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Episode · 4 years ago

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

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

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, the podcast for bipolar people and those who love them. Join US online at bipolar stylecom and now here's your host, Johnny Motions Day. That's right, I'm johnny 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, because that's a stupid name for a podcast. So I did think, though, what was a good one? Oh, like the bipolar show. It used to be called bipolar show. Kind of generic right, but what I thought was 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 ongoing talk, this kind of a perpetual argument, about how you label somebody with bipolar style. Do you say that they have bipolar disorder? Do you say they are bipolar? And it really just gets down to knowing your grammar. Bipolar itself is an adjective, like black or gay. You would not say I have black or I have gay. You say I am black or I am 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 not be the Noun. I'm not going to say I am disorder. You would say you have a disorder. So anyway, to avoid all of that, I just have bipolar style. You have to prove that it's a disorder to me anyways before I start labeling myself with that kind of stigma. So until you can prove that it's a disorder, that there is some perfect level of chemical levels that were aiming for, cool, until you can prove that our chemicals are 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 I cord the PODCASTS, and that's getting I think it's a little too much pressure because I find myself focusing on like how to how to present to a camera instead of kind of narrating or conveying a story and the optics of the story audibly. 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 a new place. So let me tell you about that real quick. I may have 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 do is record the podcasts normally like I am now, and instead of facing the camera, I think I may have the camera behind my back. That way 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 people live chat questions and that sort of thing, so I won't have to worry about seeing my face on camera. You guys will have something to look at if you're so inclinent, if you want to look at something. They'll be a facebook live stream from behind me, facing out, kind of like a first person view of doing a podcasts. So we'll do that, but let me make sure the new studio is like a viable option and we could set that up in the next few weeks. Anyway, I'm today. I'm just recording the podcast without video interruption. So I think it's a little more a little less pressure, a little easier, a little more easy. So hopefully we'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 about having bipolar disorder throughout the last week or two, especially the last week or two. 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 a lot 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 or videos might be interested in some of that, but I don't know. Little too much housekeeping and a little too light on the actual topics related to bipolar people. So I will try to focus on fixing that. I'll say so less. I noticed they did that quite a bit or did not edit those out 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 and now 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 talk about. First one, why don't you have insurance? Be Good. And another one of my favorites is am I disabled or am I not? What what qualifies one as being disabled? Another topic I've talked about in the past is the idea that you become the average of the five people that you are around the most. I also heard another interesting thing from a podcast called Dharma punks 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 also mentioned the number five, five people, and they mentioned you don't need a lot of great friends, but you do need five great friends, which kind of segued into the average of the five people you're around the most. So I was thinking those five people are pretty critical and how do you choose those people? So that might be a good topic to talk about, which then segued into the next topic I wrote down was how do you surround yourself with supportive people? It's a really tricky question because if you've lost all of your support 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 blown out our social circles and burnt every bridge, so we have no friends or family left that are willing to help. So the question is, now that you are now that you know what is causing the problem, how do you build a supports circle around you with five great people that can actually help you live and thrive? I had several more listed here, but I think that's enough topics to kind of get us through this week's podcast. What do you say? So let me go back up to the top and the first question I wrote to myself that a lot of people wonder about is why don't you have insurance? Well, let's give you a little background. Like many people with mental illnesses and disorders, over the years I found myself health in the lower middle class in particular, while I'm fairly intelligent and you know, can hold myself in a conversation most of the time, unless I'm overly anxious or depressed 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 do anything great. Yeah, that actually works against me because, while I am creative 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 of that is a byproduct of years of having a borderline personality disorder where I'm always trying to please other people. I'm not really sure how I'm as supposed to be, so I'm trying to be how...

...they want me to be. So I've developed skills to please people around me, but that doesn't mean I'm that way all of the time. So, therefore, the life of a person with the sickness I have tends to be really productive for several months. You can make pretty good money, depending on what your vocation is, and then the depression comes and cripples you, takes you out of business, disables you completely. You get broke, you get flushed down the system again, you find yourself at the bottom, sometimes homeless, and you have to work your way back up. So what this does is it creates kind of a roller coaster scenario where you never have continuous healthcare. You're bumped from private healthcare, like if 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, Medicaid and medical and things like that. In California we call it medical in America that's called Medicaid. But generally speaking, most countries that are in the first world 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 capitalist corporate safety nets. So they don't share information, the continuity of care is non existent and you end up within very uneven life. One of the by products of an uneven life is low income. So you'll find lots of people with mental illnesses. If they are not straight up on disability and don't work 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 shot or because people have heard about them in the industry and know that they're quote Unquote 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're now making twenty five Thousan dollars. A year. So here and starts the problem when you start making that particular range of money, down to the TWENTYZERO dollar range of year in America, you make too much to qualify for the free public healthcare, but what you don't make nearly enough to pay your share of medical insurance through your job. You certainly don't make enough to pay for completely over the counter. So you end up in limbo. You end up in a very specific set of circumstances where you simply can't afford healthcare. And I hear all the time. I've had a bipolar diagnosis for over fifteen years now and I get tired of people telling me, Oh, but you have to prioritize, you have to prioritize. Right, I have to prioritize food and shelter first. Those come first, and then I try to prioritize transportation to get to the job that may one day pay for the other things I need. 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 that trips another whole cycle of chaos where you're on meds, you're abruptly taken off meds, because you don't have anymore, your back on meds. You're chasing around red tape trying to get free help or you're trying to scrape enough money together to pay for the quote unquote good insurance through your job, and in most cases you give up because there it seems very hopeless. After a five, six, seven, eight years it just doesn't seem worth it. So you get off that roller coaster and you stop fighting it to try to have a more peaceful existence without being involved in some kind of healthcare scenario. Those with bipolar also know that they know what the scenario is. We know that you go to the doctor to give you the MEDS, sometimes to give you the ones that you had before. Sometimes they give you new ones, either because you might need to change up in the way they work or the insurance doesn't cover them. But at some point you're changing beds again. You try to get the best therapy you can find. Sometimes they don't have any therapy at all. It works or it doesn't work. Eventually it stops working. You fail, you become depressed, you...

...lose the job, you lose the housing, you lose everything and your back to the bottom again. And if you think this sounds frustrating. And if you are frustrated as a family member watching you know, loved one go through this, imagine being that person. Imagine being that person. I'm stuck in here, in this brain with the thing that is also causing me to, you know, suffer through this life. So when people think, oh, it's really hard living with my loved one who has bipolar disorder, I'm like, bitch, it's hard living with bipolar disorder. So come on now. So, given that situation, it might 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 disability insurance 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 just to try to work a job just to pay for insurance. Once you kind of tap out, you go get the cheap, cheap insurance because you claim I can't work, I'm disabled. A Hook me up and the government generally will 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. They don't really pay enough for rent. You're going to rent. You know you don't make enough in disability to get your own place. You're prevented from earning money. You can't have a job you so you kind of stuck now as a slave for the government until you die. So I don't hate sounds so fatalistic about one direction or the other, but man, there's got to be a better choice than either. Nope, you have to prove you're disabled a hundred percent of the time to get disability. And Oh, we'll try to work as hard as you can and suffer because you don't have insurance, because you can't afford it, because you haven't made enough, because your cyclical job nature. But what is it? What is in between there? I don't know. So anyway, that's that's part of why a lot of people with mental illnesses don't have insurance. Starting back to the beginning, there was nobody there. Once we finally got diagnosed, everybody was already gone. So we don't have that kind of support system. For one, we have an erratic job history. Regardless of our intelligence or skills, at some point our brain is 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 I always wonder how does a person with like this kind of potentially life threatening disability decide that they're going to wear that label? Like, okay, fuck it, I am disabled, I want the parking lot plaque, I want to use the special handicap bathroom, whatever. I want special seats at the movie theater, I want the whole deal. I'm tapping out. How do you do that? Like, I'm curious because I consider it often. Sometimes you get 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 and when I think, man, something is wrong. Live shouldn't feel this hard. And I look at the folks who have, quote unquote, tapped out and take disability and I'm thinking, man, maybe that, maybe that's the thing to do. But how do you decide that? How, if you get disability now, what was your thought process in getting from there to here now? Did you ever feel like you're just quitting on life? That I have 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 hundred dollars 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 very appealing, or it doesn't seem even very fair, that I go out into the world and produce and create cool things, invent and get abandoned by those who are around me. What I don't...

...serve their needs. So I'm thinking there's got to be something in between. But as a person, if you, like I said, if you get disability, let me know or share somewhere on social media. How do you get from being, quote unquote, just a sick person to being a disabled person, and what was that process like? Is it worth it? Now that you're disabled, are you prevented from doing some things that you think you might actually be able to do? I mean, like, what are the limitations of accepting disability? And then what are the benefits? Clearly, not having to get up and do some horrible, soul crushing work each day, that's got to be a benefit. MMM, being prevented from doing some soul enriching work just because, all of a sudden of no, you can't actually go do that. You can't do that for money because, remember, we're paying you disability. That doesn't seem right. 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're able, and stop making the bureaucracy so slow and heavy so that we're always playing 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'm capable, sometimes I'm contributing to society, other times I'm not and I need help. Doesn't seem hard to figure out, but the system does not allow for that at all. It's almost like the system, quote unquote, makes you choose where you're going to be and once you choose that place, that's it. 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 your lane. 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 fix that? Here's one thing I came up with. I think people like us should start researching political candidates and ask them the tough questions about healthcare funding for the mentally ill, and I think we should share that knowledge using the Hashtag mh voters or mh voter for mental health voters, so that we can ensure as a society that our needs are being addressed in a way that is actually proactive and truly helpful. Because maybe you've been living under a rock, but in America the political situation is highly fucked up right now. They just borrowed a whole bunch of money against our taxes to give corporations and rich people tax breaks in order to pay for all of that. This next year they're going to 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 be cut, or they're going to try to cut it. So as mental health patients and as people with disorders in society in general that have the ability to stand up for ourselves, I think it's important that those of us who are paying attention on twitter, on facebook or youtuber wherever, to kind of join 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, and one of your biggest signs of endorsement is simply sharing it. Liking something is kind 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 the little star or the heart. That's not enough anymore. And that also reminds me if you are a social media administrator...

...for one of the major mental health organizations 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 could see tons of people that are not engage with you because you're not engaged with them. 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 of people. They need to be focused with, working with that are doing the heavy lifting and they don't get much help from the major organizations that accept donations in 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 be out 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 inclusive of all of the voices, not just the ones who speak the way you want them to speak. We have to include everybody, all right. So I mean it seems pretty straightforward and kind of self evident, but I think sometimes we need to stop and take a step back, take a big breath and 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 around the most, and what Dharma punk's NYC podcast was talking about having five great friends. So let's talk about that. How do you personally, how do you go out and find new people to add to your social circle? Social Circle. How do you do that? I'm curious to know, because I'm certainly not going to build a social circle out of people I work with in my industry because my mental illness is too highly stigmatized, so that's not going to 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 at Church. I don't drink really. I'm a drink a little bit, but I don't drink like I'm not going to go to a bar and drink or go 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 other crazies, because if you become the average of the five people you're around the most, and I surround myself with five other fucking bipolar people, then I've got 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 hard to meet actual humans in real life, the kind that you could shake their hand, the kind that you could actually give a hug to. Where do you meet these people, and remember, I'm talking about where do you meet them once you've already burned out your traditional, kind of built in social circles when you have a mental disorder? Like I said, if you're listening to this without a mental disorder, this is what happened to us. I'm able to 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 is not really relevant to us at this point. The point is they're just not here and they're not coming back. So we're always trying to find like even one good friends. So how do you find five? How do you build a support network of five people? It's kind of like how would you build your ultimate x man team? And,...

...if you could, what types of people would you put in those different roles in your five supportive group people like you? Let's call them your Fox force five. So, in building your Fox force five, what kind of superpowers do you want do you want a leader? Do you want someone with a lot of empathy? Do you want somebody 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 with support your life and make things somewhat easier for you? I hadn't honestly given that any thought until I heard this Dharma punk's podcast. So I've been giving it more thought lately, and one of the main reasons is because when I have mania, people love to be around me and they harness my energy and kind of sap on like what you call them, like, HMM, I don't know, something that leaches onto something else, like a Leech, I guess, a parasite or something, something that feeds off others. So when I 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 of my energy is all gone, they leave the parties over. Folks. Now John Stuck in depression alone, nobody to help. So I'm thinking like the people that I'm looking for my support circle would be understanding of somebody with depression in particular, maybe bipolar generally, because I don't accept. I don't expect people to embrace my mania fully, but I'm not dangerous and I usually do really productive things when I'm mannic. However, when I'm depressed, I need somebody to 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 light me or any of those things. The problem is always a problem. Right now, not necessarily, but the problem with this particular problem I've been addressing for fifteen years or so, is that there's not a great way when you're building a support network, when you're building your Fox force five, there's not a great way to bring the subject up like, Hey, I'm building my Fox force five, I have by polar disorder and I need somebody that's very empathetic on Sundays. Where do you do that? There's not an APP for that. 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 be that long, it might just be a day or two, but at some point will come the switch tests, when you change from the person they met to your other side. With me, that typically means I go from being the manic person they love and the life of the party that they met that one day to now the depressive person that ghosts them for a week or two because I can't crawl out of bad or answer my phone. How do you deal with that as a person who's like looking for new friends? Big Questions Right, 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 know there's a lot of people from countries all around the world. So your international perspective on maybe how to meet New People or, I don't know, about things to do, but maybe just a different approach to the things I already do? Something like that, like how to break the ice. Yeah, anyway, I really could use your help on that one. I will update you more as things progress here. About the Psychic Dot Media Office. If you didn't know, a couple of other podcasters and filmmaker and stuff got together on facebook to start a facebook group to help promote other people who create content geared 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 their office and start recording in a new place which has a little bit of a little more visual appeal. If we do, I'll put that up on Youtube and you can watch me podcasts from my viewpoint. Cool. Aside from that, I think I'm doing all right.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest and share about why people don't have insurance, share a little request for 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 cool podcast called come to the table. It's a faith based podcast where they bring voices 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 of intermixes together. Sounds fine to listen to a few episodes, so I encourage you to go listen to both the Dharma punks NYC podcast and also come to the table, which is again is a faith based product podcast. Like I said, I'm not faith based now anymore, but I appreciate that and I really look forward to to having that kind of open, warm discussion where we can include all of the voices and maybe spread some love on both sides and keep things moving forward. Keep twenty eighteen on the positive tip. I really appreciate you listening. Go ahead and hit that subscribe button. If you want a 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 not going to spam you. Obviously. I'm just one dude. I don't like to be beholding to facebook or twitter or Google plus or anyone platform, so having an email list of my own is very helpful for me. I plan on doing a newsletter, maybe quarterly, something like that. You won't get any more email from me than that, but if you do go up and sign 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 a free t shirt. If you are the one who shares and likes the most throughout 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 for you. Look forward to hearing from you and it. Look forward to talking in a week or so. Take care of bipolar people. Over and now. If you've liked what you heard, subscribe on Apple podcast via Itunes and join us at by polar stylecom. Thanks for listening.

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