to move out of these psych media offices and get anew place. So let me tell you about that real quick. I mayhave the opportunity to set up a student video in a crazy part of town, in the heart of downtown San Francisco, and when I think I made dois record the podcasts normally like I am now, and instead of facingthe camera, I think I may have the camera behind my back. Thatway people can see what I'm looking at out on the streets as I'm podcasting, and that way I can also see my own computer screen and watch peoplelive chat questions and that sort of thing, so I won't have to worry aboutseeing my face on camera. You guys will have something to look atif you're so inclinent, if you want to look at something. They'll bea facebook live stream from behind me, facing out, kind of like afirst person view of doing a podcasts. So we'll do that, but letme make sure the new studio is like a viable option and we could setthat up in the next few weeks. Anyway, I'm today. I'm justrecording the podcast without video interruption. So I think it's a little more alittle less pressure, a little easier, a little more easy. So hopefullywe'll just get through some stuff, and...

...when I say get through some stuff, I mean you get to listen, to be, share and vent abouthaving bipolar disorder throughout the last week or two, especially the last week ortwo. It is pretty rough through the end of the year, holidays,Christmas and New Year's Eve. So that yeah, anyway, I made it, I'm alive here, I am Todaw. I'm glad you made it too,and cool. So let's start this year off right get down to business. I noticed I listen to my last podcast and boy, I talk alot about the behind the scenes and how you make a podcast or a video, and I don't know it's I think people that are into making podcasts orvideos might be interested in some of that, but I don't know. Little toomuch housekeeping and a little too light on the actual topics related to bipolarpeople. So I will try to focus on fixing that. I'll say soless. I noticed they did that quite a bit or did not edit thoseout as much as I could. Otherwise. I just want to make a nice, compact little podcast for you and get things off to the right start. Here's what the topics I was kind of moulling over in my head andnow take the bus of the subway or you know, whatever moment comes up, pull the phone out and right down some topics. Here's what we'll talkabout. First one, why don't you have insurance? Be Good. Andanother one of my favorites is am I disabled or am I not? Whatwhat qualifies one as being disabled? Another topic I've talked about in the pastis the idea that you become the average of the five people that you arearound the most. I also heard another interesting thing from a podcast called Dharmapunks ny see. It's pretty good. It's like a Buddhist take on life. The thing that struck me about the Dharma a punk's podcast was they alsomentioned the number five, five people, and they mentioned you don't need alot of great friends, but you do need five great friends, which kindof segued into the average of the five people you're around the most. SoI was thinking those five people are pretty critical and how do you choose thosepeople? So that might be a good topic to talk about, which thensegued into the next topic I wrote down was how do you surround yourself withsupportive people? It's a really tricky question because if you've lost all of yoursupport circles before you are ever diagnosed with bipolar or borderline or whatever you have. A lot of times we don't know about these diagnosis until after we've blownout our social circles and burnt every bridge, so we have no friends or familyleft that are willing to help. So the question is, now thatyou are now that you know what is causing the problem, how do youbuild a supports circle around you with five great people that can actually help youlive and thrive? I had several more listed here, but I think that'senough topics to kind of get us through this week's podcast. What do yousay? So let me go back up to the top and the first questionI wrote to myself that a lot of people wonder about is why don't youhave insurance? Well, let's give you a little background. Like many peoplewith mental illnesses and disorders, over the years I found myself health in thelower middle class in particular, while I'm fairly intelligent and you know, canhold myself in a conversation most of the time, unless I'm overly anxious ordepressed and can't get out of the House. But Typically People Think, Oh yeah, he's high functioning person yeah, he's cool whatever, he could doanything great. Yeah, that actually works against me because, while I amcreative and I can do really cool things that other people wouldn't think to do, sometimes a lot of that is a byproduct of my mania, some ofthat is a byproduct of years of having a borderline personality disorder where I'm alwaystrying to please other people. I'm not really sure how I'm as supposed tobe, so I'm trying to be how...

...they want me to be. SoI've developed skills to please people around me, but that doesn't mean I'm that wayall of the time. So, therefore, the life of a personwith the sickness I have tends to be really productive for several months. Youcan make pretty good money, depending on what your vocation is, and thenthe depression comes and cripples you, takes you out of business, disables youcompletely. You get broke, you get flushed down the system again, youfind yourself at the bottom, sometimes homeless, and you have to work your wayback up. So what this does is it creates kind of a rollercoaster scenario where you never have continuous healthcare. You're bumped from private healthcare, likeif you've got private insurance through your job, which sometimes you do,sometimes you don't, through the bottom of the barrel public health care, Medicaidand medical and things like that. In California we call it medical in Americathat's called Medicaid. But generally speaking, most countries that are in the firstworld have some kind of medical safety net. Unfortunately, the government's safety net,throughout all of the advances in technology, still doesn't communicate well with the capitalistcorporate safety nets. So they don't share information, the continuity of careis non existent and you end up within very uneven life. One of theby products of an uneven life is low income. So you'll find lots ofpeople with mental illnesses. If they are not straight up on disability and don'twork at all, they often have low income jobs for one reason or another, whether they take a job below their pay because their self esteem is shotor because people have heard about them in the industry and know that they're quoteUnquote Flakey, because depression kicks in sometimes and takes them out of service.That ends up being where you can normally makes a hundred thousand dollars. You'renow making twenty five Thousan dollars. A year. So here and starts theproblem when you start making that particular range of money, down to the TWENTYZEROdollar range of year in America, you make too much to qualify for thefree public healthcare, but what you don't make nearly enough to pay your shareof medical insurance through your job. You certainly don't make enough to pay forcompletely over the counter. So you end up in limbo. You end upin a very specific set of circumstances where you simply can't afford healthcare. AndI hear all the time. I've had a bipolar diagnosis for over fifteen yearsnow and I get tired of people telling me, Oh, but you haveto prioritize, you have to prioritize. Right, I have to prioritize foodand shelter first. Those come first, and then I try to prioritize transportationto get to the job that may one day pay for the other things Ineed. Beyond that, I'm lucky if I make enough to cover my medication. If I can't cover my medication, I go without. And again thattrips another whole cycle of chaos where you're on meds, you're abruptly taken offmeds, because you don't have anymore, your back on meds. You're chasingaround red tape trying to get free help or you're trying to scrape enough moneytogether to pay for the quote unquote good insurance through your job, and inmost cases you give up because there it seems very hopeless. After a five, six, seven, eight years it just doesn't seem worth it. Soyou get off that roller coaster and you stop fighting it to try to havea more peaceful existence without being involved in some kind of healthcare scenario. Thosewith bipolar also know that they know what the scenario is. We know thatyou go to the doctor to give you the MEDS, sometimes to give youthe ones that you had before. Sometimes they give you new ones, eitherbecause you might need to change up in the way they work or the insurancedoesn't cover them. But at some point you're changing beds again. You tryto get the best therapy you can find. Sometimes they don't have any therapy atall. It works or it doesn't work. Eventually it stops working.You fail, you become depressed, you...

...lose the job, you lose thehousing, you lose everything and your back to the bottom again. And ifyou think this sounds frustrating. And if you are frustrated as a family memberwatching you know, loved one go through this, imagine being that person.Imagine being that person. I'm stuck in here, in this brain with thething that is also causing me to, you know, suffer through this life. So when people think, oh, it's really hard living with my lovedone who has bipolar disorder, I'm like, bitch, it's hard living with bipolardisorder. So come on now. So, given that situation, itmight be a lot more understandable now to realize why so many people with,especially bipolar disorder, simply give up and go find out how to get disabilityinsurance so they don't have to do anything. They just mean they have to suffer, sure, but they don't have to suffer and fight the system justto try to work a job just to pay for insurance. Once you kindof tap out, you go get the cheap, cheap insurance because you claimI can't work, I'm disabled. A Hook me up and the government generallywill help you. But here's the RUB. There they're not really helping you much. They're helping you suffer, they're helping you barely get by. Theydon't really pay enough for rent. You're going to rent. You know youdon't make enough in disability to get your own place. You're prevented from earningmoney. You can't have a job you so you kind of stuck now asa slave for the government until you die. So I don't hate sounds so fatalisticabout one direction or the other, but man, there's got to bea better choice than either. Nope, you have to prove you're disabled ahundred percent of the time to get disability. And Oh, we'll try to workas hard as you can and suffer because you don't have insurance, becauseyou can't afford it, because you haven't made enough, because your cyclical jobnature. But what is it? What is in between there? I don'tknow. So anyway, that's that's part of why a lot of people withmental illnesses don't have insurance. Starting back to the beginning, there was nobodythere. Once we finally got diagnosed, everybody was already gone. So wedon't have that kind of support system. For one, we have an erraticjob history. Regardless of our intelligence or skills, at some point our brainis going to crap out and leave us nearly homeless and then the cycle continues. That's the deal. That's why we don't have insurance sometimes. But Ialways wonder how does a person with like this kind of potentially life threatening disabilitydecide that they're going to wear that label? Like, okay, fuck it,I am disabled, I want the parking lot plaque, I want touse the special handicap bathroom, whatever. I want special seats at the movietheater, I want the whole deal. I'm tapping out. How do youdo that? Like, I'm curious because I consider it often. Sometimes youget right to the brink and I'm like, man, life shouldn't be this hard. I'm pretty fucking tough. I've been through a lot of Shit andwhen I think, man, something is wrong. Live shouldn't feel this hard. And I look at the folks who have, quote unquote, tapped outand take disability and I'm thinking, man, maybe that, maybe that's the thingto do. But how do you decide that? How, if youget disability now, what was your thought process in getting from there to herenow? Did you ever feel like you're just quitting on life? That Ihave issues with that. I don't like to feel like I'm quitting laugh.I don't just want to say yeah, fuck it, I'll take five hundreddollars a month from the government in the shitty apartment forever that know that.There's nothing appealing about that to me at all. Conversely, it's not veryappealing, or it doesn't seem even very fair, that I go out intothe world and produce and create cool things, invent and get abandoned by those whoare around me. What I don't...

...serve their needs. So I'm thinkingthere's got to be something in between. But as a person, if you, like I said, if you get disability, let me know or sharesomewhere on social media. How do you get from being, quote unquote,just a sick person to being a disabled person, and what was that processlike? Is it worth it? Now that you're disabled, are you preventedfrom doing some things that you think you might actually be able to do?I mean, like, what are the limitations of accepting disability? And thenwhat are the benefits? Clearly, not having to get up and do somehorrible, soul crushing work each day, that's got to be a benefit.MMM, being prevented from doing some soul enriching work just because, all ofa sudden of no, you can't actually go do that. You can't dothat for money because, remember, we're paying you disability. That doesn't seemright. Here's an idea. Let's check this out. Try this logic.How about giving people that have bipolar disability when they're disabled and not when they'reable, and stop making the bureaucracy so slow and heavy so that we're alwaysplaying catch up and being reactive. Just let it be known that's our condition. We need that part of the system to be more flexible. Sometimes I'mcapable, sometimes I'm contributing to society, other times I'm not and I needhelp. Doesn't seem hard to figure out, but the system does not allow forthat at all. It's almost like the system, quote unquote, makesyou choose where you're going to be and once you choose that place, that'sit. You don't get to move around, you don't get there's no variance.You have to be right in that lane. That's fucking stay in yourlane. If you're going to be disabled, stay disabled. You've going to work. You don't get no help at all. So how do we fixthat? Here's one thing I came up with. I think people like usshould start researching political candidates and ask them the tough questions about healthcare funding forthe mentally ill, and I think we should share that knowledge using the Hashtagmh voters or mh voter for mental health voters, so that we can ensureas a society that our needs are being addressed in a way that is actuallyproactive and truly helpful. Because maybe you've been living under a rock, butin America the political situation is highly fucked up right now. They just borroweda whole bunch of money against our taxes to give corporations and rich people taxbreaks in order to pay for all of that. This next year they're goingto come for what they call entitlements, which is really payments to child healthcare, mental health care, healthcare in general. All that stuff is going to becut, or they're going to try to cut it. So as mentalhealth patients and as people with disorders in society in general that have the abilityto stand up for ourselves, I think it's important that those of us whoare paying attention on twitter, on facebook or youtuber wherever, to kind ofjoin together a little more tightly, engage each other, be more inclusive,listen to people, talk to people, follow, share, you know it. Just really engaged. Don't just like, share some shit, add extra comments. You know, endorse things that you really feel are important, andone of your biggest signs of endorsement is simply sharing it. Liking something iskind of acknowledging the statement, but sharing it really says I endorse this.So I think would you're on facebook or twitter in particular, share things,just hit the share button or the retweet button. Don't don't simply hit thelittle star or the heart. That's not enough anymore. And that also remindsme if you are a social media administrator...

...for one of the major mental healthorganizations or bipolar foundations or whatever, you've got to get on the job,man. You got to start following people and retweeting more things. I couldsee tons of people that are not engage with you because you're not engaged withthem. So if you know anybody that works for one of those organizations,tell them to get on it. Tell him there are some there's tons ofpeople. They need to be focused with, working with that are doing the heavylifting and they don't get much help from the major organizations that accept donationsin the form of cash. So if you're working for a big organization,you're getting paid or the organization is taking donations. You Dan will better beout there following the people doing the half feel the heavylifting on social media,putting together films and videos and podcasts and blogs and those sort of things.So we all need to band together to help each other and be radically inclusiveof all of the voices, not just the ones who speak the way youwant them to speak. We have to include everybody, all right. SoI mean it seems pretty straightforward and kind of self evident, but I thinksometimes we need to stop and take a step back, take a big breathand realize that we do have a big opportunity to make things better for ourselves, so long as we work together. All right, let's do that now. The last thing I just wanted to touch on was that magic number five, when we talked about you becoming the average of the five people you're aroundthe most, and what Dharma punk's NYC podcast was talking about having five greatfriends. So let's talk about that. How do you personally, how doyou go out and find new people to add to your social circle? SocialCircle. How do you do that? I'm curious to know, because I'mcertainly not going to build a social circle out of people I work with inmy industry because my mental illness is too highly stigmatized, so that's not goingto work. I don't like coffee, so I'm not hanging out at starbucks. I'm atheist, so I'm not at Church looking at the singles club atChurch. I don't drink really. I'm a drink a little bit, butI don't drink like I'm not going to go to a bar and drink orgo clubb in dating napps. What. Yeah, whatever. The DBSA groups, I go to the depression bipolar support alliance groups. Those are great,but you know, I'm not going to build my my network out of othercrazies, because if you become the average of the five people you're around themost, and I surround myself with five other fucking bipolar people, then I'vegot problems. Nothing will ever balance out right. I ride my bike,I'll go to walks through the park and everything, but there's just it's hardto meet actual humans in real life, the kind that you could shake theirhand, the kind that you could actually give a hug to. Where doyou meet these people, and remember, I'm talking about where do you meetthem once you've already burned out your traditional, kind of built in social circles whenyou have a mental disorder? Like I said, if you're listening tothis without a mental disorder, this is what happened to us. I'm ableto convey this because I feel good now and this is I'm on point today. But a lot of us we've burned out our complete social and family circles. Our family doesn't want anything to do with us and our friends don't either. Whether or not they knew about our diagnosis when they bailed on us isnot really relevant to us at this point. The point is they're just not hereand they're not coming back. So we're always trying to find like evenone good friends. So how do you find five? How do you builda support network of five people? It's kind of like how would you buildyour ultimate x man team? And,...

...if you could, what types ofpeople would you put in those different roles in your five supportive group people likeyou? Let's call them your Fox force five. So, in building yourFox force five, what kind of superpowers do you want do you want aleader? Do you want someone with a lot of empathy? Do you wantsomebody that's kind, or a doctor or a car mechanic or whatever like?What kind of people do you want in your social circle that you feel withsupport your life and make things somewhat easier for you? I hadn't honestly giventhat any thought until I heard this Dharma punk's podcast. So I've been givingit more thought lately, and one of the main reasons is because when Ihave mania, people love to be around me and they harness my energy andkind of sap on like what you call them, like, HMM, Idon't know, something that leaches onto something else, like a Leech, Iguess, a parasite or something, something that feeds off others. So whenI have lots of energy, if I'm at work, people feed off that. They kind of latch onto me until it's all gone, and one ofmy energy is all gone, they leave the parties over. Folks. NowJohn Stuck in depression alone, nobody to help. So I'm thinking like thepeople that I'm looking for my support circle would be understanding of somebody with depressionin particular, maybe bipolar generally, because I don't accept. I don't expectpeople to embrace my mania fully, but I'm not dangerous and I usually doreally productive things when I'm mannic. However, when I'm depressed, I need somebodyto be there that I know they're not going to bail on me,start talking some shit, start pretending they're ignorant about mental health or gas lightme or any of those things. The problem is always a problem. Rightnow, not necessarily, but the problem with this particular problem I've been addressingfor fifteen years or so, is that there's not a great way when you'rebuilding a support network, when you're building your Fox force five, there's nota great way to bring the subject up like, Hey, I'm building myFox force five, I have by polar disorder and I need somebody that's veryempathetic on Sundays. Where do you do that? There's not an APP forthat. Is that APP for a lot of Shit, but not that.And even once you do make a new friend, after three or four months, there comes the big test, or it might it might not even bethat long, it might just be a day or two, but at somepoint will come the switch tests, when you change from the person they metto your other side. With me, that typically means I go from beingthe manic person they love and the life of the party that they met thatone day to now the depressive person that ghosts them for a week or twobecause I can't crawl out of bad or answer my phone. How do youdeal with that as a person who's like looking for new friends? Big QuestionsRight, I don't know. I don't have the answers. Maybe you do. I know there's a lot of people that download this podcast and I knowthere's a lot of people from countries all around the world. So your internationalperspective on maybe how to meet New People or, I don't know, aboutthings to do, but maybe just a different approach to the things I alreadydo? Something like that, like how to break the ice. Yeah,anyway, I really could use your help on that one. I will updateyou more as things progress here. About the Psychic Dot Media Office. Ifyou didn't know, a couple of other podcasters and filmmaker and stuff got togetheron facebook to start a facebook group to help promote other people who create contentgeared toward the mental health audience, and that is at psych dot media.You could join us there, but I think I might get out of theiroffice and start recording in a new place which has a little bit of alittle more visual appeal. If we do, I'll put that up on Youtube andyou can watch me podcasts from my viewpoint. Cool. Aside from that, I think I'm doing all right.

Thanks for letting me get that offmy chest and share about why people don't have insurance, share a little requestfor help about how to build a support network of my Fox force five people. And lastly, I'm going to be doing a guest spot on a coolpodcast called come to the table. It's a faith based podcast where they bringvoices from all different backgrounds together to talk about their relationships with or without God, what their walk of life is like and how the whole thing kind ofintermixes together. Sounds fine to listen to a few episodes, so I encourageyou to go listen to both the Dharma punks NYC podcast and also come tothe table, which is again is a faith based product podcast. Like Isaid, I'm not faith based now anymore, but I appreciate that and I reallylook forward to to having that kind of open, warm discussion where wecan include all of the voices and maybe spread some love on both sides andkeep things moving forward. Keep twenty eighteen on the positive tip. I reallyappreciate you listening. Go ahead and hit that subscribe button. If you wanta free t shirt, go to John emotionscomas join get on my email list. I don't know what I'm going to do with it yet. I'm notgoing to spam you. Obviously. I'm just one dude. I don't liketo be beholding to facebook or twitter or Google plus or anyone platform, sohaving an email list of my own is very helpful for me. I planon doing a newsletter, maybe quarterly, something like that. You won't getany more email from me than that, but if you do go up andsign up right now, you can not only get some behind the scenes information, you can get links to hidden podcast videos and you can also get afree t shirt. If you are the one who shares and likes the mostthroughout the month. You can check that ouut on my leaderboard at John emotionscom. Slash leaderboard. So go check it out. All right, we cool, cool. You be good to yourself, because I can't always be there foryou. Look forward to hearing from you and it. Look forward totalking in a week or so. Take care of bipolar people. Over andnow. If you've liked what you heard, subscribe on Apple podcast via Itunes andjoin us at by polar stylecom. Thanks for listening.

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