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Disability Fraud: Why the Hysteria?


Last week I commented on an article in the New York Times that reported on the Trump administration’s proposal to monitor the social media accounts of people who collect Social Security Disability Income. https://blogs.psychcentral.com/hidden-disabilities/2019/04/social-media-surveillance-for-disability-fraud/

This week’s post is inspired by commenter Trap Rivers, whose eloquent comment to that post included the words, “we are the villains who are in the crosshairs of the angry mob.”  Trap’s comment got me thinking about the many ways society demonizes its most vulnerable people, from the urban-legendary “Welfare Queen” to people with disabilities—especially ones you can’t see.



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Social Media Surveillance for Disability Fraud


The New York Times ran an article on March 10 that’s been getting a lot of attention on Facebook. I just saw it yesterday or I’d have written this sooner. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/10/us/politics/social-security-disability-trump-facebook.html

The article reported that some members of Congress support a plan in which the Facebook accounts of Social Security Disability Income recipients are monitored for photos showing them engaged in activities that they allegedly should not be able to do if they are indeed disabled. For me, that would mean my bike trip photos would be used against me. That is, if I qualified for SSDI, and that’s another matter altogether https://blogs.psychcentral.com/hidden-disabilities/2018/02/going-on-disability-what-that-does-and-doesnt-mean/.



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Déjà Vu: The Setback-Comeback Cycle


There are plenty of fresh new topics to write about this week, but my head is in the insight place. It wants to talk about what’s going on with me, and maybe see if this sort of thing goes on with you too. Last year I wrote this column about my knee injury and being sent back to square one:  https://blogs.psychcentral.com/hidden-disabilities/2018/03/just-like-that-recurring-dream-where-you-are-back-in-high-school/

A year later, I’m still repeating old patterns, but I’m much further along, so I’m more willing to entertain the insights that come with the journey.



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Freedom From the Clock


“The white man’s clock” is a phrase that is probably not so popular anymore, but I read it many times in my exploration of Native American literature from the 1970s through the present. It resonates with me, even though I am white, because when you read the literature of many cultures, you begin to critically evaluate your own from the point of view of an outsider. Many people from Native cultures were perplexed by the extent to which European-American culture relied on precise scheduling.

I remembered the phrase “tyranny of the white man’s clock” and couldn’t remember from where, so I Googled it and discovered this wonderful essay about timekeeping in modern culture by George Woodock, first published in 1944, titled The Tyranny of the Clock http://www.spunk.org/texts/writers/woodcock/sp001734.html. It has only grown more relevant with age.



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Spring Brings Relief from Chronic Pain


This is a follow-up to my autumn rant—it’s our turn, spring and summer lovers!  https://blogs.psychcentral.com/hidden-disabilities/2018/09/to-everything-there-is-a-season/

For many of us, the fall doesn’t mean bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, it means the Down Season is coming, when our pain is worse, attacks of our conditions more frequent, and our participation in the world greatly curtailed. Spring means just the opposite. With the warmth and light come energy, better strength and health, and our return to participating in the world.



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Acupuncture: A Game Changer for Me


As a chronic pain patient, my pain management specialist suggested I try acupuncture. I resisted for years, mostly because my insurance doesn’t cover any part of it. That objection broke down when I realized my insurance doesn’t cover much of anything anymore. With a $2,000 deductible, and all kinds of convenient loopholes to avoid applying the full amount of any appointment toward it, all I really have insurance for is the possibility of a catastrophic event involving the ICU.

I also heard mixed reviews from people who have tried acupuncture. For some, they felt it did nothing. For others, it helped, but was not a primary tool in their pain management regimen. A few said it made a dramatic difference.

I’ve been going to acupuncture for 10 months now, and I want to give you more information to help you decide if it’s for you.



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What Stories Will You Tell?


This is a follow-up to a post I did a year ago, . If you didn’t catch it then, it might warm you up for today. It’s about the extent to which our disabilities shape our sense of self.

I’m a big fan of Shawn Colvin’s music. One of her songs, The Story, has the lines,

I was born to be telling this story
I could only be telling this story
I will always be telling this story


When I...


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Collagen: Don’t Ignore It


Today’s post is a PSA (public service announcement) about collagen. Collagen is the main structural protein found in skin and other tissues (cartilage, for one). It’s what gives your skin its elasticity. We tend to lose collagen as we age, which is why we get wrinkles. Collagen isn’t just a cosmetic nutrient, though—it’s vital for healing injured joints and connective tissues. There are many health issues suffered by this blog’s audience that are made worse by a lack of collagen—especially arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.



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An Imbalance of Give and Take


Well, dear readers, this has been one of the physically roughest weeks of my life. I’m moved into my tiny house, more or less—it’s a process. Even more than a new regular house, the space has to be planned and arranged. For the first 2 days, I pretty much stayed in a too-big chair surrounded by debris, my cats wide-eyed with aghastitude.

I tried to take as much of this move on myself as I could, but the fact is, I can’t do this much on my own, even dragged out to a 3-month process as it was. I had to (shudder) accept help.



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Uber and Lyft: Know Before You Go


Online ride services like Uber and Lyft are a relatively new phenomenon, and I realized just how awkward their informal entry into our culture has been while I was on the phone with my mom last week.

My mom told me about her neighbor who called her son for a ride to Urgent Care. The son was busy and asked, “Can you get an Uber?” To her credit, the woman did—a lot of people in retirement villages don’t have the app, much less know how to use it.

The driver arrived and didn’t get out at first. The passenger used a walker and she stood and waited for him to help her. He got out and staggered to the trunk, where he unloaded his own walker. Well, this wouldn’t do. The passenger was incensed that the driver couldn’t help her, and the driver was upset too. When I talked to my mom, she was waiting for a call from her neighbor to come pick her up from the doctor, so she didn’t have to go home with “that terrible driver.”