Back and forth

How quickly my confidence fades.

I had a super bad night of sleep last night and got just under four hours of sleep. That was how I functioned the whole time I was at my full-time job. Just one night of it was enough to make me doubt my abilities to work again. Sleep is incredibly linked to my symptoms and I just can’t get by if I try to cheat myself of sleep (or have insomnia, which I did last night.)

The reason I got so little sleep was that I had my follow-up interview with the neuropsychologist early in the morning. And a lot of things about my talk with him shook my confidence, both in him and in myself.

For one, he kept hammering home his belief that I have something called a “non-verbal learning disability” (or NLD, as he abbreviated it.) But in my research, I found out that this is a controversial diagnosis in itself, as it has never been in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders.

His diagnosis, therefore, is not necessarily accepted by the scientific community and I’m not sure it will matter to the Social Security Administration, either. It also doesn’t totally fit because poor handwriting is supposedly a sign and my handwriting was absolutely beautiful until my last relapse. There are several other signs of NLD that don’t describe me.

Social stuff has never been easy for me, but I’m not sure I’m as bad at reading people’s cues as he said. Maybe I am. When I was at the evangelical church, though, some people seemed to like me quite a bit.

He also asked my height and weight and pointed out that he used to be the psychologist who did pre-surgical patient evaluations for a bariatric surgeon. He said that I would also be a candidate for bariatric surgery. I was kind of insulted by that because that’s not why I was there. I felt almost fat-shamed. I do need to do better but I don’t know how, and I have so many other concerns on my plate right now that are more pressing. At least I’m exercising a couple hours a week.

I know that I don’t meet the criteria for bariatric surgery because my BMI is below 40 and I don’t have any weight-related health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. (That’s not to say I couldn’t find doctors who would perform the surgery, though, especially in this image-conscious area.)

However, it was problematic that he said that because it made me feel like my weight is more important than anything else. I’m finally on depression meds that are working, which is extremely unusual for me. The only thing is that they’ve already caused me to gain between 3-5 pounds. If my weight is the most important thing, then should I go off the meds that are actually helping?

To be honest, I’m less sure that this guy was a reliable source of information for me. I mean, sure, I bet I would feel better if I lost weight. But he was treating me to diagnose my brain, which has nothing to do with what I weigh.

But I’m also not sure of my capabilities anymore either. If just one night of very poor sleep makes me feel extreme brain fog again and need a nap, how can I hold down a full-time job? Maybe I do need to get disability after all. But the neuropsychologist said that my high verbal IQ might make it tough to win my case, even though I have an excellent lawyer.

What if all I can do is work part-time and I don’t get disability? I suspect that this is realistically the case, that part-time work is much more doable for me. If I’m only working part-time, can I really afford to pay back still more student loans? What if I can’t qualify for disability but I still can’t work full-time either?

I think I need to go back to the drawing board and see what my best options really are. For all of my bravado and determination, even though the MS disease-modifying meds seem to be helping, I may still be limited by my illness. And that really sucks.

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